Monday, February 04, 2013

Review: Trafalgar by Angélica Gorodischer

My review of Angélica Gorodischer's Trafalgar, originally published in 1979 and now published in English by Small Beer Press, appears this week in the Los Angeles Review of BooksTrafalgar is a strange book, not at all what I was expecting it to be and quite unlike anything else I've ever read.  It's certainly worth a look, though, and has me very curious to read Gorodischer's previously translated work, Kalpa Imperial.

5 comments:

blotter-paper.com said...

I'm excited to read Trafalgar. Kalpa Imperial is definitely worth your time. It sounds quite different from Trafalgar, actually. All the stories within Kalpa Imperial are structured differently and have different tones. Taken together, their variety gives the story-cycle a sense of the epic that is very different from that in traditional epic .

Kate Nepveu said...

Seconding the rec for _Kalpa Imperial_. It's also not perfect but it's very interesting.

rushthatspeaks said...

Kalpa Imperial is quite lovely, and is different in just about every way possible except that it is also made up of linked short stories. It's much better at and about women, to the point where I had been mentally classifying Gorodischer as an explicitly feminist writer. As Kate said, not a perfect book, and with some amazing moments of tone-deaf, but well worth the read.

The other way the two books are similar is that neither much resembles anything else out there. Though Trafalgar definitely has some kinship with both Italo Calvino and Stanislaw Lem, it's not that close a kinship.

Abigail Nussbaum said...

I had a very ambivalent reaction to the way women were portrayed in Trafalgar, rushthatspeaks, that I hope came across in my review. There's clearly an ironic component to the book's treatment Trafalgar's womanizing, so much so that I kept wondering if I was missing its extent (plus, I had also heard that Gorodischer could be classed as a feminist writer). But in the end that irony didn't go far enough, and as you say there were also tone deaf moments (the whole bit with Columbus, as I mention in the review). Still, it's an interesting book, and I am very curious to read Kalpa Imperial.

Alison said...

Kalpa Imperial is easy to read for a while but I found it increasingly difficult to return to. Magical realism gives quick rewards, but I think the price is a lack of long lived satisfaction. Obviously that isn't a widespread reaction. But to me it was like eating food that vanishes as you swallow it.

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