Wednesday, January 11, 2006

mas criticas de CORTOS from USA

Raro como funcionan las cosas. CORTOS ha tenido una super buena acogida alla en USA. Todos coinciden en destacar TRUTH or CONSEQUENCES, uno de los cuentos que mas me gusta. El cuento en castellano se llama ROAD STORY. Y si, para aquellos que me han preguntado, es un re-remix del cuento LA VERDAD O LAS CONSECUENCIAS q salio en ese maldito volumen llamado McOndo. Me preguntan si regresa la pg web. No creo. Pero iré posteando cosas que pueden servir. Si es que esto sirve de algo. Pero me refiero más a lo que tiene que ver con el mundo académico, que agradece este material. También colocare, a pedido, digamos, el famoso "prólogo" de McOndo que este año cumple 10 putos años (y sigue jodiendo...)

ROAD STORY, a todo esto, es uno de los germenes de la adaptacion de El Empampado riquelme. Es decir, algo comparte con PERDIDO.

aqui van dos críticas de USA. Una de The Miami Herald y la otra de The San Francisco Chronicle.


Sn Fco Chronicle
Sunday Jan 1, 2006-01-02


By Alberto Fuguet, translated by Ezra E. Fitz


Because the young Chilean writer Alberto Fuguet, the author of the novels "The Movies of My Life" and "Bad Vibes," is terribly interested in what he is not, we must be, too. In what has been called his "seminal Salon essay," written in 1997, Fuguet denounced the lazy and wrongheaded comparisons often made between young Latino writers and their earlier masters -- the "magical realists" such as Gabriel García Márquez, Carlos Fuentes and others. Fuguet is not interested in the ghosts of elders, mist-filled villages or bejeweled virgins, though he is fascinated with the politics of place, Pinochet and love magic.
Fuguet, who lived in California through the age of 11, begins "Shorts," his collection of strangely shaped stories, simply:

"I spent that year -- the year I want to tell you about -- attending a prep school for lost rich kids who needed to 'find themselves.' I wasn't rich, but I knew I needed to find myself, and that being 'lost' wasn't going to do me any good. I felt like that decorated cadet who stumbled in the middle of the Parada Militar. Remember him? They say it was Pinochet's nephew ..."

These first few sentences illustrate a writer in command of his craft -- laying the groundwork, unwrapping his worlds. He's interested in flat, simple irony, parading authority, the fluctuating fortunes of the military state, boys stumbling home, boys stumbling in and out of love, and men and women exhausted by marriage.

But Fuguet does not begin his collection in the right place. Like the television sitcoms and movies he writes about, he competently introduces the good-looking, recurring characters and themes of his collection, but he does not take us into his heart of darkness soon enough. The first story, "The Test," is narrated by a teenager consumed with the mounting pressures of taking the three-day Prueba de Aptitud Académica. The boy hopes, like his companions, to score above 700 on the test and go to university, but he does not. Instead, he ends up taking the last spot in a "dubious arts program" and yearning to become a journalist. Here, disappointingly, the narration never reaches beyond the superficial observations available to a teenager.

In the second story, "Santiago," Fuguet goes deeper, inventing a young man named Santiago who is from Santiago, but living in Washington, D.C. Here, Fuguet seems to ask, "Are we simply the place we are from, or can we fashion ourselves into anything we wish, using nothing but a good education and free will?" Still, while all this is playful and interesting, the laments of the Westernized global citizen are not the heart of this inventive collection.

Some 80 pages into "Shorts," Fuguet really gets humming. In "Far West," he stretches the short-story form to fittingly hold his modern take on antique subjects: violent all-consuming love, the unremitting passing of youth and the dissection of human regrets so large and plentiful no single country or continent can contain them. Told as a Q&A (with an occasional italicized interior monologue), the story is the woeful exchange between a journalist and a reluctant celebrity from which unwinds a tale of family troubles both complex and common. Serving as the story's thematic backdrop is an abandoned amusement park without rides, the Far West -- a ramshackle place, now demolished and replaced by a bank, where American-style Wild West shows once were played out with Indians from Argentina.

