"The function of a novel is precisely that: to name what is lost, to replace the void with an imaginary archive."
Where has this novel been? It came out in 2016, and I haven't heard/read a thing about it; I just happened to pick it up at the library. Mexican author Alvaro Enrigue's debut is a dazzling, darkly funny, and post-modern fun house of a book, effortlessly blending fact and fiction, history and fantasy, and jumping around through time. Sometimes these pomo affectations can be off-putting or pretentious, but Enrigue, working in the rich Borges/Calvino/Eco vein, has an original take on both technique and content. Here are some things this book has: a tennis match in the 16th century involving the artist Carvaggio, Cortez and his Mayan lover, the author writing this book, prostitutes, priests, conquistadors, and sex. Very close to a masterpiece of our time. "As I write, I don't know what this book is about."
What a trip it takes you on- from the conquest of Mexico to the popes of renaissance Europe, King Henry VIII, tennis and a ball made from Anne Boleyn's hair, all woven together with a match between Caravaggio and a Spanish poet, the outcome of which isn't revealed until the end. Something to savor and enjoy throughout
Very funny, and fast paced, if odd.
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