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Latin Labyrinths: The Next Generation

October 2006

Looking for a way through the labyrinth of Latin American literature? Juan Villoro’s “House Loses” makes clear the life of a broke-down casino in the hills, and Horacio Castellanos Moya’s sweeping novel Senselessness illuminates the violence in Central America. Literature becomes a vehicle to freedom in the imaginary travelog of an exile, One Year by Juan Emar. Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza raises a glass to his friend Gabriel García Marquez. As a kind of apotheosis, Ralph Angel’s essay on Federico García Lorca’s poetry formulates the immortality of song.

Finally, we discover ourselves in the company of the heirs of the legacy of Jorge Luis Borges. Fernando Sorrentino catalogs brilliant faux-encyclopedia entries on “The Extinction of Basilisks” and “The Diet of Horses,” and Alberto Ruy-Sánchez shows the ontological side of the entomological in his sensual “Garden of Voices.” Then Aura Estrada divines the aesthetics of Borges in relation to those of Roberto Bolaño.