Stochastic Bookmark

abstruse unfinished commentary

about correspondence


Keeping Up Appearances

Juan José Saer, The Witness: Testimony of an orphan whose passage as cabinboy to the New World culminates in ten years captivity by a cannibalistic tribe, told from the perspective of the elderly man who had since been returned to the Old World, no less out of place; based loosely on Francisco del Puerto (not on a retelling of the Columbus myth as some booksellers would have it, though a lunar eclipse does figure in to it in the end). As it happens, this was an ideal book to follow Fatelessness (perhaps as Rootlessness?), similarly structured but assessed from a distance, poetic rather than prosaic but still ruthlessly, though with greater ambiguity about what is given -- there's some sense of inversions of Conrad's Heart of Darkness, of Borges' mythical Tlönian language, of Roa Bastos (as in I the Other?). (And, as we await the day, Pynchon's GR seems pertinent as well.)


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