The Museum of Eterna's Novel (The First Good Novel)
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The Museum of Eterna's Novel (The First Good Novel)

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  162 ratings  ·  33 reviews
The Museum of Eterna’s Novel (The First Good Novel) is the very definition of a novel written ahead of its time. Macedonio (known to everyone by his unusual first name) worked on this novel in the 1930s and early ’40s, during the heyday of Argentine literary culture, and around the same time that At Swim-Two-Birds was published, a novel that has quite a bit in common with...more
Paperback, 238 pages
Published February 1st 2010 by Open Letter (first published 1967)
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Zone by Mathias ÉnardDeath in Spring by Mercè RodoredaThe Museum of Eterna's Novel by Macedonio FernándezMaidenhair by Mikhail ShishkinEurope in Sepia by Dubravka Ugrešić
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Community Reviews

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s.penkevich
Nov 13, 2012 s.penkevich rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of Borges and Metafiction
Recommended to s.penkevich by: Vilma
He who imagines will never know non-being.

Jorge Luis Borges, the friend and protégé of Macedonio Fernández (1874-1952), once wrote of that his mentor ‘is metaphysics, is literature. Whoever preceded him might shine in history, but they were all rough drafts of Macedonio.’ Despite leaving such a legacy and impression upon Borges, The Museum of Eterna’s Novel (The First Good Novel) started in 1925, was not published until after Macedonio's death. However, this book, far ahead of its time, proved...more
Mike Puma
May 22, 2012 Mike Puma rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fewer than the few

First and Foremost: Let it here be known that any previous suggestions, recommendations and/or encouragements to procure and read Macedonio’s (he is usually referred to by his first name) perfect novel are hereby rendered null and void, rescinded, and discouraged. This novel is, in fact, one tremendous Mind Fuck. Challenging. Easily set aside. Hard to pick up and resume. Confusing. And yet, it is: exactly what the numerous prologues claim it will be.

Fully half of the novel is comprised of prolo

...more
Greg
I felt very ambivalent for the book itself, but I am happy the book exists.

Today while dealing once again with the results of my colossal irresponsibility I spent quite a bit of time thinking about what I would say here. I didn't really like the book. I liked some of the prologues, and bits and pieces of the novel, but as a whole the book didn't work for me. I think it's a failure, a very ambitious failure. Just because the book is a failure though doesn't mean that I hated it, or that I feel it...more
Vilma
As a reader I should not be deceived by "imitations of reality" (or should it be "limitations"?) in which The Museum of Eterna´s Novel falls ill or (un-) realistic, neither should I question the inconsistencies, nor submit anything that corresponds with those what is supposed to be "familiar". I shall not fall into the illusion that there is a logical intrinsication into a literary text which explains clear imbalances into which the characters and also the author are falling, even there is a dee...more
Ben Winch
All the characters are under obligation to dream of being, which is their proper way of being, inaccessible to living people, and the only genuine stuff of Art.
I like Macedonio Fernandez for sentences like this. For concepts of fiction and the novel that find accord in me. For a way of thinking about fiction that seems to me incisive and imaginative.
Ever since I’ve been an author I’ve looked on in envy at the audience there is for auto accidents. I sometimes dream that certain passages in the no
...more
Jim Elkins
It is amazing to “discover” such an important novel: Fernández was a friend, mentor, inspiration, and precursor to Borges. This novel, the work of over 25 years, is one of the first and still one of the most complex anti-novels ever written. I am delighted to have discovered it only 60 years late. (It was written between 1925 and 1952.)

I have found that in reading and re-reading The Museum of Eterna’s Novel (The First Good Novel) (and re-reading is the only way to read: the novel itself theorize...more
Jasmine
"The Museum of Eterna's Novel" is a novel that doesn't want to begin because in our beginning is our end"

This is possibly the best blurb ever.

First I wanted to finish this before greg, then I was really hoping that greg would review it before me.

I am not sure if I got the first one, I didn't get the second one.

I finished the last sentence of this book as the subway doors were opening to take me home, this seems mildly important.

