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Luisa Valenzuela

Autor(a) de The Lizard's Tail

33+ Works 611 Membros 14 Críticas 5 Favorited

About the Author

Luisa Valenzuela is one of the many women who have emerged as major voices in Latin American fiction. Her elliptic metaphoric pieces broaden the definitions of short story and novel. Strange Things Happen Here (1977) is close to an allegory of the Argentine political situation, but it shuns mostrar mais conventional realism to blur reality in a hallucinatory style. Julio Cortazar said of Valenzuela that she lucidly charts "the seldom-chosen course of a woman deeply anchored in her condition, conscious of discriminations that are still horrible all over our continent, but, at the same time, filled with joy in life that permits her to surmount both the elementary stages of protest and an overestimation of women in order to put herself on a perfectly equal footing with any literature---masculine or not." (Bowker Author Biography) mostrar menos
Image credit: Courtesy of Serpent's Tail Press

Obras por Luisa Valenzuela

The Lizard's Tail (1983) 107 exemplares
He Who Searches (1987) 69 exemplares
Black Novel (with Argentines) (1990) 52 exemplares
Bedside Manners (1990) 43 exemplares
Symmetries (1993) 42 exemplares
Cambio de armas (1982) 39 exemplares
Open Door: Stories (1988) — Autor — 35 exemplares
Other Weapons (1985) 30 exemplares
Dark Desires and the Others (2011) 22 exemplares
Cuentos completos y uno más (1998) 12 exemplares
The Crossing (2001) 11 exemplares
Escritura y secreto (2002) 7 exemplares

Associated Works

Flash Fiction: 72 Very Short Stories (1992) — Contribuidor — 399 exemplares
Sudden Fiction International: Sixty Short-Short Stories (1989) — Contribuidor — 213 exemplares
Short Stories by Latin American Women: The Magic and the Real (1990) — Contribuidor — 146 exemplares
The Writer on Her Work, Volume II: New Essays in New Territory (1730) — Contribuidor — 124 exemplares
The Penguin Book of International Women's Stories (1996) — Contribuidor — 114 exemplares
The Vintage Book of Latin American Stories (2000) — Contribuidor — 105 exemplares
Dick for a Day: What Would You Do If You Had One? (1997) — Contribuidor — 104 exemplares
Sudden Fiction Latino: Short-Short Stories from the United States and Latin America (2010) — Introdução; Contribuidor — 69 exemplares
Extreme Fiction: Fabulists and Formalists (2003) — Contribuidor — 51 exemplares
Huellas de las literaturas hispanoamericanas (1602) — Contribuidor — 51 exemplares
Pleasure in the Word : Erotic Writing by Latin American Women (1993) — Contribuidor — 34 exemplares
One World of Literature (1992) — Contribuidor — 24 exemplares
Landscapes of a New Land : Short Fiction by Latin American Women (1995) — Contribuidor — 18 exemplares

Etiquetado

Conhecimento Comum

Membros

Críticas

All About Suicide — 4/5
Li solto noutra Antologia


‘‘Ismael grabbed the gun and slowly rubbed it across his face. Then he pulled the trigger and there was a shot. Bang. One more person dead in the city. It's getting to be a vice. First he grabbed the revolver that was in a desk drawer, rubbed it gently across his face, put it to his temple, and pulled the trigger. Without saying a word. Bang. Dead.’’


É difícil falar desse conto sem estragar a surpresa para quem vai lê-lo. Basta dizer que eu li sem esperar muita coisa… e acabei nocauteado — alá dizia o amigo do Córtazar. Grogue e induzido a voltar ao início.

A autora argentina te engana de muitas maneiras; e de uma muito específica que só vi aqui: pelos pronomes. Depois dessa cena inicial — o suicídio —, o personagem saí andando, revigorado. A narrativa ganha tons absurdos, meio fantástico, meio realismo sujo.

Mas lá no final tudo vai fazer sentido. Há, além da interessante narrativa, uma crítica aos tempos turbulentos vividos pela autora, amarrado e indissociável à forma. É uma aula, por exemplo, para a Nelida Piñon — cito-a somente pela narrativa dela estar fresca na minha memória —, que ao falar da ditadura em um conto o faz pelo modo mais prosaico possível: uma personagem lembrando. Podia muito bem ser um artigo, uma memória, uma auto ficção.

Este aqui, impossível. Não podia ser outra coisa. O tema está chapado (de chapa) dentro da forma do conto. A trama te despista completamente. E por isso ele é, diferente do da Nelida, prazeroso e magnetizante — é um conto, mas também é mais. Não o olhe de lado por ser "desconhecido". É muito bom.

