Reading Recently (early November 2019)

My admiration for Fitzcarraldo Editions is sincere and unlimited. I finished reading Maria Tumarkin’s Axiomatic, read against the grain of more usual reading material. I must do this more often. I’ve been struggling to complete anything I begin to read recently, feeling a distaste for literature, without any discernible origin. I tore through the complex, fascinating essays in Axiomatic, drawn, as is so often the case with non-fiction, by the power of Tumarkin’s voice. She is evidently a responsive observer, vibrantly present in her writing, not introspective but a shrewd, melancholy sensibility.

In this expansive mood I turned to another recent Fitzcarraldo publication, translated by Frank Wynne. There isn’t much to The Fallen by Carlos Manuel Álvarez: an atmosphere, a displacement of consciousness across a family of characters, a suggestion that family life limits natural expression. It is a rendering of lived experience that offers social commentary without an explicit morality. The crisp writing style belies a depth that compels the reader to interpret each character’s feelings and motivations for their actions from limited information. I’ve been re-watching Michael Haneke’s films recently and kept thinking of how he would treat this book. The richness of the images would translate well into film.