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?

....
Kingdom Cons
Kingdom Cons by Yuri Herrera
Reviewed by Sarah Booker

Yuri Herrera is overwhelming in the way that he sucks readers into his worlds, transporting them to a borderland that is at once mythical in its construction and powerfully recognizable as a reflection of its modern-day counterpart. Kingdom Cons, originally. . .

Read More >

The Invented Part
The Invented Part by Rodrigo Fresán
Reviewed by Tiffany Nichols

Imagine reading a work that suddenly and very accurately calls out you, the reader, for not providing your full attention to the act of reading. Imagine how embarrassing it is when you, the reader, believe that you are engrossed in. . .

Read More >

A Simple Story: The Last Malambo
A Simple Story: The Last Malambo by Leila Guerriero
Reviewed by Emilee Brecht

Leila Guerriero’s A Simple Story: The Last Malambo chronicles the unique ferocity of a national dance competition in Argentina. The dance, called the malambo, pushes the physical and mental limits of male competitors striving to become champions of not only. . .

Read More >

The Little Buddhist Monk & The Proof
The Little Buddhist Monk & The Proof by Cesar Aira
Reviewed by Will Eells

Aira continues to surprise and delight in his latest release from New Directions, which collects two novellas: the first, The Little Buddhist Monk, a fairly recent work from 2005, and The Proof, an earlier work from 1989. There are a. . .

Read More >

Agnes
Agnes by Peter Stamm
Reviewed by Dorian Stuber

The narrator of Peter Stamm’s first novel, Agnes, originally published in 1998 and now available in the U.S. in an able translation by Michael Hofmann, is a young Swiss writer who has come to Chicago to research a book on. . .

Read More >

Class
Class by Francesco Pacifico
Reviewed by Vincent Francone

The thing about Class is that I don’t know what the hell to think about it, yet I can’t stop thinking about it. I’ll begin by dispensing with the usual info that one may want to know when considering adding. . .

Read More >

The Dispossessed
The Dispossessed by Szilárd Borbély
Reviewed by Jason Newport

To be, or not to be?

Hamlet’s enduring question is one that Szilárd Borbély, acclaimed Hungarian poet, verse-playwright, librettist, essayist, literary critic, short-story writer, and, finally, novelist, answered sadly in the negative, through his suicide in 2014, at the. . .

Read More >