MixedVol. 1 BrooklynAt times the relationship between M and L, for all the time spent on it, seems superfluous to the familial details that Cusk focuses on. It’s as if the narrator to the very end believes that L is driving her towards something, that he is pivotal to the story as well as to her relationship with those around her, and so that must be the relationship on which to center the story. This somewhat exasperating way of choosing to narrate a story only serves to highlight how well done Cusk’s first novel after the Outline Trilogy is; it simultaneously dreams of the story wished to be told, while painstakingly giving ground and telling the story that we actually read, one of family relationships strained by the never-ending passage of time ... Even as Cusk writes about the shoddy nature of reaching for some sort of \'higher ideal\' in art, she reminds why she’s actually a one-of-one artist, because the story set out to be told wasn’t told, but maybe it will be next time, and the people around will let you change, or become something new, or realize a truth and be celebrated for it, just maybe that’ll happen.
Juan Villoro, tr. Alfred MacAdam
RaveChicago Review of BooksDating back to 1993, the entries in this diary of a city mostly veer away from the catchalls used commonly when writing about metropolises, and stand as Villoro’s own illustrations of an unfathomably difficult task, placing oneself in the context of a world like Mexico City ... The contents of this book are difficult to encapsulate, if only because they are as wide-ranging as they are detailed ... This conglomeration of Villoro’s memories and writings does not necessitate reading from beginning to end; the book could be opened at any page and the story will exist outside of the rest of the accounts told, connected in no other discernible way to each other except that they both exist in the world of Mexico City ... Horizontal Vertigo stands as a remarkable example of an author who so clearly understands the city he lives in. This is no small feat; the previously mentioned generalizations of metropolises can so easily influence our perceptions of place, and yet Villoro manages for the most part to transcend this tendency towards hyperbole. The picture painted here is distinctly Villoro’s, but this is beneficial in the end. As a way to make meaning out of creations like the \'urban metropolis,\' narratives of the cities are created, making every individuals’ story a fragment, and just that, and Villoro understands this, and this is what ultimately endows his work with such meaning; his awareness that his experience is a only fragment of the whole world around him, and that that still constitutes something worth exploring.
Nona Fernández, tr. Natasha Wimmer
PositivePloughsharesEchoing and emphasizing this reconsideration of the past, Fernandez repeats certain phrases throughout her writing, often referring to the title of the book and specific episodes of the popular television show of the same name, as a way to delve into the fluctuations of memory and to acknowledge the items and thoughts that remain while others slip away, while also highlighting the media and society’s role in what we remember ... Blurring these two worlds, Fernandez argues that evil isn’t exclusively the domain of the villains of our stories and lives, and this becomes the underlying note that ties together the last half of the work ... Fernandez’s novel works like an episode of The Twilight Zone. The dark connections to be made between past and present, friend and foe, evildoer and hero, are only readily apparent after emerging from the hazy world the reader has been immersed in.