No meu caso, ela me pegou já na abertura. Já abre na loucura, e entra um narrador do tipo onisciente e intrusão, que depois da cena inicial, começa a “rebobinar a fita” para colocar na mesa as possíveis razões daquela cena inicial. Tem uma coisa no narrador, também, que usa palavras do tipo ‘‘trivialidade’’, ‘‘prazer’’ e ‘‘sensualidade’’ para falar daquela leva de “suicídios” que vem acontecendo na cidade.

E ele vai te levando assim: para entender o ato que põe o conto em movimento não devemos retornar a Ismael (o protagonista) sozinho no bar, na noite anterior, bebendo, pensando no ato e nas consequências, “devemos voltar até o berço, com Ismael chorando por estar sujo de merda e ainda não apareceu ninguém para limpá-lo” (…) "Não, não tão longe. Voltamos demais a fita". Ismael no fundamental; Ismael ministro.

A gente volta até que a fita re-rebobine (?) outra vez e a gente torne à cena inicial; agora, porém, temos um contexto, sabemos mais. E tudo muda completamente. Um giro de 360 graus [sic]. Como também muda quando chegarmos à conclusão. É um contasso par excellence, na definição consagrada: nocauteante e circular. Entre no ringue com essa autora "menor" argentina mas não espere um alvo fácil por conta da estatura; deixo-o avisado.

TLDR: é o texto perfeito para servir de exemplo ao termo: ''ele foi suicidado.''

Traduzido pro Inglês pela Helen Lane
Incluso nesta Antologia.
(Recomendo o Original! Li em inglês por comodidade
(não sabia se valeria a pena).
… (mais)
 
Assinalado
RolandoSMedeiros | 2 outras críticas | Apr 26, 2024 |
This was a great story collection. The stories reminded me a bit of Borges or Ray Bradbury, very well crafted and engaging, with some fun twists. I also had fun practicing my Spanish by reading the Spanish side of each page out loud to my cats while following along in the English. I'm not sure how much I learned, but my Spanish pronunciation is a bit better after so much practice. :)
 
Assinalado
JBarringer | 2 outras críticas | Dec 15, 2023 |
 
Assinalado
casafallai | Jan 27, 2019 |



Having read and loved Luisa Valenzuela's Black Novel with Argentines some years ago, I was thrilled to come across this collection of short stories. I enjoyed every single piece but the title story particularly resonates with me and I wanted to give this story its own write-up as per below. Spoiler alert: my review covers the entire story, beginning to end.

THE CENSORS
Poor Juan: All he did was write an innocent letter, “the letter that now keeps his mind off his job during the day and won’t let him sleep at night.” In a police state the fifth horseman is fear, spinning unfortunate citizens down into pits of imagined excruciating future pains of torture chambers, cramped prison cells, interrogation rooms and work camps - paranoia as a diabolical spinning top wearing people down into obedience and total submission, to the point where they even begin to say 'thank you' to their persecutors.

No Stone Unturned: Juan realizes words themselves will not be the issue; rather, “he knows that they examine, sniff, feel, and read between the lines of each and every letter, and check its tiniest comma, and most accidental stain.” The ultimate totalitarian iron fist - condemning men and women not for what they say, but the way they say it; not for their action, but just thinking about acting (of course, the secret police and their ilk claim to know what their citizens are thinking); not only who they are, say an artist, musician, dancer or writer, but just the way they look or walk or sip their coffee.

State Justice: “He knows that all letters pass from hand to hand and go through all sorts of tests in the huge censorship offices and that in the end, very few continue on their way.” In so many words, guilty until proven innocent; or, even if innocent, not permitting the letter to be delivered since, who knows what will happen once the letter is received by the subversive (and all citizens by secret police standards are subversive on some level or in one way or another).

Community Torture: “Usually it takes months, even years, if there aren’t any snags all this time the freedom, maybe even the life, of both sender and receiver is in jeopardy.” Another evil trick totalitarian governments ruthlessly work to their own advantage: not punishing the perpetrator but the perpetrator’s friends and loved ones. A citizen might take chances to act against the state if only their own skin is at stake, but knowing the welfare of others would be in jeopardy really stops the would-be agitator like a very tall, very wide brick wall.

