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She Has Reddish Hair and Her Name is Sabina.

Hispanicists have known and written about Mexican novelist and critic Julieta Campos for years, but the lack of English translations of her work has prevented her from becoming more widely known. That should change now that two of her novels have been issued here: The Fear of Losing Eurydice, published a few months ago by Dalkey Archive, and She Has Reddish Hair and Her Name Is Sabina, both translated by Leland H. Chambers. Originally published in 1974 and the recipient of the coveted Villaurrutia Award, Sabina is, like Eurydice, a metafictional meditation on writing. As such, it is one of the purest examples of the genre: almost nothing "happens" in any narrative sense; instead the novel is a single, 135-page paragraph detailing the narrator's thoughts on trying to write a novel. But this narrator may only be a character in the mind of another writer, who in turn is a creation by Campos herself. Even the first narrator - the Sabina of the title - imagines narrators in the novel she contemplates, so that the concept of narrator here begins to resemble one of those Russian nesting dolls.

As Chambers points out in his introduction, Campos is closer aligned with France's nouveau romanciers than with Latin America's Booming magic realists. This can be seen in her interest in literary theory, her Duras-like languid lyricism, and her Butor-like use of intertextuality. But Sabina also exemplifies the ecriture feminine celebrated by such theorists as Helene Cixous and Luce Irigaray, and thus should figure prominently in any future studies of women's experimental fiction.
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Author:Moore, Steven
Publication:The Review of Contemporary Fiction
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 22, 1993
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