A couple of useful links in case you haven’t seen them yet:
– Interesting Story in the New York Times about Lilly Tuck and Paraguay. Tuck, author of The News From Paraguay, finally visited the country she wrote about in her award winning novel. But apparently not without some controversy:
No sooner had Ms. Tuck’s visit been announced, though, than a controversy erupted. A business consultant and rancher named Roberto Eaton wrote a letter to the foreign minister and other officials to protest what he saw as an embarrassingly meek response to an insult to Paraguay’s image and history.
“This book is disgusting, absolutely pornographic and a calumny,” Mr. Eaton said in an interview. “People can write whatever they want, but that doesn’t mean we should be honoring the author. Just because her novel won a prize does not make it something magnificent. Yes, the book puts Paraguay on the map, but this is hardly the way to do it.”
In an essay published last week by the country’s main newspaper, ABC Color, MarÃa Eugenia Garay, a poet, also accused Ms. Tuck of succumbing to the “typical Eurocentric vision” of Latin America.
The book depicts Paraguay, Ms. Garay complained, as a savage country “populated by uncouth and hairy aborigines, distinguishable from monkeys only by the fact that they know how to play the harp,” Paraguay’s national instrument.
– Beautiful Somewhere Else by Stephen Policoff is one of those books I keep promising to read but haven’t got around to yet. Further wheting my appetite is a review and interview posted at NewPages. The interview is particularly interesting as Stephen talks about his passion for writing and how he balanced teaching, family, and other life issues with his writing. I also found this give and take fascinating:
TD: Your protagonist Paul is provocative and compelling, endearing and irksome, transparent and opaque. Talk a bit about his “genesis” and development (and the “genesis” of the novel and its development). What did you admire about him when creating him? What surprised you? If you were forced to explain your protagonist in one word, what is the word?
SP: One word? I wrote a whole novel about him and you want me to sum him up in one word? Iâ€™ve been told Paul sounds a lot like me, and I certainly used a lot of my own verbal mannerisms in creating him, though he is a far darker, more unstrung person than I am. Unstrung might be a good word to define him. He is someone who yearns to be a person other than the one he turned out to be. He is a lovely soul in many ways, but a not entirely competent human being; he longs for that which is good and true and beautiful and yet it seems to elude him at every turn. Certainly, the desire (which I think most of us experience at one time or another) to escape from the prison of the persona we have created for ourselves was one of the central images for me in writing this, and the way we get caught in the mesh of our past experiences and canâ€™t wriggle loose. Edna St. Vincent Millay said, “Life is not one damn thing after another, life is the same damn thing over and over,” and the impulse to try and cut through that Gordion knot of repeated experience is maybe what pushed me along to write Beautiful Somewhere Else.