‘A delicious gumbo of Lewis Carroll and Nabokov and Robbe-Grillet’ – Navidad and Matanza by Carlos Labbé
In reply to your e-mail regarding Navidad and Matanza.
Our reviewer was disappointed, no saddened, no, heartbroken, to learn that due to the length of time it would take to ship a copy of Navidad and Matanza to the UK you would be unable to send a copy for him to review. Your kind offer of a pdf version of the book was accepted but with some grumbling and what appeared to be the beginnings of tears forming in his eyes.
Our reviewer loves books you see. Perhaps too much. Not owning an e-reader he was forced to read the novella on his phone. This involved him using an app that he hadn’t used before (and didn’t really understand how to use) which made him irritable and confused. After struggling with it for an hour or two he locked himself in his bedroom, refusing to review books ever again because “everything is stupid”.
It isn’t. He knows that now. We gave him some biscuits and he calmed down a bit. However, he would only give us the review you will find below. You may have broken our reviewer. We would be grateful if you could send him a book.
Navidad and Matanza is probably going to be my book of the year.
DO NOT TELL ANYONE THIS UNTIL I GET AN ACTUAL COPY OF AN ACTUAL BOOK.
It is a fiendishly clever deconstruction of narrative that somehow manages to be more gripping than a thriller. Multiple plotlines interweave and battle for control of reality but the reader never once questions what is happening. I have no idea how Carlos Labbé does this. He is clearly a genius.
I WANT A REAL BOOK NOT A STUPID PDF. WHAT IS A PDF ANYWAY?
Two children (or four children, or many children, or no children) go missing, or don’t, in somewhere that may or may not be Chile. Are you with me so far? This is the fiction, or truth, being told in a series of e-mails that make up part of a novel that is possibly being written by seven people trapped, or working, or both, in a laboratory that is testing a drug called hadon which is an ‘ecstasy of hate’.
I WANT A BOOK. MY EYES HURT FROM PDFS.
This sounds preposterously complicated but in Labbé’s hands it isn’t. It is preposterously readable. A joy to read, fanciful, flirtatious, almost coquettish, a delicious gumbo of Lewis Carroll and Nabokov and Robbe-Grillet and science fiction and politics and history and, above all, story.
AND I WANT TO RE-READ IT BUT I CAN’T BECAUSE MY EYES HURT AND EVERYTHING IS STUPID.”
This is one of the finest books of the century so far, and one that belongs on every bookshelf. It is, simply put, extraordinary.
Any Cop?: YES, THIS BOOK IS EXTRAORDINARY BUT I DON’T WANT YOU TO PUBLISH THAT UNTIL I GET AN ACTUAL BOOK IN MY ACTUAL HAND.
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- June 9, 2014 / 4:08 am