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A new generation of Latin American narrators emerges with strength

A new generation of Latin American narrators emerges with strength

The International Book Fair (FIL) of Guadalajara, in Mexico – which closed the doors of its 31st. edition at the beginning of the month- is the world's largest showcase of literature written in Spanish. For her they circulate from Cervantes prizes like Elena Poniatowska or Fernando del Paso to best-selling ones like Almudena Grandes going through veterans of solid trajectory like Ray Loriga or Vicente Molina Foix. Along with that Olympus, this year has highlighted a handful of titles written by narrators born in the eighties, from countries as different as Colombia, Chile, Bolivia and, of course, Mexico itself. They are no longer authors confined to their countries, but they are having international distribution, with publishers that launch their works to the world from Spain, although they are names still without media push. Without will of exhaustivity, some of the most interesting follow.

Is this a novel? The most original, fresh and impressive is Verónica Gerber (Mexico City, 1981), who publishes her first novel in Spain, Conjunto Voge (Pepitas de Calabaza) and in Mexico Mudanza (Almadía). It is defined as "a plastic artist who writes, sometimes I think pieces that are to be hung on a wall, others to mount a performance and others to publish in a book". Conjunto vactas dilates the genre using drawings and mathematical formulas, "an intersection between literature and art, in which the drawings are not illustrations but part of the story". The narrator, immersed in a vital chaos, yearns for order: "She wants to understand the world that surrounds her, and the way is to try to draw it. He also gets a job that consists of ordering someone's things ". Mudanza starts with a visit from the author to the ophthalmologist -where a vague eye is diagnosed- followed by sketches of five artists (Vito Acconci, Ulises Carrión, Sophie Calle, Marcel Broodthaers and Öyvind Fahlström) who left literature for conceptual art. [19659002] Gorillas and photocopiers. Brenda Lozano (Mexico City, 1981) debuted successfully in the novel Todo nada (2009), about to take to the movies, a story centered on the relationship of an old man with his granddaughter, just when both have just lost their respective couples Cuaderno ideal (2014) is his second novel, starring a contemporary Penélope, a woman who waits for her boyfriend Jonas to return from a trip to Spain. Now she presents How to Think the Stones (Alfaguara), volume of stories titled with the question of a girl "that has to do with empathy and fiction, which is putting oneself in the other's place, be it a gorilla, a photocopier, a widow ", to name some of the curious protagonists. There are also elephants that mourn the death of their human friend, people who return to live the same life as their ancestors, a remake of a novel by Joseph Roth "about one of the first pianists to arrive in New York, and to whom he recognizes his father in Europe because, in his little cobbler's place, he listens to a melody on the radio that he sang to him as a child. "

Like a hurricane. One of the novels this year's revelation is Hurricane Season (Random House) by Fernanda Melchor (Veracruz, 1982), "based very freely -explains the author- in a real case. They found in a canal the body of a woman without life. From the press notes, it was inferred that the culprit must have been a disliked lover, and that the person was engaged in witchcraft. Many people in my country believe in exorcisms, healings, bad vibrations … I live in a sexist land where unfortunately women can die and nothing happens. How can a witch die and there are no consequences? I was interested in delving into the reasons for crossing the line, we all have negative emotions, grudges and hatreds, very powerful desires to inflict damage, but in the end we do not, what about the people who do? I try not to reduce the crime to a victim and a victimizer but to the social conditions that surround it. I use an omniscient narrator with characters that are entering with their own voice, my guide was The Fall of the Patriarch of Gabriel García Márquez. " Among his influences, A.M.Homes, Agota Kristof, Faulkner, Cormac McCarthy, Sara Mesa and Latin American chroniclers such as Leila Guerriero or Selva Almada. Melchor has Here is not Miami, his own book of chronicles on violence, and his previous novel, False Hare, is a single day in the lives of four kids without a future, who resort to sex and drugs to spend the day

Names of the future. From left to right, the Bolivian Liliana Colanzi, the Mexican Verónica Gerber and Claudina Domingo, the Chilean Paulina Flores and Constanza Ternicier, the Colombian Margarita García Robayo and the Mexican Fernanda Melchor and Brenda Lozano, some of the most outstanding names of women writers of their generation.
(Pedro Madueño)

