Thursday, May 09, 2019
Wednesday, May 01, 2019
This conversation with David Naimon is about writing, translation, The Taiga Syndrome, politics, women’s voices, The Iliac Crest, writing in Spanish in the United States, teaching, cross-genre, launching the first PhD with a concentration in Creating Writing in Spanish, Juan Rulfo, second-languagness, speculative fiction, translating Fred Moten and Don Mee Choi, taking the streets, and more. Here you have it:
Tuesday, April 23, 2019
PEDAGOGIES OF ART AND VIOLENCE IN THE AMERICAS
Thursday & Friday, April 25 and 26th, 2019
King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center, NYU
This two-day symposium analyzes the possibilities and limits of critical practices
emanating from the university. How do universities reach out to address the social
urgencies of today beyond the classroom walls? How might academics strive to work
with stigmatized and marginalized "others"; rather than "on" them? Critical thinking emerges when spaces that have long been separated—the University and Prison, as but one example—create a friction that changes and re-signifies disciplinary knowledge and it's practices within the university and within prisons. Artistic, pedagogical and juridical critical practices are at the core of this friction. Symposium participants from the Global South analyze how the critical university (public and private) intervenes not only in prisons, but in other state institutions.
THURSDAY, APRIL 25TH | 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Welcome and Presentation
Marisa Belausteguigoitia, Spring 2019 Andrés Bello Chair in Latin American Cultures and
Civilizations, New York University (NYU)
Writing in Dissent: Social Suffering, Communality, and the Ethics of Care
Cristina Rivera Garza, University of Houston
FRIDAY APRIL 26TH | 11:00 AM - 7:00 PM
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
Translucent Strategies and Dissent: Maneuvers for Access to Justice
Michael Coyle, California State University, Chico
Susana Draper, Princeton University
Haizea Barcenilla, Universidad del País Vasco
Moderator: Marisa Belausteguigoitia, New York University (NYU)
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Prison Borders: Activation of Love and Other Artifacts
Estibaliz de Miguel Calvo, Universidad del País Vasco
Maite Zubiaurre, University of California, Los Angeles
Moderator: María Josefina Saldaña-Portillo, New York University (NYU)
Maneuvering Absence: The Artistic Practice as “Space of Appearance”
Rian Lozano, Universidad Autónoma de México (UNAM)
Monday, January 07, 2019
Saturday, December 01, 2018
Robert Allen Papinchak wrote about The Taiga Syndrome for Mystery Scene Magazine:
If Paul Auster (The New York Trilogy) and Angela Carter (The Bloody Chamber) had a fictional child with the poetic vision of Anne Sexton (Transformations) it would be Cristina Rivera Garza’s remarkable, metaphysical detective novel, The Taiga Syndrome.
Aside from Earth’s oceans, the Taiga, a subarctic snow forest of birch, firs, and cedars, is the largest biome community on the planet. What if Hansel and Gretel met the Big Bad Wolf in those deep, dark woods?
That’s the existential premise of Garza’s fairy-tale-inspired search that blurs the boundaries of reality and fantasy, and it is where the unnamed detective narrator finds herself when she takes on the riddle of “the case of the mad couple of the Taiga.” In the story told over 22 brief (some as short as two pages), evocative chapters, the detective is hired by a man to find his second wife, who has run off with another man.
Her search begins when the detective, accompanied by a translator guide, wanders into the couple’s village, where she discovers a feral boy child outside their shack. Or is he a wolf? What follows are references to François Truffaut’s 1970 film L’Enfant Sauvage (a “peculiar romance ...established between the feral child...and the spectator”), as well as nods to “Little Red Riding Hood” and the aforementioned “Hansel and Gretel.”
The novel takes its title from an alleged disease that strikes the inhabitants of the Taiga, causing one to “suffer terrible anxiety attacks and make suicidal attempts to escape.” As the detective and the translator follow the crumbs of their investigation deeper into the Taiga, they find themselves in an alternate, surreal cosmos. Before the narrator’s trek into the tundra is over, readers will wonder if she, too, won’t succumb to The Taiga Syndrome’s fevered dream.
The Taiga Syndrome is a stunning philosophical meditation that transcends the standard detective story. As Rivera Garza writes, this is a “story about being in love,” admittedly a very strange love, as well as falling out of it. It is a postmodern fable as if written by Mary Shelley and The Brothers Grimm. It is an extraordinary novel that will get under your skin and make it crawl.
Read full article here.
Saturday, October 13, 2018
Friday, October 05, 2018
The resultant investigation is both bright light and shadow, a slow tightrope walk towards the cold, coniferous Taiga and its cache of strange secrets. Rivera Garza maintains resistance to the traditional fable. Routinely her detective-narrator breaks the spell of her story, reminding us of the act of her telling, through commentary on her word choice (“‘Breathlessly,’” she notes, “is an adverb with rhythm”) and the presence of a literal translator accompanying her through the forest. In their breadth and variety, Rivera Garza’s words—wonderfully translated by Suzanne Jill Levine and Aviva Kana— also resist fable. In the space of a single short chapter, the author moves from delicate and beautiful (“The booming of the sky made me tremble. The wing beats of birds with no names, that couldn’t have names. The violently clashing branches”) to strictly anatomical language (“The masculine hand on the lower edge of her jaw. Below, the submandibular glands, the submental ganglia. Underneath, the veins and facial arteries and stylohyoid muscles. . .” ) proving her’s is a book of raw nerves, exposed skin, but also hardness: sinew and bone. For the detective-narrator—and, indeed for us readers—Rivera Garza’s pages are these things and more. What she has created here is a diary of longing, anxiety, trauma; a record of the tension between our deepest, most personal forests and the ways that we choose to preserve them.