I am reasonably sure that whoever found this manuscript forgot t...more
Marie
Apr 14, 2014 Marie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Cortázar fans, patient readers, people with no expectations about a book whatsoever
It's so strange that having been so influential for Borges, Macedonio Fernández is one of the most overlooked names in our literature, at least in the popular knowledge the average argentine reader is supposed to have.

Being mostly reminiscent of Cortázar's style for me, this book has gone through the same path of what I'm enjoying the most lately. Writings that defy the reader's conception of fiction, and that do not leave everything told so one can sleep quietly at night, having understood.

Now...more
Ferris
This is the perfect book for the reader who loves abstract art, who trusts that meaning and beauty are in there somewhere if only one sticks with it....this is a novel about a ranch gnamed "the Novel".......this is a novel with 50+ prologues.....not a typo...50+ prologues. Thisis a novel for the reader who revels in metaphysics......the metaphysics of the written word. Did I like it? I don't know. Would I recommend it? I don't know. Was it a memorable intellectual experience? Absolutely!
Jacob Wren
Macedonio Fernández writes:


It’s very subtle and patient work, getting quit of the self, disrupting interiors and identities. In all my writing I’ve only achieved eight or ten minutes in which two or three lines disrupted the stability, the unity of someone, even at times, I believe, disrupting the self-sameness of the reader. Nevertheless, I still believe that Literature does not exist, because it hasn’t dedicated itself solely to the Effect of dis-identification, the only thing that would justi...more
Dimitri Anastasopoulos
Relatively unknown in the USA, he's one of the most underrated writers I've encountered in many years. I find generally that most serious American readers are pretty well up on the names of top European or world writers, but for some reason South and Central America is forgotten. For every Bolano, Marquez and Llosa, there are Macedonio Fernandez's, Severo Sarduy's, Osman Lins's, Fernando del Paso's and Nelida Pinon's. Maybe Clarice Lispector broke through.

I'm responding this way because I'm try...more
Hernán M.
"No me queda más que proverbializar mi desventura, diciendo:

Lo malo es haber pensado
después de haber hecho el mal
".

¿Cómo Macedonio Fernández logró con tan pocas páginas dislocar todos los fundamentos de la narrativa? Los prólogos y la novela en sí (si se le puede llamarle así) son pequeños tratados que desbordan certeramente los mecanismos recurrentes de las novelas, bien sea al deslindar al autor del Autor, al reconceptualizar la noción de personaje (tanto nominativamente como en su ejecución t...more
Tom Lichtenberg
what an extraordinary book - a self-decribed open-source novel written nearly a century before the very concept of open-source was developed. consisting mainly of assorted introductions to itself, this book would be post-modern even now. and very funny to boot.
Sara
Lettore saltato ( insaputo continuato ) Confido che non avrò lettore continuato. Sarebbe colui che potrebbe causare il mio fallimento e spogliarmi della celebrità che più o meno inabilmente cerco di trafugare per qualcuno dei miei personaggi. E questa di fallire è un’esibizione che non fa bene all’età. Mi rimetto al lettore saltato. Ecco che hai letto tutto il mio romanzo senza saperlo, sei diventato lettore continuato e insaputo raccontandoti tutto disordinatamente e prima del romanzo. Il letto...more
Julia Boechat Machado
All my reviews are currently in Library Thing. I'm no longer updating my GR since it was bought by Amazon.
Jim
Fascinating meditation on the novel and its limits by Borges's mentor. Review forthcoming...
Kristin
Ok, officially, I did not finish this book. I survived the 50+ prologues and finally got to the "novel" and was bored out of my mind!! The writing is pretentious. It tries to hard. And I'm not ashamed to admit that I didn't "get it". I'm disappointed because it sounded really interesting, but I just didn't have the patience to wade through all his "look at me, I'm a deep thinking writer/artist and you should appreciate me because I talk about Art in every prologue."

