I have no frigging clue what I just read, but it was a beautiful ride. The prose was lovely, and I think if I were better educated about Mexican literature I would have understood more. Mar 07, Sam rated it liked it.
This novel seemed too ambiguous too me without a better understanding of the author's intent in alluding to Amparo Davila. View all 3 comments. Utterly wonderful.
The story is enigmatic and surreal, but the writing is elegant and lucid. I look forward to reading more work by Rivera Garza. Nov 08, Yvonne rated it really liked it. May 09, Julia O'Connell rated it it was ok. Despite the book being published by Feminist Press, I was struggling through the whole thing to find any feminist elements I could recognize.
The main character is a man who seems unable to relate to women as people. And then there are a few female characters whom the narrator completely objectifies and feels superior to. And then there was the whole thing about gender. Still not sold. Perhaps this book can be appreciated more by those who are more familiar with the works of Amparo Davila. Apr 08, Laura rated it it was ok Shelves: magical-realism-surrealism. This novel made me uncomfortable, but not in a way that the book was meant to.
Instead, it felt like author insert fanfiction, and I'm not even familiar with the author whose style Garza was trying to ape. Also, I'm not crazy about feminism writing, and didn't know it was a feminist novel until I actually opened it up.
I'd recommend almost every other Latin American magical realism novel over this. Jan 16, Nancy Zigler rated it it was ok. It felt more like a philosophical thought experiment than a work of fiction—I can place it in a respected Mexican canon of literature with Cortazar, and his experimentation with form and fluidity of voice, style, etc. This was my intro to Rivera Garza, and it stands out from a lot of other recent Latin American fiction I have read.
Many authors I have read, like Santiago Gamboa, place their meditations about citizenship and borders in a historical context. On the other hand, what came to mind most frequently when I was reading this brief and piercing novel was Kafka. It has a dream-like quality that reminded me of The Castle, by ol' Franz although this novel was finished and Kafka's wasn't. The action takes This was my intro to Rivera Garza, and it stands out from a lot of other recent Latin American fiction I have read.
Pasher History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The action takes places in a "no place" next to the sea and, while government and bureaucracy play roles in the story, the landscape remains mostly anonymous. A blurb on the back and the afterword by the esteemed Elena Poniatowska call the country Mexico, and one of the characters is a fictionalized version of a Mexican author, but I also like the idea of this narrative unfolding in a place that could be anywhere. The story works well either way. The protagonist dwells on the ocean, walking by it and thinking about it, which leads to some beautiful passages.
Now I want to delve more into obscure Mexican authors. The sanitarium in which the protagonist works raises a whole bunch of questions that are never answered, only slyly pointed out. It is up to the reader, mulling over the novel afterward, to consider the questions of borders, health, and humanity that arise throughout this book. I'm not entirely sure what I'm supposed to do with the gender questioning that goes on throughout and is alluded to by the title. I feel like I'm missing something, but that happens sometimes. I read Booker's translation, instead of the original Spanish, and it's not a decision I regret in the least.
Bad translations can deaden poetic language, but that was not the case here. I couldn't put this novel down. Booker renders the story artfully in English, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. I suppose there is no need to explain any of this to the men and women who have done it. I suppose all of you remember, just as you moved backward, as you crossed the borders of the real without realizing it, that it was impossible to close your eyes. For all the terror, for all the commotion, for all the unease you feel, you cannot close your eyes.
You see voraciously. You cannot stop seeing" This novel, first published in the early s by Mexican writer Cristina Rivera Garza, has attracted renewed attention as a result of its translation into English. I found it a puzzling book, though one that I'm pleased to have read.
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A doctor, working at a hospital for the terminally ill, opens the door of his house on a remote stretch of coastline one stormy night. Outside stands a young woman with enormous eyes, her iliac crest jutting seductively. She enters the doctor's house, and stays. He This novel, first published in the early s by Mexican writer Cristina Rivera Garza, has attracted renewed attention as a result of its translation into English.