Read Elizabeth DeMeo´s full review here.
Monday, September 24, 2018
Monday, September 10, 2018
Thursday, September 06, 2018
Monday, August 20, 2018
Rivera Garza’s extraordinary, incantatory novel (following The Iliac Crest) is short but stunning, following a semi-retired detective on the trail of her client’s second ex-wife, who abandoned him for a younger man. Intermittent communications from the couple place them last at the Taiga, an immense, faraway, and largely inhospitable forest province that borders the tundra. People disappear from the Taiga at such a frequency that the phenomenon has a name—the Taiga Syndrome. The detective arrives at the Taiga village from where her client’s ex-wife last sent a telegram, bringing along a translator for help. Though she privately suspects she’s there on a wild goose chase, the detective nonetheless faithfully records all that she comes across, including unsettling interviews with little boys and stories of a wolf cub who seemed to take an interest in the ex-wife and her lover. “Hansel and Gretel” and “Little Red Riding Hood” are explicitly referenced throughout the book—the original, darker versions, of course. And there are some truly chilling aspects of the novel, including what the aforementioned little boy confesses he witnessed and a feral child the Taiga lumberjacks find in the forest. In the climax, the detective plunges deep into the Taiga in search of the ex-wife, and discovers where love must go before it can finally be considered over. As lyrical as a poem (“Look at this: your knees. They are used for kneeling upon reality, also for crawling, terrified. You use them to sit on a lotus flower and say goodbye to the immensity”) and as fantastic as a fairy tale, Rivera Garza’s gorgeous, propulsive novel will haunt readers long after it’s finished.
Full article here.
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
The Taiga Syndrome by Cristina Rivera Garza (translated by Suzanne Jill Levine and Aviva Kana): Marguerite Duras, Clarice Lispector, Juan Rulfo—comparisons to each have been made with regard to Cristina Rivera Garza’s novels, which are uncanny and unique, often exploring and crossing and investigating borders, including but not limited to “geopolitical borders and conceptual borders, borders of gender and genre, borders between life and death.” Rivera Garza has spent her life crossing borders, too. Born in Mexico, she lived between San Diego and Tijuana for a long while, and she now directs the first bilingual creative writing Ph.D. program at the University of Houston. The Taiga Syndrome is Rivera Garza’s second novel to be translated to English, a book which Daniel Borzutzky likens to “Apocalypse Now fused with the worlds of Clarice Lispector and Jorge Luis Borges.” Yowza. (Anne)
See "Most Anticipated: The Great Second-Half 2018 Book Preview" here
Saturday, June 16, 2018
Friday, June 08, 2018
Cristina Rivera Garza’s The Iliac Crest has been compared to a David Lynch film, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a circular, unbounded story where nothing is certain: gender, chronology, borders and death are all ambiguous, both for the protagonist and the reader.
One night, two women arrive, hours apart, at the unidentified narrator’s house. One is apparently an ex-lover, the other a stranger who claims to be Mexican author Amparo Dávila. Their appearance turns his world in on itself, as all aspects of his previously insular life are questioned. In his hunt to find out why they’ve chosen to cling to him, his masculinity is doubted to the point where he frequently has to check to remind himself of his gender, his memories blur and fade in and out of reality, and his actions are fueled by the concept of appearance, disappearance and stability.
Garza has a flair for describing intense pleasure: paragraphs where the narrator is offered first whisky, then – in later pages – a cigar are laced with a dizzying hedonism, made all the more sensuous when juxtaposed against the creeping terror of nearly every other scene. Similarly intense, the ocean’s constant presence as a character in its own right introduces the concept of borders and finality to the text, reflecting themes as relevant today as they were when the novel was first published nearly 20 years ago.
The true significance of each individual word is due to the novel’s translator, Sarah Booker. The ambiguity of translation allows themes and motifs to take on numerous façades: the term ‘turn back’ is one which recurs throughout, and it is beautifully unclear each time whether it should be read literally or metaphorically. This vagueness blurs the line between sanity and insanity even more in this fever dream of a story. [Kirstyn Smith]
Full text here.
Thursday, May 17, 2018
In the wake of the #MeToo movement, as new generations of women worldwide forcibly expose the cruel nature of the gender hierarchies (and binaries) that structure our daily lives, while many reject the possibility of being either physically disappeared or culturally erased, the decision to only publish women authors may appear unusual, but it is urgent. I am convinced that writing is a critical practice: true, bold, brave, formally adventurous writing should have the ability to change perceptions and experience; the disordering of the senses talked about by Rimbaud, inextricably linked with the disordering of everyday life as we know it. Producing unusualness, writing expands our sense of what is possible. Imaginable. Livable. Publishing women authors is not a minor component in this process.In Pentransmissions.com. See full text here.
Tal vez no fue una mera coincidencia entonces que inauguráramos el Doctorado en Escritura Creativa en Español en la Universidad de Houston sólo unos meses después de que Trump llegara al poder, en el semestre de otoño de 2017.
En Revista de la Universidad Nacional. Ver artículo completo aquí.