“A book is a slow, unavoidable catastrophe,” we read in a late entry to On Elegance While Sleeping, Viscount Lascano Tegui’s fictional diary. The book is. Emilio Lascano Tegui is the author of On Elegance While Sleeping ( avg rating, ratings, 30 reviews, published ). Lascano Tegui de is the author of Muchacho de San Telmo. ( avg rating, 1 rating, 0 reviews, published ) and El Libro Celeste ( avg rating.
|Published (Last):||8 July 2016|
|PDF File Size:||18.8 Mb|
|ePub File Size:||1.15 Mb|
|Price:||Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]|
The sinister novel is structured as a fictional diary that culminates in a horrific final act of violence, but the tension builds slowly as the diarist occupies himself with elements of the everyday: Yet the playful note struck in the epigraph does not disappear from the rest of the book, despite the descent into madness portrayed.
Emilio Lascano Tegui’s “On Elegance While Sleeping – Words Without Borders
He left Argentina for Europe, while his protagonist only leaves Bougival during a brief stint in the army, but both are obsessed with the possibility of human transformation. Lascano Tegui assigned himself his aristocratic title and took on an exaggerated persona, just as his fictional diarist as a child habitually changes his appearance: By setting the diary several decades in the past—though the specific dates remain uncertain, the events seem to take place at some point in the latter half of the 19th century—Lascano Tegui uses his portrait of progressive mental and moral degeneration to teugi the much further advanced infirmity of the modern world.
Or does it lie ahead of us still? Unlike other works of the period, which were so often preoccupied with speed or vigor or the urban landscape as a metaphor for human progress, this little diary has more in common with earlier Wildean decadence: Like adults bereft of the elegant obliviousness of youth, civilizations seem to be doomed to ungraceful aging, and infancy only presages death: And although the narrator is a misfit whose maladaptation to the world climaxes in an act of vicious cruelty, he nevertheless wonders—plaintively?
His vision of a fragile, imperfect race of perverts and criminals is less an affectionate embrace for flawed humanity, lqscano an affirmation of solidarity in folly, than it is an accusing finger, an indictment of our rush to condemn others without examining our own failings.
But it is the humdrum of everyday life that is its greatest failing. The protagonist criticizes art for trying to disguise the tedium and mediocrity of life, for dressing it up in dynamic or sentimental clothes that obscure trite reality. This makes life itself an artistic project of sorts.
Indeed, his narration of his life in diary form is extremely self-conscious, not just in the usual diary-appropriate soul-baring ways but also as a literary endeavor. And he spends much of the latter part of his musings planning to write a book, hoping that art will be a way out of his own illness and unhappiness.
How lucky we are to have the chance to read this collection of brain-dandruff, marvelously translated by Idra Novey. Lasano is a strange and menacing book, and the mischievous juxtaposition of irony and humor with malice and depravity makes it a compelling read.
It offers an intriguing look at a somewhat obscure Argentinean avant-garde novel and an interesting counterpoint to other literature of the period. Andrea Rosenberg is a literary translator from the Spanish and Portuguese.
Dictator Chronicles by Alfredo Iriarte. On Lessons Learned and Not Learn It is hardly necessary that we remind our American readers that for the free world’s great, lon The novel takes the structure of what might be termed a “false” autobiography of the dictator, Kjell Askildsen, Selected Stories Here, at the midpoint of his narrative, Bernhard, the affectless and purposeless protagonist of