Mario Bellatin Profiled in El Pais

El Pais has a long profile of Mexican author Mario Bellatin. It is quite good and gives some interesting insights into this intriguing author.

Bellatin se considera sufí y cumple con su estética austera. El mobiliario de su hogar es tan esquemático que la casa parece casi deshabitada, o habitada por un fantasma, como dice el escritor que se siente en ocasiones. Siempre lleva su uniforme negro, y conduce un coche negro sin cambio automático ni dirección asistida, cosa meritoria teniendo en cuenta que solo dispone de un brazo. El principal foco decorativo de la sala es un minúsculo cuadro con un derviche —un bailarín sufí— congelado en un instante del giro permanente en que consiste la danza ritual de esta religión.

Esa pared, como todas las demás de la sala y del estudio, estarán cubiertas pronto por enormes estanterías en las que piensa distribuir Los cien mil libros de Mario Bellatin, una obra que también presentará en la Documenta. Se trata de otro proyecto a medio camino entre la literatura y el arte conceptual, consistente en la edición de cien libros suyos en un formato mínimo y con una tirada de 1.000 ejemplares cada uno. Los comercializará por su cuenta, sin pasar por las librerías, intercambiándolos directamente con los compradores “por un cigarro o por 1.000 pesos, dependiendo de mi estado de ánimo”. De momento ha publicado seis, y calcula que con todo lo que ha escrito durante su carrera ya tiene material para 52. “A partir de ahora quiero seguir escribiendo para llegar a 100. Pero igual me muero antes, no importa. Lo importante es que el hecho de que aquí haya 100.000 libros o no haya nada solamente depende de un deseo, y nada objetivo, externo a ti mismo, se puede interponer a ese deseo”.

Como el derviche que gira en un movimiento eterno, lo único que desean el hermano de la chica elefante, el ladrón de bolígrafos, el hijo de la cocinera de hormigas y el dueño del perro Perezvón es que Mario Bellatin permanezca siempre escribiendo.

Ivan Thays also has a brief run down of his four most important books.

Mexican Novelest Mario Bellatin Profiled in the New York Times

The New York times has a moderately sized profile of Mexican novelist Mario Bellatin. It is a little hard to say if I want to read his work, but it looks like he may becoming a little more known.

In one index of his growing international reputation, Mr. Bellatin recently signed a multibook deal with Gallimard, the prestigious French publisher, that calls for his next several works to be issued in France before they appear in Spanish in Latin America. As usual he has seized on that opportunity to make mischief: rather than publish his original manuscript here, he intends to have someone else render the French translation back into Spanish.

I will be curios to see if he creates his own language. As the quote below notes, so many writers are said to have created their own language and I find they very rarely do.

“I am enamored of and very much struck by his way of managing to condense narrative down to a very minimal form of expression, so that at his best, every word is sealed with more weight, suggestiveness, meaning and poetry,” Mr. Goldman said. “Everyone talks about inventing your own language, but he really does it. Every Mario Bellatin book is like a toy, dark, radiant and bristling, like a Marcel Duchamp construction in words.”

Some older critics in Mexico have little use for Mr. Bellatin’s transgressive style and seem flummoxed by his blurring of fiction and reality. “I try not to be involved in any literary group,” Mr. Bellatin said, noting that “my books are most warmly received not here in Mexico but abroad, in Argentina and France.”