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Navidad & Matanza

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3.34  ·  Rating Details ·  102 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
It’s the summer of 1999 when the two children of wealthy video game executive Jose Francisco Vivar, Alicia and Bruno, go missing in the beach town of Matanza. Long after their disappearance, the people of Matanza and the adjacent towns of Navidad consistently report sightings of Bruno—on the beach, in bars, gambling—while reports on Alicia, however, are next to none. And e ...more
Paperback, 92 pages
Published April 22nd 2014 by Open Letter Books (first published March 1st 2007)
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(showing 1-30)
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MJ Nicholls
Be sceptical about such hyperbole as “literary descendant of Roberto Bolaño”, meaning “expect him to mine similar territory with the same success as Bolaño”, and “expect this hyperbole to simultaneously launch and hound his career like an erogenously pleasing boil”, and “lower your expectations as to this being sufficiently Bolaño-like to feed your insatiable Puma-strength cravings for new Bolaño”. This novella offers up a novel-game, containing 33/100 chapters, poking the reader into filling in ...more
jeremy
Sep 08, 2014 jeremy rated it really liked it
Shelves: translation, fiction
it is a game. not a novel. there is no story. only rules.
a metafictional, heady tale of disappeared children, a novel-game coauthored by laboratory subjects, and a hatred/fear-inducing drug called hadón, navidad & matanza (navidad y matanza) is the first of chilean-born writer carlos labbé's works to be published in english. excerpted previously in granta's the best of young spanish-language novelists 2010 issue (as "the girls resembled each other in the unfathomable"), navidad & matan
...more
Chad Post
Oct 27, 2012 Chad Post rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A group of scientists hired to work on "hadon," a drug bringing about an "ecstasy of hate," also write a story, a novel-game, about a journalist investigating the disappearance of two kids during a crazy secret-society vacation in Navidad and Matanza. This is a book of 100 chapters, of which only 33 are included (the chapter numbers jump--as does the content--from 1 to 2 to 7 to 10 . . . in a ways that's evocative and curious) that toys with expectations in a way that rivals Cortazar, Bolano, et ...more
Philip Snyder
Jan 28, 2014 Philip Snyder rated it really liked it
A star is rising in Latin American literature, and its name is Carlos Labbe. In Navidad & Matanza, translated with wicked brio by Will Vanderhyden, the Chilean novelist offers up a tasty confection of good old-fashioned postmodern gestures, brightly refreshed so all is new again.

Many of the novel’s materials will strike a familiar chord with readers of Vladimir Nabokov, Julio Cortazar, or Georges Perec (among others). Alicia Vivar, a sampled and remixed Lolita, has gone missing, along with
...more
Aaron (Typographical Era)
Apr 22, 2014 Aaron (Typographical Era) rated it really liked it
In the summer of 1999 two teenage siblings, the children of a successful game designer and a journalist, disappear from the Chilean coastal village of Matazana. Over the ensuing years countless sightings of the eldest, Bruno (19) are reported in the nearby plateau commune of Navidad, while almost no mention is made of his younger sister Alicia (14). What really happened to the pair all those years ago? One journalist seems determined to expose the truth behind their vanishing act, but he quickly ...more
Phil James
Received as Goodreads Giveaway.
"A literary descendent of Roberto Bolaño..."
I didn't really like the Robert Bolano I read; I felt it was pretentious and deliberately obscure. I just finished "Infinite Jest" by David foster Wallace, and that could be similarly accused, but with the key difference, I was drawn in by the characters.
This book is an intricate puzzle, a glittering jewel of compact post-modern techniques that is admirable but ultimately empty because I wasn't attached to any character.
...more
Claire
Feb 09, 2014 Claire rated it it was ok
I received Navidad & Matanza as part of a Goodreads giveaway.

In 1999, the two teenage children of video game magnate Jose Francisco Vivaro go missing while on vacation. A journalist and a team of his fellow subjects explore the mysterious possibilities and possible whereabouts of the two young people as they await their own fate, trapped in some sort of dystopian research study.

I wanted to like this novella--the premise sounded fascinating. However, I think it was trying to do too much in to
...more
Brooks
Feb 10, 2014 Brooks rated it really liked it
Metafiction. Labbe keeps tearing the story down by letting us peek at exactly which parts are unreliable (all of them?), but each time he pulls back and convinces us this is the real thing. A short book, but one that requires some thought once you've finished. I was intrigued throughout.
Chris
You know those experimental/gamey novels? Yeah this is one. It doesn't quite work.
Diandra Rodriguez
Mar 06, 2014 Diandra Rodriguez rated it liked it
Shelves: books-books
I received this novel as a Goodreads First Read prize. My rating is more towards a 3.25 or 3.5 out of five stars.

