A new Quarterly Conversation is out and this one features a translation from Providence (2009). I don’t know the author, and honestly the description makes doubt I’ll like it (to much sci-fi), but it is worth a look. Also of noteis a translation of Belgian Fabulist Yves Wellens, a defense of reading Antonio Lobo Antunes, reviews of The Seamstress and the Wind by César Aira, From the Observatory by Julio Cortázar amongst many others.
From the introduction:
Providence (2009) is Juan Francisco Ferré’s most ambitious novel, his longest and more complex fictional work to date. Written during one of his stays at Brown University, Providence, as much as Ferré’s previous books, is a deeply erotic, abrasively satirical, gargantuan fiction dealing with both contemporary American culture and Spanish literary tradition. But rather than focusing on cultural differences, Ferré investigates the common literary roots of the new global culture, producing a true “transatlantic” fiction—in some sense. Providence could be considered as much a Spanish novel about America as an American novel written in Spanish.
Providence is a haunting glimpse into a labyrinth of imaginary spaces assembled together by, among many other things, the spell of H.P. Lovecraft, the remembrance of Alain Resnais homonymous film, a personal interpretation of Spielberg’s Jaws, and the sexual drive and misguided efforts of the Spanish independent filmmaker Álex Franco. After being lured by a mysterious female producer, Franco travels to Rhode Island with the purpose of writing a script about “Providence.” However, like in a wicked Cronenberg-inspired bio-game, “Providence” starts mutating to become something quite different from what he expected. Forced to confront a new set of otherworldly relationships he can no longer dismiss, Álex will find himself trapped in a surreal multiverse of fictional/mythical “Providences” made up by Lovecraftian secret societies evolving from steampunk into cyberpunk; from The Age of Mechanical Reproduction to the Age of Digital Simulation. The adventures of Álex Franco constitute a metaphor of the ongoing transition from reproduction technologies that render external sophisticated representations (Pro videns) to embodied simulation technologies “happening” through our flesh (Providenz).