Sunday, 14 July 2013

my two worlds [sergio chejfec]

Chejfec's novel is a simple steam of consciousness tale.  It is narrated by someone who might well be the author himself. A man approaching 50 who is a writer, visiting a literary festival in a southern Brazilian town. He goes for a walk in a park in that town, a town he does not know, and the novel is the story of that walk. In reality, very little happens on this walk: it is in effect a coat-hanger, a literary device which allows him to present his observations and aperçus on this thing called life.  

There is nothing ground breaking about this.  The author's fluid prose follows in the footsteps of Bernhard, Robbe-Grillet or, more recently, Sebald or Teju Cole. The narrative consists of a sequence of underwhelming events, with no surprises. What this style of writing does achieve is that it takes the reader inside the writer's brain. Chejfec's brain, which I occupied whilst flying South from New York to Montevideo over the course of what seemed like a thousand years, was not an unpleasant to be, but at the same time, in spite of Vila-Matas' eulogistic preface, I cannot say that it was a particularly revelatory space either. 

No comments: