A series of luminous vignettes describe the childhood of Argentina’s rediscovered modernist writer. Self-contained, interconnected fragments begin with her family’s departure to Mendoza in 1910 and end with their return to Buenos Aires and the death of her father in 1915.
Lange’s notes tell intimate, half-understood stories from the seemingly peaceful realm of childhood, a realm inhabited by an eccentric narrator searching for clues on womanhood and her own identity. She watches: her pubescent older sister, bathing naked in the moonlight; the death of a horse; and herself, a changeable and untimely girl. How she cried, when lifted onto a table and dressed as a boy, and how she laughed, climbing onto the kitchen roof in men’s clothing and throwing bricks to announce her performance.
Lange makes her domestic setting into a laboratory where strangeness and eroticism combine in delicate, daring flashes of literary brilliance.
“[Lange’s] stark, dreamy and often morbid observations that read like windows into the soul . . . Eccentric and obsessive, Lange reveals herself to be a born surrealist, examining and interpreting situations and people from elliptical angles.” —Catherine Taylor, Irish Times
“A muse to the young Jorge Luis Borges and Oliverio Girondo, Norah Lange was herself a profoundly gifted writer, one capable of drawing her readers back in time, plunging you into a lost world of soulful horseback riding on the pampas and bucolic women’s sewing rooms. Her Notes from Childhood is an endearing, mesmerizing, unforgettable masterpiece through which we can see anew the private history of women in Latin America. Read Norah and be bewitched.”—Pola Oloixarac
“One of the most beautiful and luminous books of childhood memoirs ever written in Latin America, so rich in the genre.”–César Aira
“The postcards of gender construction in Notes from Childhood are a delight . . . as is her exquisite prose. The fact that Lange has been considered a secondary figure speaks only of the strict hierarchy of themes that regulated, and in my opinion, continues to regulate entry into the canon.”–Marina Yuszczuk
“The apparently peaceful realm of childhood where the book was set concealed the fact that the text turned memories of a life into a literary investigation, the setting of childhood into an often disturbing laboratory.”–Silvia Molloy
“Lange never lacked recognition from writers: César Aira, Elvio Gandolfo, and Arturo Carrera have described her as one of the greats of Argentine literature.” –Adriana Astutti, Clarin
“If the same book had been published in Oslo or Budapest, or in Leipzig, not to mention Paris, it would now be as famous the world over as The Story of San Michele by Axel Monthe, with which it has more than one thing in common.” –Eduardo González Lanuza