"[Labbé] wreaks havoc on narrative rules from the start and keeps doing it."Bookforum
Loquela, Carlos Labbé's fourth novel and second to be translated into English, is a narrative chameleon, a shape-shifting exploration of fiction's possibilities.
At a basic level, this book is like a hybrid of Julio Cortázar and Paul Auster: a distorted detective novel, a love story, and a radical statement about narrative art. Behind the silence that unites and separates Carlos and Elisa, behind the game that estranges the albino girls, Alicia and Violeta, from the best summer afternoons, behind the destiny of Neutriaa city that disappears with childhood and returns with desireand behind a literary movement that might be the ultimate vanguard while at the same time the greatest falsification, questions arise concerning who truly writes for whom in a novelthe author or the reader.
Through an array of voices, overlapping storylines, a kaleidoscope of literary references, and a delirious prose, Labbé carves out a space for himself among such form-defying Latin American greats as Diamela Eltit, Juan Carlos Onetti, and Jorge Luis Borges.
Carlos Labbé, one of Granta's "Best Young Spanish-Language Novelists," was born in Chile and is the author of a collection of short stories and six novels, one of which, Navidad & Matanza, is available in English from Open Letter. In addition to his writings, he is a musician, and has released three albums.
Will Vanderhyden received an MA in literary translation from the University of Rochester.
". . . [W]hat we encounter in Loquela is a skillful unmakingcomplete with diary excerpts, missives from beyond the grave and an invented barn-burning manifesto on a literary movement, 'Corporalism,' which seeks to breathe life into the "corpse" of literaturethat manages to offer new ways of thinking about what the novel can do."Laird Hunt, L.A. Times
"[Loquela] is drenched in the spirit of experimentality, dry and absurd humor, strangeness and intrigue."Simone Wolff, Bookslut
"Begins to fuck with your head from its very first word."Toby Litt
"Navidad & Matanza could be the hallucinogenic amalgamation of a César Aira plot with setting and characters conceived by Bolaño if written using Oulipo-style constraints. . . . With ample imagination and commanding style, Navidad & Matanza certainly marks Labbé as a young author from whom we ought to anticipate great, fascinating things to come."Jeremy Garber, Powell's Books