Between Alicia and Lolita. The Chilean Constanza Ternicier (Santiago, 1985), resident in Barcelona until very recently, has seen published this year in Caballo de Troya what was her first novel, Hammock, totally rewritten, "I've even killed characters". It portrays in her "the pettiness of a well-to-do hippie class that tries to raise ideals of self-consciousness and spiritual overcoming, when in reality it lives submerged in a bubble far from reality and ends up being completely selfish, careless". Her protagonist, Amparo, "is around 12 or 13 years old, but at times she seems much older, because of the reflections she makes, and at other times she is more of a child than she really is. It's halfway between Alicia and Lolita. " Ternicier has also published the very Barcelona novel The trajectory of airplanes in the air (Comba), adventures of a Chilean student in Barcelona. And he is preparing a third work in which "a Chilean girl must investigate a former anarchist from the Civil War, a spawn of stories I've read about political prisoners and people who snuck into Winnipeg, and the idea is to cross it with current problems. It is putting the city of Barcelona back as the protagonist. I am interested in the parallels: that insular and closed thing that Catalonia and Chile have, traumatized, resentful. "

Aztec structure. The poet Claudina Domingo (Mexico City, 1982) publishes her stories in The Enemies (Sixth Floor) with three basic themes: "The maternal root, death and gemellity." Thus, he explores "the different archetypes of mothers, the beloved and lost, the one who looks for a missing daughter, the enemy …". Death appears "more than as the end of the characters, as something that triggers a series of psychological responses in them." And the gemellity are "binary associations of characters, one that projects certain impulses that hide another, for example." The structure of the book, in case you do not realize it, is based on the Aztec legend of Mictlán, the Mexican underworld, according to the Ríos Codex, "I did it as a game, I realized that the different abodes of the legend served me to structure it. " The violence is shown, also, "in different grades or strata, in the urban middle class, in a group stranded in the jungle, there are kidnappings for sexual exploitation …" Their referents are the Mexican Elena Garro, the Colombian Tomás González , the Americans John Cheever and Carson McCullers or the Cuban Carpentier.

The decadent upper class. The Colombian Margarita García Robayo (Cartagena de Indias, 1980), resident in Argentina, has just published her eighth book, Tiempo muerto (Alfaguara), which was raised, she says, "from the issues I wanted to work on, and the argument, simple, it is a function of those issues, which are the passage of time through affective bonds and the spaces we inhabit, until people and places appear to us as unknown. " And "that black hole that is everyday life, that scares you exactly for being nothing". There is a relationship of broken partner "narrated from the two points of view", characters who act without knowing why they do things, moved "by that imperceptible inertia of the passage of time, which transforms you into another, you become what you do, not what you think you are. " Motherhood and children "seen as the end of individuality, what makes so many marriages fail is not to give up the idea of ​​individuality, not wanting to move on to the idea that you are part of a whole, instead of each one is a side ". "Motherhood is usually seen as something idyllic – he continues – but, in reality, it is very linked to certain types of neurosis". His characters belong to that upper class "very typical of Latin America, upstart people that I describe in all my books. Those classes that want to scale but not only from consumption, but that present a career from academic education, are those who want to access scholarships in the US, I have been part of that group, enormously contradictory, they are people with very little agreement between what they think and what they do. All their discussions are crossed by ideology, they are very intellectualized: the girl arrives with a drawing at home and is analyzed from the gender theory by looking at trans elements ". They live a progresismo of manual, sometimes understood as "to lie down with anybody" and they are related to the characters of the essential domestic service, always in a second plane, with mixed feelings. His vision is hard "but with some little windows". And "they are all broken characters, like contemporary society." The action happens mostly in vacations and in family contexts. "I would not call them even dysfunctional because there is nothing more classic than a family with all those problems."

The working class and Mars. Although they are from 2016, they have also echoed two other storybooks. On the one hand, the debut of the Chilean Paulina Flores (Santiago, 1988), What shame (Seix Barral), nine stories of "lower middle class, worker", to say of her, stories of survivors "that do not bend, that they do not bounce "despite the frustrations," people who want to scale the upper-middle class, and who live with that tension. " And, on the other, Our Dead World (Eternal Cadence), by Bolivian Liliana Colanzi (Santa Cruz, 1981), who, after permanent vacations (2010) and La ola (2014), explores Mars, in the title story to the volume, with the story of a woman in mission on the red planet, who knows that she will not be able to return to Earth, which adds her to the tragedy of understanding that the love of her life remained there on the blue planet.

With all of us.