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McSweeney's Issue 46 (McSweeney's Quarterly Concern): Thirteen Crime… (2014)
Tekijä: Dave Eggers (Toimittaja)
Ei tämänhetkisiä Keskustelu-viestiketjuja tästä kirjasta.
A surprisingly monochromatic collection - even with the overarching theme of Latin American crime stories, I would have thought that there would be a bit more variety. A bit disappointing. Cover and design are pretty great, though. ( )
This issue of McSweeney's features thirteen short pieces of crime fiction from Latin American authors, with all but one of them taking place in Latin America. All of the thirteen stories (with the possible exception of one) are solid entries in the crime fiction genre, and are all at the very least competently executed and well written. Some of the selections don't try much to exceed typical crime fiction tropes (The Face, White Flamingo), while others try a little too hard (Bitches, Jealousy), but all are captivating stories worthy of inclusion in this anthology.
The only short story I would argue doesn't necessarily belong in this collection would be Horses in the Smoke. It is a great story involving the 2014 World Cup protests in Brazil, but even though one could argue that actions of either the protesters or the police/government reaction to them can technically be classified as criminal, shoehorning it into the Crime Fiction category seems a bit of a stretch. Ultimately, Horses in the Smoke feels like it was included because it features a topical current event, and not because it is a 'crime story'.
My personal favorite from this collection is Artist's Rendition by Alejandro Zambra, in which the narrator reveals the story while altering the facts behind it to fit a writing assignment, utilizing an inventive post-modernist style and alternating perspectives/narratives that enhances the storytelling without the risk of distracting the reader. Also, Blind Sun and America both are intriguing forays into overwhelming government corruption, to which Emunctories feels like an appropriate followup.
Another Solid Issue of Mcsweeney's One of the things I love about Mcsweeney's is that you never know what the next installment might bring. This issue was entirely made up of crime stories by latin american authors. As always with Mcsweeney's, the quality of the writing was high, the editing was spot on, and, for this volume, the translations were terrific. Several of the stories in the first half of the issue echoed very similar themes and situations. That in itself was an interesting window into other cultures. But, for me, it was the penultimate story that was worth the price of admission. "So Much Water So Far From Home" at times bordered on the sublime. A few stories fell flat, but none were bad. Looking forward to the next issue.
The books in McSweeney’s “Quarterly Concern” are singularly beautiful, and such a tactile pleasure just to pick up and hold, much less read from. In this edition, thirteen writers from ten different Latin American countries were asked to write contemporary crime stories set in their home countries.
I thought almost all of them were above average, with only a couple of exceptions – Roncagliolo’s ‘The Face’ (meh), and Carvalho’s ‘Jealousy’ (ugh). One of the ones I liked the most was ‘Bitches’ by Jorge Enrique Lage (Cuba), in which a man tries to track down a transsexual he met in rehab and who told him how the police and manipulated her into drugs and prostitution. Another was ‘Artist’s Rendition’ by Alejandro Zambra (Chile), which cleverly has a writer within his story making up a story out of memories of a girl who was abused. Lastly ‘So Much Water So Far From Home’ by Rodrigo Hasbun (Bolivia) has four 50-something gals meeting up for a weekend getaway; there is sadness in the past and present, and Hasbun uses the right touch.
The rest of the stories held my interest, but they seemed a little monochromatic. Common themes are police and government corruption, false imprisonment, revenge killing, and drugs. In his story, Zambra indeed comments “…he does think it’s necessary to move the protagonists down in class, because the middle class – and he thinks this without irony – is a problem if one wants to write Latin American literature”.
On the other hand, in several of the stories, the author takes a shot at government incompetence or corruption, which I appreciated. The best example of this was in ‘America’ by Juan Pablo Villalobos: “At the end of the day, how long has it been since there was a serial killer in Mexico? (Not counting the presidents of the Republic, of course.)”
My rating may be a half star on the low side, as I love everything about McSweeney’s. Even the letters to the editor printed at the beginning of the book are interesting and erudite in their own right. I get the feeling of peeking into a circle where editors who love books and truth and beauty are finding stories out of love for their readers and the literary art form, a circle where intelligence without pretentiousness reigns. It’s really quite refreshing and I’ll likely become a subscriber.
On issue #46, it’s all solid, good, worth reading, but there was no “wow” story for me, and I suppose that’s the reason for giving it 3.5 stars.
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia (1)
In thirteen electrifying stories, our very first all-Latin-American issue takes on the crime story as a starting point, and expands to explore contemporary life from every angle--swinging from secret Venezuelan prisons to Uruguayan resorts to blood-drenched bedrooms in Mexico and Peru, and even, briefly, to Epcot Center and the Havana home of a Cuban transsexual named Amy Winehouse. Featuring contemporary writers from ten different countries--including Alejandro Zambra, Juan Pablo Villalobos, Andres Ressia Colino, Mariana Enriquez, and many more--McSweeney's 46 offers an essential cross-section of the troubles and temptations confronting the region today. It's crucial reading for anyone interested in the shifting topography of Latin American literature and Latin American life, and a collection of writing to rival anything we've assembled in years.
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