Thursday, October 12, 2017
Ann Mayhew on The Iliac Crest:
Cristina Rivera Garza’s novel The Iliac Crest is a mesmerizing and unsettling experience, hinting at a multitude of layers exploring gender, language, borders, Mexican female writers, and the politics of insanity. Told through a first-person male narrator—with a tone that perfectly imitates that of classic Gothic narratives, i.e. male, self-important and self-involved, sexist—The Iliac Crest is a mind-bending descent into madness resulting from the glimpse of a single hipbone.
The book’s unnamed narrator, a doctor at an isolated sanitarium, is visited one night by two women—one a stranger, who claims to be the Mexican writer Amparo Dávila, seeking something of hers at the sanitarium; the other, a former lover. The two women move in, create an intimacy which includes their own, secret language, and begin harassing the narrator, claiming to know his secret: that he is actually a woman. The man’s quest to defend his masculinity results in his own, eventual, placement in the insane asylum at which he works.
Symbolism abounds in the book; again, there great depths one could dig through, and The Iliac Crest could easily be read over and with new discoveries. Garza’s writing is gorgeous and precise, tying the various aspects of the book together into what is, at its core, a strange and unforgettable read.
Read The Cannon: Books to read in October here: http://www.therivetermagazine.com/the-canon-books-to-read-in-october/