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.
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. . .
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. . .
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. . .
It’s been almost a year since the publication of Nowhere to Be Found by Bae Suah, but despite being included on the 2015 PEN Translation award longlist, and some pretty vocal support from key indie presses, the book has. . .
Jorge Eduardo Benavides’ novel La paz de los vencidos (The Peace of the Defeated) takes the form of a diary written by a nameless Peruvian thirty-something intellectual slumming it in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands. Recently relocated. . .
Anyone with any interest at all in contemporary Moroccan writing must start with Souffles. A cultural and political journal, Souffles (the French word for “breaths”) was founded in 1966 by Abdellatif Laâbi and Mostafa Nissabouri. Run by a group of. . .
Randall Jarrell once argued a point that I will now paraphrase and, in doing so, over-simplify: As a culture, we need book criticism, not book reviews. I sort of agree, but let’s not get into all of that. Having finished. . .
Like any good potboiler worth its salt, Fuminori Nakamura’s The Gun wastes no time setting up its premise: “Last night, I found a gun. Or you could say I stole it, I’m not really sure. I’ve never seen something so. . .
Heiner Resseck, the protagonist in Monika Held’s thought-provoking, first novel, This Place Holds No Fear, intentionally re-lives his past every hour of every day. His memories are his treasures, more dear than the present or future. What wonderful past eclipses. . .
If you’ve ever worked in a corporate office, you’ve likely heard the phrase, “Perception is reality.” To Björn, the office worker who narrates Jonas Karlsson’s novel The Room, the reality is simple: there’s a door near the bathroom that leads. . .