Sunday, February 7, 2010
Happy Sunday everyone. I regret to inform you that, alas, I have lost my book. Quim Monzó's Gasoline has been missing since Friday and I've looked all over the place. I can only conclude that I left it somewhere at work, as I sometimes read during my lunch breaks. Luckily, Gasoline is not coming out until June (it's an ARC) so I have plenty of time to get it read and reviewed.
It was just starting to get good too. After pages and pages of the protagonist wandering aimlessly and doing nothing, the final forty pages were finally exhibiting something resembling a point. I don't demand a concrete plot, but I still insist that a novel have a reason for existing beyond the need to follow a burned-out artist as he drifts from place to place because he can't think of what to paint.
In the interim, I've started another Open Letter Press offering, Macedonio Fernández's The Museum of Eterna's Novel (The First Good Novel). Fernández (1874-1952), an Argentinian avant-gardist, was Jorge Borges's mentor. Now I've never been able to get into Borges - like Kafka, he's one of those writers whom I expected to love but ended up falling flat - but some fifty pages into The Museum of Eterna's Novel, I'm starting to get a feel for Fernández. He is, as translator Margaret Schwartz warned, difficult and very "baroque," and I don't even know what he's talking about some of the time, but he is strangely compelling.
Like Louis Aragon, Fernández purports to write a novel that will break the rules of the novel. Like Aragon, he often very dense. But will he do better than Aragon (who I did kind of like)? That remains to be seen.
How's your Sunday going? Lost any books too? Caitlin proposes that books which go missing are books not meant to be read at the moment. That does not bode well for Mr. Monzó.