I am sad that I gave up on it...more
Elizabeth Pyjov
“The Museum of Eterna’s Novel” by Macedonio Fernández is engaging and hilarious, light-hearted and profound. The one non-contradictory aspect of the work is its attempt to win the reader’s time, attention, praise, and awe—a goal at which it succeeds beautifully. As the author himself describes it, “This will be the novel that’s thrown violently to the floor most often, and avidly taken up again just as often. What author can boast of that?” The novel is written in a unique form, consisting of di...more
Rob T
Jun 01, 2010 Rob T rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
The Museum of Eterna's Novel is much more fun to read about than it is to read. Macedonio wrote a novel that's half prologues (more than twenty of them!), half an attempt to make the reader feel their own character-ness.

The resulting novel is playful and it feels half-serious throughout--Macedonio is making a point but having fun doing it. Unfortunately, the text becomes a slog at times. Sometimes it takes the tone of a philosophy text or a dense piece of criticism, but it's deliberately nonsens...more
Rodolfo
Certainly not a book for fans of plots (as there isn't much of one), or those who dislike self-referential works (as you're sometimes literally in a conversation between characters in the novel, the Author, and the Reader).

The "Novel" is really a long meditation on life, love, and the process of creating fiction with liberal doses of philosophy and metaphysics tossed in for good measures, plus enough humor and irreverence to keep the proceedings from becoming too pretentious or pompous.

Certain...more
Marc
A wonderful sense of humor. A master of the authorial interruption, the infinite regression of prologues, the story of the unstory. Delightful turns of phrase sprinkled with the hint of characters to come, characters that were, characters that aren't. Is this review helpful to you? Probably not. What can I say? I've been unwritten through the reading of this. Meh with whipcream and a cherry on top.
João Camilo
I suspect that we do a mistake. This is not a book. It is more a work. Created by Borges. He suggested us this romance, he suggested us the geniality of Macedonio. Years latter, when the pappers of Macedonio were scrutinized, the specialists all knew Borges. It is only possible to read this with Borges previous guidance. The geniality of Macedonio is Borges.
Angeli
Nov 25, 2010 Angeli is currently reading it
This book's got 50 prologues, holy shit, but it's amazing and extremely unique. I love Macedonio's philosophies of nonexistence and immortality, and the big question of risking love in the certainty of death. His ideas can be confusing but they do make sense; I'm excited to finish this book.
Robert Wechsler
Nov 24, 2013 Robert Wechsler marked it as unfinished
Shelves: latinam-lit
The idea of a novel with dozens of prologues seems like fun, but I didn’t find the execution fun or, for the most part, wise. Such a book need not be well written, but it has to be engaging, and I wasn’t engaged by the ideas or the language or the humor.
Erwin Maack
revolucionário. um livro que contém todos os outros. exige um grande equilíbrio do leitor para não levado na voragem em que se transforma a história. e ainda assim não saberemos jamais se o conseguimos.
Lewis Manalo
I'm not sure I technically finished this book, but as I read/am reading this in the prescribed "skip-around" method, I can say without guilt that I found/am finding this book to be a lot of fun. Meta-fun.
Kit
alternately amusing, deep, and tedious. I liked that over half the book consists of more than 50 prefaces. "I Can't Get Started"....
David
Jul 10, 2014 David marked it as to-read
Shelves: fiction
I had to return it to ILL before the fines got to high, but from what I read, I really enjoyed. Future purchase for sure.
David Gallin-Parisi
Post everything. Hilarious and loving. Recommended for Borges fans and people who want an extremely meta love story.
Meg
I'm sure this was very clever. Too much so, in fact, for the likes of me. I was never any good at metaphysics...
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Macedonio Fernández was an Argentine writer, humorist, and philosopher. His writings included novels, stories, poetry, journalism, and works not easily classified. He was a mentor to Jorge Luis Borges and other avant-garde Argentine writers. Seventeen years of his correspondence with Borges was published in 2000. He also published poetry, including "Creía yo" ("I believed").
More about Macedonio Fernández...
No toda es vigilia la de los ojos abiertos Una novela que comienza Papeles de Recienvenido y Continuación de la nada Manera de una psique sin cuerpo Adriana Buenos Aires: Última Novela Mala

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