If you happened to read Laird Hunt’s “great review of Carlos Labbe’s Loquela in the LA Times”:http://www.latimes.com/books/la-ca-jc-carlos-labbe-20151220-story.html you’ll probably be interested in meeting the man behind this wild and wonderful book. Well, if you live in Dallas, Portland, Oakland, Chicago, or New York, then you’ll have a chance!
Before getting into the specifics of his upcoming tour, here’s a few key quotes from Laird Hunt’s review:
And here is where Loquela distinguishes itself excitingly. This is because instead of using self-reference to move away from fiction, Labbé is set on plunging, clanging alarm clock in hand, straight down the fictional rabbit hole to see what fabulous creatures might be woken. Indeed, his use of his own first name is just the first stop on a trip into a light- and dark-matter prism, a world made up of distinct but overlapping layers of narrative reality—where the dead speak to the living and the living dream of imaginary worlds—that make straightforward plot summary difficult. [. . .]
That Carlos is writing a detective story—one we catch glimpses of throughout—adds additional fuel to the engine of genre that playfully powers the book. There is death and seeking and significant doses of existential angst set to spin in these pages. So that much like Cortázar’s great Hopscotch, or Bolaño’s The Savage Detectives, or a recent work like The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli, what we encounter in Loquela is a skillful unmaking — complete with diary excerpts, missives from beyond the grave and an invented barn-burning manifesto on a literary movement, “Corporalism,” which seeks to breathe life into the “corpse” of literature — that manages to offer new ways of thinking about what the novel can do.
This is not to say Loquela eschews more traditional literary pleasures. The book is full of active, interesting observation, which has been brought over from the Spanish into English with brio and precision by translator Will Vanderhyden.
That is some serious praise! And well deserved. I love what Labbé is up to in his writing—incredibly adventurous, cerebral, satisfying.
And he’s not just a writer. He’s also a musician (I think approaching Loquela as if it were an album is incredibly fruitful) and one of the forces behind Sangría Editora. (And he’s a helluva salsa dancer!)
Over the next few weeks he’ll be reading from Loquela and talking about his writing in general at the following events:
Wednesday, January 13th at 7:30pm
Reading and Conversation with Chad W. Post at The Wild Detectives
(314 W. Eighth St., Dallas, TX)
Thursday, January 14th at 7:30pm
Reading and Discussion at Powell’s on Hawthorne
(3723 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Porland, OR)
Saturday, January 16th at 7pm
Reading and Conversation with Will Vanderhyden at Diesel: A Bookstore
(5433 College Avenue, Oakland, CA)
Tuesday, January 19th at 6pm
Reading and Conversation with Victoria Saramago at 57th Street Books
(1301 E. 57th Street, Chicago, IL)
Wednesday, February 3rd at 7:30pm
Reading and Conversation at Community Bookstore
(143 7th Ave., Brooklyn, NY)
Hopefully you can catch him at one of these events, and even if you can’t, you really should get a copy of the book.
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