Following his failure to break into the Hadron Collider and merge with the so-called “God particle,” The Writer from The Invented Part can no longer write or sleep. Instead, he lies awake, imagining and reimagining key moments of his life, spinning out a series of insomniac visions every bit as thought-provoking as they are dreamlike. A mysterious foundation dedicated to preserving dreams, suddenly invaluable in the wake of the dream-eradicating White Plague; a psycho-lyrical-photophobic terrorist; an electric and mercurial lullaby; three lunatic sisters (and an eclipsed brother) who write from the darkest side of the most wuthering lunar heights; a hallucinating prisoner and a hallucinatory family; a genius addicted to butterflies and an FBI agent addicted to that genius; a looney and lysergic uncle and parents who model but are not model parents; a revolutionary staging of Shakespeare for the children of chic guerrillas; a city of sleepless bookshops; and a writer who might be 100 years old. Or not.
With characteristic wit, careening style, and array of cultural references, high and low and everything in between—from Shakespeare, the Brontë sisters, and Vladimir Nabokov to Talking Heads, superhero movies, and Rick and Morty—the second volume of Fresán’s trilogy is one of the most ambitious, unique, and entertaining novels of our time.
From the winner of the 2018 Best Translated Book Award
"A kaleidoscopic, open-hearted, shamelessly polymathic storyteller, the kind who brings a blast of oxygen into the room."—Jonathan Lethem
"Rodrigo Fresán is the new star of Latin American literature. . . . There is darkness in him, but it harbors light within it because his prose—aimed at bygone readers—is brilliant."—Enrique Vila-Matas
"I've read few novels this exciting in recent years. Mantra is the novel I've laughed with the most, the one that has seemed the most virtuosic and at the same time the most disruptive."—Roberto Bolaño
"Rodrigo Fresán is a marvelous writer, a direct descendant of Adolfo Bioy Casares and Jorge Luis Borges, but with his own voice and of his own time, with a fertile imagination, daring and gifted with a vision as entertaining as it is profound."—John Banville
"With pop culture cornered by the forces of screen culture, says Fresán (knowing the risk to his profile of 'pop writer,' even coming out himself to discuss it), there's nothing left but to be classic. That's the only way to keep on writing."—Alan Pauls
"A splendid though demanding entertainment, playful and pensive at once and beautifully written throughout."—Kirkus, starred review
"What Fresán has written is a strangely beautiful and beautifully strange novel: these two things at the same time and in the same space."—Magalí Urcaray
"Fresán’s paragraphs can be mere single lines, his lines phrasal, his phrases elliptical, his ellipses infuriating and provocative, but in the end his prose bristles with energy. He never lets the reader feel totally comfortable or linger in the groove. He withholds resolution until the reader just about wants to give up—but then he delivers."—Joey Rubin, Los Angeles Review of Books