It’s fitting somehow that the only Mexican writer to explode onto the American literary scene in recent years is 1) dead, and 2) not Mexican. From 2005-2007, the Chilean-born Bolaño--- who died in 2003--- logged four stories in The New Yorker, more than any other translated author except for Murakami. A few thoughts, then, on the search for the next Mexican crossover:
My pick: Guillermo Fadanelli
Almost completely untranslated in English and little read outside of Mexico, the forty-something Fadanelli is the greying bad boy of Mexican letters, a brutal and fluid stylist with the kind of once-in-a-generation voice that takes your breath away. Like Murakami, he is heavily influenced by American writers; like an edgier Bolaño, he sits at the center of a small, strange Mexico City literary underworld; yet he is unlike either of them or anyone else in his combination of high/low language, vision and sensibility. Hopefully he won’t have to wait until he’s dead to rock the USA.
Breakthrough book: La Otra Cara de Rock Hudson
You can taste the Mexican curb in this one. And it tastes so bad that it tastes good.
Best book so far: Lodo
This one was a finalist for the Rómulo Gallegos prize; Fadanelli took more than a year to write it, which was the longest he’d ever worked on a book. It shows.
A list of short fiction in The New Yorker, 2003-2007 (in The Millions blog)
Check out this interesting list and analysis of most every story published in The New Yorker over the last five years. Note: one of Bolaño’s stories in the December 26 2005 issue is notably missing.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Guest-Blogger Eric B. Martin's Pick for the Next Roberto Bolaño
Re: Mexico: A Traveler's Literary Companion, my collection of 24 Mexican writers. If I do say so myself, I highly recommend it to anyone interested in Mexico, Mexican literature, pues si, all things mexicanas. But 24 writers is a wee crowd--- no paperback collection (I mean, of the handy size that fits in a carry-on bag) could begin to cover the mulititudinous, firecracker-variety of contemporary Mexican literature. So, who's missing? Yep, Roberto Bolaño for one. Guillermo Fadanelli for another. Guest-blogging today is San Francisco-based novelist Eric B. Martin (pictured here), author most recently of The Virgin’s Guide to Mexico (and do check out that link, it's to a rave review by Jill Meyers on Bookslut, on one of the best litblogs on the 'Net).