You really have to hand it to authors who write fiction about themselves. It can certainly feel kind of shameless and indulgent sometimes due at least in part to sensitive’s folks’ guilt complex surrounding self-promotion. I mean, people who talk about themselves are assholes right? And we should all just be selflessly doing instead of filling our time talking about our deeds, or worse, what deeds we want to do but haven’t done. And if we do feel the need to talk about ourselves, our doubts, our ambitions, we do it in the privacy of journals or therapy sessions.
Disclaimer: A wise man once told me to never make excuses before a presentation. However, I feel it’s pertinent to note that I am not a literary critic. To be fair, I’m not a film, television or music critic either. But I do not read literary criticism and have never consistently written about literature except for the occasional lengthy analysis in college. However, as this space is a essentially in exercise in critical thought and an attempt to embrace every aspect of my life thoughtfully, I’ll be writing some lines about books as well.
In his most recent HBO special, Oh My God, comedian Louis C.K. cracks about how men are the greatest risk to women. It was this idea that I continually returned to while reading Salvador Plascnencia’s fantastic first novel, a work that boils with the rage of failed masculinity. In a dominantly self-reflexive style, each male character suffers at the hands of beautiful women who eventually leave him, spurring streaks of physical and emotional self-mutilation. The women on the other hand are either the amorphously invisible presence of a long lost lover or those who self-consciously realize that they are filling the impossibly dense and vast void of imagination and longing. To his credit, Plascencia is as vicious to himself as he is toward the woman to whom the novel is dedicated (perhaps even more so).