Team Player, One: “Well, you’ve got to beat them to the punch, do what everyone tries to do: sabotage the machinery, throw sand in its gears, get to the bottom of the problem so as to stop it.” Juan applies to become a censor and is hired on the spot. And for good reason: with all the letters citizens pen, more and more censors are always needed. The agency knows very well new employee are on the lookout for their own letter and will therefore work that much harder in snapping up the letters of others. As Nietzsche said, no one makes a harsher slave driver than a former slave.

Team Player, Two: Juan feels at peace working in a department where explosives can go off in your face at any moment. “It’s true that on the third day, a fellow worker had his right hand blown off by a letter, but the division chief claimed it was sheer negligence on the victim’s part. Juan and the other employees were allowed to go back to their work, though feeling less secure.” Ha! “Allowed to go back to work” as if working under such highly dangerous conditions is a privilege. And also so predictable: the injury was the victim’s own fault. The ironclad truth pronounced by any police state: the victim is always at fault; by definition, all state action is the right action, absolutely, at all times and in all places.

Team Player, Three: So after hours one of the men in that department tried to organize a strike. Juan didn’t join in; rather, Juan reports the guy and receives a promotion. Juan feels a sense of pride as he climbs a rung on the ladder of success. Ah, success! This speak volumes to Juan’s shift of self-identity: Juan the Censor. Just what the state wants, another shinny, efficient cog for its sinister state machinery.

Team Player, Four: More promotions and Juan’s work as a censor becomes all consuming; he’s shocked at the way letter writers attempt to pass on subversive anti-government messages in ways most subtle and conniving. On some occasions Juan takes to peering through a magnifying glass and at other times an electric microscope to examine the letters’ microprint. His dear old mother urges Juan to go out for some fun entertainment but Juan always declines, judging such fun activities, so called, as frivolous distractions from his job.

Ultimate Dehumanization: Luis Valenzuela, imaginative artist that she is, puts yet another devastating spin on her dark, cautionary tale, ending with the lines, “He was about to congratulate himself for having finally discovered his true mission, when his letter to Mariana reached his hands. Naturally, he censored it without regret. And just as naturally, he couldn’t stop them from executing him the following morning, another victim of his devotion to his work.”


Reading the fiction of Argentina's Luisa Valenzuela is to take a walk on the dark side. A world-class author with such a penetrating understanding of human nature and culture.

I feel especially connected with the author’s finely rendered tale since I spent many years as a young man working in an insurance office. A world not exactly of government censors but, as the saying goes, close enough for government work. So close, I wrote my own cautionary tale I’d like to share:

OVERTIME
For many years Neal Merman commuted back and forth to his place of work like the others. It was to an insurance office, a room with blank walls, linoleum floor and forty desks under naked florescent lights. Coming in with regularity, Neal performed the job of an everyday clerk.

This mechanical routine shifted abruptly, however, when Neal became part of his desk. First, the desk absorbed only two fingers, but by the end of that afternoon, his entire left hand was sucked up by the metal. And the following morning Neal’s left leg from the knee down also became part of his desk. So it continued for a week until the only Neal to be seen was a right arm positioned beside a head and neck on the desk top.

When the other clerks arrived in the morning, all of them could see what was left of Neal, head down and pencil in hand, reviewing a file with utmost care. To aid his review, Neal would punch figures into his calculator fluently and with the dexterity of someone who knows he is total command of his skill. Such acumen brought a wry smile to Neal’s face.

One day, Big Bart, the department boss, came by to check on Neal’s files. “Your work, clerk, is better and better, although you are now more desk than flesh and bones.”

“What files do you want me to review today?” Neal asked, still scrutinizing some figures.

“Not too many files, clerk, but enough to keep you.” Big Bart withdrew and Neal followed him with his eyes until his boss could no longer be seen.

Later that same day Neal’s right arm faded into the metal. Then, like a periscope being lowered from the surface of the sea, his neck, jaw and nose sank down, leaving his eyes slightly above the gray slab. Neal looked forward and saw his pencil straight on – a long gleaming yellow cylinder with shiny eraser band at the end. Over the pencil, his telephone swelled like some giant mountain. Hearing the phone ring, Neal instinctively reached for the receiver, but this was only a mental gesture. Neal felt his forehead sinking and closed his eyes.
… (mais)
 
Assinalado
Glenn_Russell | 2 outras críticas | Nov 13, 2018 |

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Estatísticas

Obras
33
Also by
18
Membros
611
Popularidade
#41,144
Avaliação
3.8
Críticas
14
ISBN
72
Línguas
6
Marcado como favorito
5

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