Locos: A Comedy Of Gestures
The Short Version: An emotional thrill-ride, novel in stories—stories where the characters rebel, invade other stories, appear under different names, and cause various sorts of mayhem, confusion, and headaches for the author/narrator(s). Nicholls is correct on this one (is there ever any doubt?) As the stories may be read in any order, there’s probably no such thing as a (view spoiler)[spoiler (hide spoiler)]. Read the Prologue; Mary McCarthy’s Afterword is optional.
The Long Version:
And so he did, this Spanish expatriate, writing in English, in New York, because he felt Spaniards wouldn't get it. Finished in 1928, it was eight years finding a publisher. And when it did, Felipe Alfau gave up writing and worked in a bank.
The book . . . Well, there's certainly an audience among my cherished goodreads friends. Appearing ...more
The novel has more in common with the ancient storytelling tradition, narrated in a fable-like voice, but Alfau is conscious of the limitations of this form and deploys footnotes ...more
“Bad writers were in the habit of coming to that café in quest of characters, and I came now and then among them. At that particular place one could find some very good secondhand bargains and also some fairly good, cheap, new material.”
Characters live separately from authors and they wish to be independent and uncontrolled…
“…that which is reality for humans is a hallucinati ...more
Locos, a book he apparently wrote in the late 1920s but only published in 1936, and no one paid any attention to it until more than 50 years later, anticipates trends that can be found in other major 20th century writers. In fact, there is no doubt that the structure of Cortazar’s Hopscot ...more
Cortazar published 62: A Model Kit in Spanish in 1968; the edition I read was translated in 1972. Alfau published Locos: A Comedy of Gestures in 1936 in English. Cortazar had Argentinean parents but was born in Europe then moved back to ...more
The best story from a pure writing standpoint was “Students.” This is one of the most realistic and yet most emotional portrayals of the fears and agonies of a child I have ever read. A (apparently upper middle class) boy approaching adolescence is sent to a parochial school in a small town. His teacher is brutal and cruel, and he must face terrifying dogs en route t ...more
Apart from a children's book that was also published in 1929, he didn't publish any other books for over 40 years. After Locos was republished in the 1980s, a novel called Chromos that he w ...more
It reminds me of Queneau's Flight of Icarus, in which the author's characters escape from the novel to engage in particularly Queneau-esque (Queneauvian?) antics, but Alfau not only prefigures Queneau (& Nabokov & a whole host of similarly-minded so-called "postmodern" authors), he tops him.
Thank god for Dalkey Archive.
later that day
i've discovered the need, rediscovered actually, the need to designate a new shelf, the mark of zero. well, upon my honor, i've been learning in my reads about this idea that i express as such, the mark of zero, this motif about disappearing. obviously, https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
in the first story here from alfau, identity, which says it all perhaps...remarkable too ...more
Locos: A Comedy of Gestures (American Literature is a collection of short stories. Thank goodness there was an editor of some kind this time unlike Chromos (American Literature and there are acutally short stories, not just one long r ...more
The result of this is a bunch of contradictory characters inconsequent as their author and just as clumsy in their performance. As their personality is a passing and unsteady thing that lasts at most a book’s length, they have lost respect for it and change it at will, because they have a faint idea that life is abrupt and unexpected.
Their knowledge of reality is vague and imprecise. Sometimes I have given a character the part of a brother or a son, and in the middle of the a ...more
Unique and recommended.