The celebrity recounts his grandfather's disastrous marriage, then his father's and later his own, ultimately sharing the story of the night his father shot him. "The bullet passed through my stomach, clipped my liver, and ruptured my intestines in seven places." The night is Oct. 3, "just a few weeks after they hit the Twin Towers." Following "Far West" are a series of stories immersed in the mythology of home and place and told inventively, some in chapters and one as a screenplay. In "More Stars Than in Heaven," Fuguet takes on Los Angeles and the movie business in a series of scenes "shot" at Denny's on Sunset Boulevard. Later, Fuguet grapples with the abandonment of place in the delightful "Truth or Consequences," a story "shot" in the real American town (Truth or Consequences, N.M.) that once agreed to change its name to that of a television game show after winning a contest.

With "Shorts," we come to see clearly that Fuguet is not a magic realist, a martyr from Márquez's mythical village of Macondo, but rather a self-proclaimed founding member of the literary gang of McOndo, the universe of McDonald's, Macintoshes and condos. Mostly, though, readers will find that Fuguet is a gifted and playful young writer with the interest, skill and ambition to tackle the most difficult and rewarding human questions: Who am I? Where am I from? Do you love me? Why?

The Miami Herald

Putting into words life in between two worlds

By rejecting the magic realism of his literary forefathers, Alberto Fuguet forges a realism with a brand of magic all its own.


Alberto Fuguet. Rayo. 336 pages. $12.95 in paper.

The restless young wanderers of Alberto Fuguet's engrossing new story collection are an angry and displaced bunch, roaming through the Americas, bitterly estranged not only from their homeland but also from their dreams and desires.

Like Fuguet, who lived in California from infancy until he was 13, they are Chilean by birth. They are products not of a country drenched in mystical energy but hardened pragmatists from a gritty, urban reality, torn between drowning in pop culture -- Chilean and American -- and contempt for the questionable values it represents. They are rich kids from a poor place, ''the most solitary, disconnected and sad people on the planet,'' as one disgruntled character observes. ``International Latin trash, scared of their own places of origin.''

Ten years ago, Fuguet helped to found the literary movement McOndo -- for Macondo, the town in Gabriel García Márquez' revered One Hundred Years of Solitude -- which sneers at the pervasive magic realism beloved by the previous generation of South American writers. ''I get suffocated by thick, sweet, humid air that smells like mangos,'' he wrote in a 1997 article. Shorts remains true to Fuguet's more raw and earthy preoccupations: crime, drugs, sex, love, alcohol, violence, the impossible search for any sort of cultural identity, the effects on the psyche of too many art films and too much MTV Latino.

The stories here are nostalgic, amusing, melancholy, violent, and Fuguet's voice is consistently compelling, whether his narrators describe the violence that erupts among partying prep-school kids in Unseeing Eyes or the determination of a childless couple to drag two reluctant, elderly souls into the Internet age in Children.

Fuguet's cinematographer's eye for storytelling was showcased in Movies of My Life, a novel about a Chilean seismologist who reminisces about the films he loved during his Los Angeles childhood. Now his passion for movies resurfaces in Far West, a story written almost entirely in dialogue, in which a nervous interviewer gently probes his subject about why his alcoholic father shot him. The narrator of the elegiac, bittersweet The Magic Hour (Matinee, Vermouth, and Night) tells his brief, ships-that-pass-in-the-night tale in the form of a script, which eventually he makes into a film. He watches the video years later and wistfully recalls that single triumph of his optimistic youth. ``I can't stop thinking about what it was all like. About what I was like when I was on the verge of becoming the person I'd wanted to be.''

Fuguet nails the unsettling sensation of waiting for life to happen in two of the collection's best offerings. In Santiago, a peripatetic Chilean returns home after years in North America. He's ambivalent about his homeland, claims he has outgrown it, but he instinctively understands that ''when someone decides to speak poorly of their country of origin, it's because they hate themselves and -- usually -- they don't even know it.'' He is equally contemptuous of the United States: ``[Y]ou can walk down the street or go into stores like Wal-Mart or PayLess and find faces like this one that show an advanced state of functional dementia. You only see it in the U.S. They belong to people who have endured more abuse or solitude than you'd have thought possible.''

Also caught between two worlds is Simon, the embezzler of the dazzling Truth or Consequences. Having siphoned money from his company, he aimlessly stumbles around the American Southwest, waiting for the future to unfold. He ``feels that he shouldn't be here, but he hasn't been able to come up with a better place. At least there's space to live in between the parentheses.''

It is that confusing space between North and South America, success and failure, cynical youth and defeated old age that Fuguet examines with a hip, knowing wisdom. That his sharp, sardonic work is so enlightening perhaps is a sort of magic after all.

Connie Ogle is The Herald's book editor.

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