Friday, September 23, 2011

Literature without Borders

Susan Sontag wrote in the prologue to Urban Voodoo: “As Godard said that he wanted to make fiction films that were like documentaries and documentaries that were like fiction films, Cozarinsky has written autobiographical narratives that are like essays and essays that are like stories.”

That’s why the reader might suspect that that author born in Argentina was a Borgesian reader, capable of disarming any structure in order to remake it according to his style and whim, always leading to an exquisite, ironic, and cosmopolitan work.  

 Tres Fonteras (Three Frontiers) lives up to Sontag’s evaluation. The 11 stories collected in the book are arranged geographically and approach the memoir as contaminated by fiction – perhaps because reality can never satiate our desires – in a device that the author classifies as “documentary fiction.” The story “En Tránsito” (In Transit), set in Paris during the Second World War, recounts a useless existential debate with a writer who we discern through clues to be Walter Benjamin, although Cozarinsky has the delicacy not to anme in. “El Fantasma de la Plaza Roja” (The Ghost of Red Square) unites the destinies of a journalist assassinated by the Argentine military and an ancient silent film star from Hollywood. The implacable and current “Piercing” describes the little sex tourism adventure of an older man – although it also could have been a woman – and a teen on a Caribbean island.

 Many of Cozarinsky’s new stories – particularly “En Tránsito” and “A Day in 1942” – could have been included in The Bride from Odessa, a fine volume of stories translated into various languages that Chris Marker of Liberation calls “the most beautiful book I’ve read in a long time.”  


Review Tres Fonteras (Three Frontiers), Edgardo Cozarinksy (Meansheets)