Alejandro, the literary critic, is the focal point of duplicitous relationships. His wife, Mercedes, is having an affair with Jurud, the American author she has translated into Spanish, and Bonnie, his 17 year old daughter, has run away to Mexico.
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Preston Hollier, a wealthy American developer, has traduced two young rising-star Mexican intellectuals into doing his bidding under the guise of undertaking restoration and conservation of the Mayan pyramids and antiquities. Hollier means to loot everything, of course (``Ownership in Mexico is a frame of mind''), and has a network that includes a rotten American pre-Columbian art dealer; his wayward wife, Rita; various museum administrators and high government officials. The relative ease with which clerks bow to power is a theme here. But what comes over more strongly, annoyingly for the reader, is the postmodernist (and pass‚-seeming) stylistics. Abish--no surprise from the author of How German Is It (1980)--loves question-sentences so much that he constructs whole paragraphs made of them). There are fractured narrative, hard-bitten dialogue, banal and barren landscapes (``The corroded gas pumps in front had not seen service in years, despite the misleading sign: CHEVRON--SERVICE WITH A SMILE. Above the entrance, the sign in red, its first two letters missing, announced RAGE''), the high-culture milieux of restaurants and galleries. The atmospheric chill is glacial, stiffly enforced (at the cost of a reader's wondering why certain characters, such as a reclusive American novelist and his teenaged daughter, are even in the book in the first place). Everyone's a shard, a fragment of the generalized paranoia--but in the crazing, Abish shatters his novel as well, and you read uninvolved, from too far back, undisturbed (except, easily, by scenes of cruelty). Working with a basic Manichaean palette used before (and better) by William Gaddis, Robert Stone, and Evan Connell, Abish seems to struggle throughout to pull together what he aesthetically prefers to keep separate--and the strain shows. Intelligent but inert. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Abish's best-known work, How German Is It (which won the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1980), was hailed for its complex portrait of modern German society--its slick, rational surfaces and aggressively antiseptic architecture built upon a terrain shifting with historical and pyschological doubt. In his first novel since then, Abish applies the same aesthetic to modern Mexico with equally beguiling if less momentous results ( How German Is It ended with a revolutionary, under hypnosis, raising his hand in a Seig Heil! salute). Alejandro is a Mexican literary critic, urbane and sophisticated; his estranged wife Mercedes, a translator, leaves him, ostensibly to teach in the U.S., but Alejandro believes she is actually having an affair with Jurud, a Jewish-American novelist in New York. Alejandro's crisis unfolds against a backdrop of art theft, political chicanery and pernicious intellectual gossip-mongering among the cultural elite of Mexico City. As with most of Abish's work, the dramatic qualities of the plot are mildly diverting, but what fascinates most is its dynamic: the overall narrative structure (representative of History?) is dependent upon individuals solemnly pursuing the satisfaction of their own needs (capitalism?). How this comes to resemble art and story--and how it eclipses the reality of historical forces--is underscored by the purposefully melodramatic ending.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Descripción Chapitre.com - Impression à la demande, 1891. Paperback. Estado de conservación: NEUF. - Genre : littérature : littératures italienne, roumaine, rhéto-romane Print on Demand. Nº de ref. de la librería 1010571170261