Which story is true: that of the trapped test subjects writing a novel-game as they await an unknown fate, or that of the journalist on the trail of disappearances? This experimental mystery centers around the mysterious rage drug “hadón,” which gives it a vague genre edge. Aside from the deadly fits of fury, other desires amongst characters are comparably repressed, hinted at with im
...more
Nyuel
Feb 09, 2014 Nyuel rated it really liked it
I won this book as part of the Goodreads First Read program. This has no impact on the following review.

At 92 pages, Navidad & Matanza is a short read. However, it does not mean that this book is a fast or easy read. At about four pages in I realized that I'd have to read actively rather than passively, and I found myself constantly pausing and taking time out to reevaluate what I thought was happening. The numerous plot lines (that include a pair of missing teenagers from a family that seem
...more
Nancy
Apr 09, 2015 Nancy rated it liked it
Shelves: latin
Navidad y Matanza warrants a second read in Spanish. Although I have no reason to doubt the quality of Will Vanderhyden translation, there must be more in Carlos Labbé's original prose to flesh out the well composed wreckage that is this post modern, metafictional work. I too was reminded of Nabakov's Lolita, which I read so many years before I could fully understand it. After reading this book, it's as if I have to live more before I can fully appreciate the destructive and corrosive happenings ...more
Grace C
Mar 09, 2014 Grace C rated it really liked it
I received a copy of "Navidad & Matanza" for free via Goodreads, and at first I have to admit that I was sceptical. The idea of a book that "****'s with your head" wasn't initially appealing, and the intentional skipping of chapters struck me as odd.

However, I gave it a chance. And I am glad that I did. As I progressed further into the novel, I found it to be gripping, complex and exciting. If you like mystery, intelligence and an interesting plot, this text will not disappoint.

Chad Post
Nov 12, 2013 Chad Post rated it it was amazing
DISCLAIMER: I am the publisher of the book and thus spent approximately two years reading and editing and working on it. So take my review with a grain of salt, or the understanding that I am deeply invested in this text and know it quite well. Also, I would really appreciate it if you would purchase this book, since it would benefit Open Letter directly.
Jeanette
Jun 30, 2014 Jeanette rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
This book is a puzzle and the reader needs to figure out how the pieces fit together. And some of the pieces are missing. I really appreciate what the author is doing, but I didn't quite connect with the book as much as I would have hoped. Still, it was a compelling read with very interesting characters. Perhaps if I read it again ...
Andrea
Mar 19, 2016 Andrea rated it really liked it
Wow! I've never read a book like this! The plot of the book seemed rather simple at the beginning - two rich kids that disappear at the beach but that is the start of it.. Throw in some lab rats, experiments, parties aka like 'benign man festival', illicit drugs and Boris Real... I enjoyed it as each page was something unexpected. I think this book might be a modern classic in the making!
Dan
Nov 16, 2014 Dan rated it really liked it
I took a little too long from start to finish--the book definitely deserves (and can be read in) one sustained sitting to appreciate how the disjointed parts of the narrative fit together emotionally (and narratively?). I look forward to rereading.
Jeanette
Feb 03, 2014 Jeanette rated it liked it
Everything in me wanted to like this book. The entire idea behind it was something I haven't really encountered in books. Unfortunately, it was a little too confusing at times and just plain hard to follow.
Nancy
Apr 25, 2014 Nancy rated it did not like it
By far the stupidest book I've ever read. Either that, or I am too ignorant to get why it is considered worth translating into English. There is no THERE, there. Good thing it was only 92 pages and they left out 2/3 of the chapters. A just plain strange book.
Ferris
May 23, 2014 Ferris rated it it was ok
Well....I am all in favor of experimental formats, stream of consciousness narration, and other non-traditional formats, however, this novel failed to engage me at all. It is the first Open Letter Publication that I just did not like. Oh well!
Abel
Jul 21, 2015 Abel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Interesante, pero me decepcionó. Pensé que habría más "libro-juego" para el lector en vez que del propio autor. Cosa extraña, sólo el final me gustó.
Juane Pizarro
Mar 08, 2015 Juane Pizarro rated it really liked it
Very fun, a very original novel.
Will
Dec 23, 2015 Will rated it really liked it
"The only way to save the head is to train it. In the Lacanian sense of the term, Montes would say, because, he claims, the mind is only language.
Or an invention of language."
Tara
Review to follow.
Mary Jane
Feb 07, 2014 Mary Jane rated it liked it
multiple perspectives on one 'story' all told by the same narrator--experimental yet readable--probably warrants another reading for deeper understanding ...
Hugo Rios-cordero
Algunas ideas interesantes pero me perdió en ocasiones. Mi interés fluctuaba.
Tom
Dec 15, 2014 Tom rated it really liked it
With the obscure menace of Bolaño and the sense of unwinding improvisation of Aira, Labbé's novel traces the mysterious disappearance of two children of wealthy parents.
Greg McConeghy
Greg McConeghy rated it liked it
Apr 28, 2014
Arielle
Arielle rated it liked it
Feb 24, 2015
Jacob Wren
Jacob Wren rated it it was amazing
May 04, 2014
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