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MochaMike

MochaMike

Currently reading

Swann's Way
Marcel Proust, Lydia Davis
Mating
Norman Rush
The Unknown University
Roberto Bolaño, Laura Healy
Postmodern Belief: American Literature and Religion since 1960 (20/21)
Amy Hungerford
The Fun Stuff: And Other Essays
James Wood
The Museum of Eterna's Novel (The First Good Novel) - Macedonio Fernández, Margaret Schwartz, Adam Thirlwell

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and read Macedonio’s (he is usually referred to by his first name) perfect novel are hereby rendered null and void, rescinded, and discouraged.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 prologues: to critics, to characters, to characters which will not appear in the novel, to readers, to readers who skip around, to ‘readers who will perish if they don’t know what the novel is about,’ and more, many more. The prologues pave the way for the novel: told as if an allegory, or with the feel of an allegory—characters with names such as Maybegenius, Sweetheart, the Lover, the Reader, along with more concrete names like the President and Eterna share time at an estancia (country estate) called La Novella. Their actions are largely limited to discussions and a brief episode wherein Buenos Aires is conquered. Discussions are concerned with being, reality, eternity, death, automatism, metaphysics, art, beauty, suicide, avoidance of pain, the reality of characters, whether characters can rebel and write their own stories—all the usual stuff.

With your endulgence, consider what other writers have said concerning this novel:

Cormac McCarthy: Macedonio could spend a little quality time outback with the Judge.

Enrique Vila-Matas: (87) No.

Jorge Luis Borges: Oy!

David Markson: Macedonio lived the life of a hermit before moving in with his son. Macedonio.

My Neighbor: Aren’t you done with that yet?

Well, I guess I am done with it—to the extent one can be done with it. It has this compelling read-me-again thing going for it. Frightening. And yet, I might. I liked this one, regardless of how it sounds above. I can’t recommend it to many—a few of you [there are a few of you I’d like to compel to read this, but I’d rather continue to get along with you]. Special thanks to David for enabling this read; sending the Judge your way.