10 April 09 | Chad W. Post | Comments [2]

Although he’s considered to be the first Peruvian science fiction writer, there’s precious little information about Clemente Palma available in English. That said, what is out there is extremely intriguing . . . and seems almost made up. Or like he’s an entry from Bolano’s Nazi Literature in the Americas . . .

One of Palma’s short story collections was translated into English, but it’s his “sci-fi masterpiece” XYZ that really sounds interesting. From the little I could find online — mainly from this academic bookXYZ is about a guy who clones miniature versions of famous movie stars, which then melt after four months. He moves to a strange, remote island to perfect his cloning process (so the movies stars are full-size), and falls in love with the clone of Jeannette MacDonald. Their romance is interrupted when a mysterious yacht loaded with machine guns shows up and tries to invade the workshop. Turns out that MGM caught wind of the island and wanted to cash in on these cloned movie stars. Apparently the book ends with the clones meeting their real-life counterparts (and then melting) and the mad scientist killing himself after denouncing the movie studio for fucking with his experiment.

This could be total shlock, but it also sounds kind of fun in an unhinged sort of way . . . At another site (which also makes the Bolano connection) I found a bit about how Palma has been accused of being a racist, in part for XYZ, but also for his story “La ultima rubia” which “is set in a future in which all races have blended (and speak Esperanto,) and the protagonist sets on an insane quest to find a blonde woman so that he can make gold.”

Seems like the perfect sort of book to pop up on Lost . . . Is anyone reading this familiar with Palma?

....
One of Us Is Sleeping
One of Us Is Sleeping by Josefine Klougart
Reviewed by Jeremy Garber

We know so very little; so little that what we think to be knowledge is hardly worth reckoning with at all; instead we ought to settle for being pleasantly surprised if, on the edge of things, against all expectations, our. . .

Read More >

Bye Bye Blondie
Bye Bye Blondie by Virginie Despentes
Reviewed by Emma Ramadan

Many of Virginie Despentes’s books revolve around the same central idea: “To be born a woman [is] the worst fate in practically every society.” But this message is nearly always packaged in easy-to-read books that fill you with the pleasure. . .

Read More >

La Superba
La Superba by Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer
Reviewed by Anna Alden

Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer’s La Superba is appropriately titled after the Italian city of Genoa, where, after escaping the pressures of fame in his own country, the semi-autobiographical narrator finds himself cataloguing the experiences of its mesmerizing inhabitants with the intention. . .

Read More >

Intervenir/Intervene
Intervenir/Intervene by Dolores Dorantes; Rodrigo Flores Sánchez
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

It took reading 44 pages of Intervenir/Intervene before I began to get a sense of what Dolores Dorantes and Rodrigo Flores Sánchez were up to. Recurring throughout these 44 pages—throughout the entire book—are shovels, shovel smacks to the face, lobelias—aha!. . .

Read More >

All Days Are Night
All Days Are Night by Peter Stamm
Reviewed by Lori Feathers

As presaged by its title, contradiction is the theme of Peter Stamm’s novel, All Days Are Night. Gillian, a well-known television personality, remains unknowable to herself. And Hubert, a frustrated artist and Gillian’s lover, creates art through the process of. . .

Read More >

The Seven Good Years
The Seven Good Years by Etgar Keret
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

It’s a rare and wonderful book that begins and ends with violence and humor. At the start of Etgar Keret’s The Seven Good Years, Keret is in a hospital waiting for the birth of his first child while nurses, in. . .

Read More >

Human Acts
Human Acts by Han Kang
Reviewed by J.C. Sutcliffe

Last year, Han Kang’s The Vegetarian was an unexpected critical hit. Now, it’s just been published in the U.S. and has already received a great deal of positive critical attention. The Vegetarian was a bold book to attempt as an. . .

Read More >