The name itself is that of a real-life Mexican novelist. The narrator visits the 'real' Amparo in an effort to disentangle the mysteries surrounding his guest. Meanwhile, the false Amparo forges a relationship with the narrator's former girlfriend, la Traicionada the betrayed woman , and together they speak a private language.
A lost manuscript is involved, the blurring of gender lines, a rather melancholy romp in a northern city with two women from the hospital administration, a rebellious inmate alleged to have thrown himself through the hospital windows to his death, and the enigmatic director of the hospital who can speak the private language of the doctor's house guests. This seems to be a story about gender roles, about boundaries and identities and their fluidity, about communication and its absence, about the mysterious business of life and of death.
I enjoyed the journey - the novel is often a pleasure to read, engrossing and challenging with its skewed look at reality which occasionally for me had echoes of writers like Bioy Casares. But overall I found it rather too opaque, at times with overly-mystical threads. Its plethora of disparate narrative strands compete for attention, and there are rather too many portentous symbols - from the ocean to pelicans in flight, to a swimming pool, to a tree that is bound up with the narrator in some way.
The proliferation of ideas, themes and images somehow dissipated the novel's undoubted dreamlike energy and grace. Still, an interesting and worthwhile read. The Iliac Crest is one of the most ambiguous books that I have ever read. It focusses on the story of an unnamed narrator whose gender is constantly in question. For although they, themselves identify as a man, there are other characters who only ever refer to them as "miss".
With this level of uncertainty, we really begin to question the purpose of gender, and what makes it what it is. In an uncertain world filled with false identities, The Iliac Crest is certainly a book to spark your imaginati The Iliac Crest is one of the most ambiguous books that I have ever read. In an uncertain world filled with false identities, The Iliac Crest is certainly a book to spark your imagination.
It may seem a little abstract at times, but that is a part of its attraction; the not knowing is, in a way, what causes you to know. I also appreciated the world-building in this novel, for although it is an ambiguous story, the writing is not at all confusing. It's a book that I did not expect to like; my least favourite book to this day is Virginia Woolf's The Waves, an extremely abstract novel.
The Real Truth Behind Coats of Arms and Family Crests
Nevertheless, there was some level of straightforwardness that appealed to me in this book, throwing me into the uncertainties without ever leaving me overwhelmed. Having said that, this book will NOT be everyone - it's complex, and it takes quite a while for the story to sink in, so if you'd rather just be a passive reader, and not have to work too hard to understand a book, then this probably wouldn't be for you. Dec 10, Heather rated it really liked it. One of those rare books that you come across with no introduction at all and instantly love; playing with time, memory, gender and the very concepts of truth and identity, this is an exhilarating read.
That all sounded pretty exciting to me but, alas, I didn't end up loving this book. I think the problem is just as likely to be with me as with it: maybe I wasn't in the right mood for this kind of vague and allusive story; maybe I would have appreciated it more if I knew more about Mexican history and literature; maybe I like weird books more when I feel like I have more to somehow hold onto. Which isn't to say I didn't like this book, just that I didn't quite connect with it as much as I'd hoped to. The start of the book felt promising: an unnamed narrator thinks back to a stormy night, a knock at his door.
He'd been waiting for an ex-lover to arrive, but the woman outside is a stranger.
Crest of the Stars - Wikipedia
It's raining; she's soaked; he lets her in. He recounts their meeting as a moment in which he saw her and wanted her, but then backtracks: "that's not how it went," he says: "I did not feel desire but fear" 6. And then the narrator's ex arrives, and promptly faints. The narrator worries about the weird situation at home: he wonders if the stranger and his ex know each other; if they're plotting against him somehow. He worries more when he realizes the two of them are speaking what seems to be a private language: it's nothing he's ever heard or can make sense of.
The plot gets more complicated, with a missing manuscript and questions of identity and disappearance; in addition to saying she knows him from when he was a tree, the stranger also tells the narrator she knows his secret.