By Mario Bellatin
Translated from the Spanish by poet and translator David Shook
A novel about the power of literature and the tension of authorship, from literary master Mario Bellatin.
Publication Date: May 30, 2023
Two siblings live in a psychiatric center. Their communication is complicated: he is deaf and she partially hears thanks to an operation. Using a small computer that she always wears around her neck, they manage to overcome this obstacle. But it is not the only one: the colony is frequently attacked by stray dogs that often kill its inhabitants and devour them.
A failed writer arrives one day to give a literary seminar based on Lydia Davis' novel The Cows. The man, a certain Bellatin, proposes to the inmates that they write a book together in a week, a joint work that looks as if it was written by a single person. This story, written by her and read by him, moves between different worlds and is at the same time fiction and reality, an incest, a besieged ship: whatever the inhabitants of the psychiatric center imagine, thanks to the power of literature.
Mario Bellatin (born in Mexico, 1960) has already gained a status as one of the greatest living Mexican writers. Bellatin, who has been called “controversial,” “a cult writer,” and an “eccentric public figure,” is the author of dozens of intricate, compelling, and absolutely unique novels that have won numerous international literary awards, including the José Donoso Ibero-American Literature Prize, the Premio Xavier Villaurrutia, the Premio Nacional de Literatura Mazatlán, the Barbara Gittings Literature Award, the Antonin Artaud Award, and the José María Arguedas Prize. Bellatin's works have been translated into 21 languages. Previous books published in English include Beauty Salon, The Large Glass, Shiki Nagaoka: A Nose for Fiction, The Transparent Bird's Gaze, Jacob the Mutant, and Mrs. Murakami's Garden. He lives in Mexico City.
David Shook's many translations include work by Mario Bellatin, Tedi López Mills, and Víctor Terán. Their collection of poetry, Our Obsidian Tongues, was long-listed for the International Dylan Thomas Prize. They live in Los Angeles.