|Category||Business & Industrial|
|Title||excellent (and pretty short) books|
|Description||Caricatures might exaggerate reality, but they can’t invent it. They can distort, but never lie,” says Javier Mallarino, the firebrand political cartoonist at the center of Reputations. The book opens with Javier being celebrated with a lifetime achievement award for his fearless body of work. His reward is his face on a Colombian postage stamp.Find the more latest book from SHINE.
But when a young journalist named Samanta Leal lies her way into Javier’s home, he is forced to confront his legacy. A single long forgotten incident that led to Javier ruining the career of a conservative congressman—perhaps rightfully, perhaps wrongfully—gives the cartoonist reason to rethink his entire history. (“It’s a poor sort of memory that works backwards,” Javier says repeatedly, referencing Through the Looking Glass and, tellingly, his own self-reflection.) As much as he would like to deny it, there can be no separation between the political and the personal.
Vasquez also wrote the terrific The Sound of Things Falling, a meditation on the Colombia’s relationship to the drug trade couched in a tragic plane crash. By comparison, Reputations feels a bit more straightforward in its vision. But in the hands of Vasquez’s spare prose, the brisk pages of Reputations finds itself challenging the moral complexity of political satire.Last year, Alexandra Kleeman published the excellent and eerie novel You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine. But in some ways, she seems more comfortable here, with her new collection of stories, Intimations. In shorter form, she’s able to explore weirder voices and ideas.
For about a month I was misremembering the title as Imitations, and thinking about who Kleeman was most closest to imitating (maybe Karen Russell by way of Don DeLillo). Her narrators tend toward a kind of sad, disaffected everywoman who understand something is wrong, even if they can’t identify what it is. (“Somehow I knew that if I put this food into the mouth of the baby, I would never be allowed to leave this house. But if I didn’t put the food into the baby, who would?”) They often read like aliens pretending to pass themselves off as human, becoming inordinately fixated on little details—e.g. the beauty of door knobs—and strangely distant and unsure of what is happening in their environment. The tension between the vague and specific, the real and fantastical is great.
In a story near the end, the narrator is awkwardly complimented on the fake blood on her costume. “Really realistic. Really scary, you know. But without being actually too scary. Really great." That’s not a bad way to think of Intimations as a whole: Really scary without being too scary. Really great.