diumenge, 16 de març de 2014

"El desierto y su semilla", by Jorge Baron Biza acquired by Companhia das Letras (Brazil) and La Nuova Frontiera (Italy),

We are glad that this Argentinean cult novel from the 1990s, recently reprinted by Eterna Cadencia, is starting to raise interest among foreign publishers. Below see more info about this unique, powerful and tragic novel.

El desierto y su semilla / Desert Seeds 
By Jorge Baron Biza
Published by Eterna Cadencia, Buenos Aires, 2013. 
224 pages 

A cult master piece” Enrique Vila-Matas 
A unique book” Alan Pauls 
A great novel” Alejandro Zambra 

 Foreign rights sold: Companhia das Letras (Brazil), La Nuova Frontiera (Italy), Attila (France) 

Desert Seeds opens with a taxi ride to the hospital: Eligia’s face is disintegrating as a result of the acid her ex-husband threw to her while signing the divorce papers. Mario, her son, tries to wipe out the acid from Eligia’s face, but his own fingers burn. At the same time, Arón, the aggressor, is shooting himself at home. What follows is the never-ending attempt to reconstruct Eligia’s face, first in Buenos Aires, thereafter in Milan. Mario, the narrator, becomes the shadow and witness of the reconstruction of his mother’s outraged flesh. He gives her company and reads stories to her out loud, but above all he scrutinizes and describes Eligia meticulously. In doing so, he must confront his own terrible existence and identity, both of which are bound to the Argentina he has seen disintegrate around him. 

Outside the hospital, he meets a woman, Dina, with whom he experiences a descent into hell – and Mario’s hell has no other shape than the shapeless face of his monstrous inheritance. Jorge Baron Biza transforms this tragic family story – in fact his own experience – into fiction in his one and only novel: Desert Seeds

 Editorial background of a Modern Classic: 
Rejected by Buenos Aires’ major publishers, Jorge Baron Biza had to pay himself for the first edition of Desert Seeds in 1998, three years before committing suicide. But the reception was unanimous. Writers praised its anomaly, its uniqueness, its unclassifiable style. “One of the best novels published in the last few years” stated Cultura y Nación, the supplement of Clarín. After his suicide, the book found its way in the academic world until it was first published in Spain in 2008 by 451 Editores, with great critical acclaim. In 2013 Eterna Cadencia relaunched it in Argentina and the novel could finally enjoy a broad distribution in its own country. 

 "A great flow of comforting words was offered to me after the first suicide in my family. When the second attempt happened, that flow turned into an unsteady ocean with no horizon. Now, after the third, people hurry to close the windows as soon as I enter a room on anything higher than the third floor. I was born in 1942, and have since frequented the schools, bars, editorial offices, mental institutions and museums of Buenos Aires, Freiburg, Rosario, La Falda, Montevideo, Milan and New York, read Mann, translated Proust and made a living for thirty years as ghost-writer, journalist (anything from mental institution publications to high society magazines) and as an art critic". 
Jorge Baron Biza (Argentina, 1942 –2001) 

 Quotes from Spanish and Argentinean media and authors: 

 "Published in 1998, Baron Biza’s Desert Seeds charts both the reconstruction of the author’s mother’s face and the tragically disfigured reality of 20th century Argentina. In spite of critical acclaim for this cult masterpiece, the author – who was compared to Joyce and Proust - committed suicide by jumping from the twelfth floor of a building in Córdoba"

“The story is true. Terribly intimate. Desperate. Jorge Baron Biza wrote a visceral novel, beyond shame and of an unusual forgiveness. Written from a deliberate and necessary distance which grips and perturbs the reader at the same time. Infinitely.”

 “Out of print for a long time, this book quickly became a cult novel because of the sharpness of the story and the harmony and distancing it is described with, despite its autobiographical background.”

 “A unique and powerful novel (…) Singular and disturbing.”

 “I would emphatize its literary lineage. In Desert Seeds you can find reminescences of Roberto Arlt. Something of his despicable characters. In its portrait of Dina you can find the surrealist and disconcerting air of some of Cortázar’s feminine charachters. (…) A sublime explosion of unpredictable art.”

 "Such pure existential truth can’t be read without a minimum of scandal" Daniel Link, Página 12 “A cruel fable of denial and dislike (…) impossible to deny a clear narrative and stylistic art.” ABC “The author converts the tragedy into a parable of the slow political Argentinean degradation through one of the symbolic elements of this country’s culture: meat.”

“A unique text.”

 “There is an ingrown pain that cannot leave anyone indifferent and its expression is pure literature”

 “This profound existential text started to get good critics when the author committed suicide.” PLÁCET 

 “A family drama, a social stain, a logical scandal. A philosophy of pain, a treaty about flesh or the story of a passionate love. All this can happen in a novel. (…) Nevertheless, sometimes a story based on true facts, as in the case of Baron Biza’s book, can go much beyond an impressive argument, live its own life and exhibit a convincing literary quality (...) which makes this novel one of the best ones published in the last few years.”

 “He writes a unique book. A book only he could write, an exceptional book, a book which achieves what he could never do: to invent himself a place in the world”

 “Desert Seeds provoked an almost unanimous enthusiasm.”