Faces in the Crowd

Valeria Luiselli

Published: 2 May 2013
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 160 pages
ISBN: 9781847085078
£7.99

Translated by Christina MacSweeney

Overview

In the heart of Mexico City a woman, trapped in a house and a marriage she can neither fully inhabit nor abandon, thinks about her past.She has decided to write a novel about her days at a publishing house in New York; about the strangers who became lovers and the poets and ghosts who once lived in her neighbourhood. In particular, one of the obsessions of her youth - Gilberto Owen - an obscure Mexican poet of the 1920s, a marginal figure of the Harlem Renaissance, a busker on Manhattan's subway platforms, a friend and an enemy of Federico García Lorca.

As she writes, Gilberto Owen comes to life on the page: a solitary, faceless man living on the edges of Harlem's writing and drinking circles at the beginning of the Great Depression, haunted by the ghostly image of a woman travelling on the New York subway. Mutually distorting mirrors, their two lives connect across the decades between them, forming a single elegy of love and loss.


About the author

Image of Valeria Luiselli

Valeria Luiselli was born in Mexico City in 1983. Her novels and essays have been widely translated and her work has been published in magazines and newspapers including the New York Times, Granta, and McSweeney's. She has collaborated with artists in numerous multidisciplinary projects; among those, she has written a ballet libretto for the British choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, which was performed by the New York City Ballet in Lincoln Center. She is studying for a a PhD in Comparative Literature at Columbia University. Granta published her first novel, Faces in the Crowd, in 2012, and her collection of essays, Sidewalks, in 2013. Her second novel, The Story of My Teeth, is forthcoming from Granta. She has been named as one of the 20 best Mexican writers under 40 received a National Book Foundation '5 under 35' award. More about the author


Reviews

‘[Latin] American fiction thrives on distorted realities, but Luiselli's work is a more down-beat variety, and the more magical for it. Translator Christina MacSweeney has brought out the delicacy of the author's fragile prose’ Emma Hagestadt

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Reviews

‘[Luiselli] blurs the lines between reality and fiction, past and present’ Antonia Charlesworth

Faces in the Crowd delivers a torrent of warmth, humour and life ...The lead character, a hardworking young mother, is obsessed with an obscure Mexican poet. As a narrator she is so distinctive and powerfully drawn you can't help but be pulled in. Within a few pages I was desperate to walk the streets of Manhattan in search of obscure Mexican poets myself’ Thomas Quinn

‘A poetically realised and fragile portrait of the fracturing nature of urban life... and the strangeness of ordinary human interactions’ Violet Hudson

‘A profoundly literary first novel that manages to do what every novel should do - disquiet us (...) By its overlapping of voices, the ominous words of the narrator's son, or Owen's delirious texts, Faces in the Crowd entangles us in such a wonderfully knitted tapestry that we can only expect a very promising future for this young author.’

‘A remarkably confident novel... Confident in its handling of the ambitious ideas that crackle through its voices, in its complex structure and the daring intimacy of its field of vision... [the language is] sometimes sharp-edged, sometimes playful, and consistently effective’ Daniel Hahn

‘A sexy, surreal debut... go with the flow and you get a multi-level satire on literary fame as well as the joy of a livewire imagination uninhibited by the demands of plot’ Anthony Cummins

‘A young Mexican author with seemingly boundless intellect... There are echoes of García Márquez's Strange Pilgrims; Bolaño, Hemingway and Emily Dickinson are all freely cited... Luminous’ Catherine Taylor

‘Definitely not magical realist yet definitely magical, this is the story of a contemporary novelist haunted by a 1920s poet. Haunting, vibrant, and often funny’ Damian Barr, English PEN Atlas Translated Book of the Year

‘Haunting... this elegant novel speaks to the transience of reality... Luiselli plays with the idea of time and identity with grace and intuition’

‘I loved its quiet desperation and its exploration of translations and disappearances. Wonderful’ Peter Florence, director of Hay Literary Festival, English PEN Atlas Translated Books of the Year

‘Luiselli has a passion for games. And she aims high. She makes matter implode and stratifies it, and then breaks it, leaving the reader to pull the strings at his will.’

‘Luiselli's novel stands apart from most Latin American fiction. She avoids worn-out narratives about drug wars and violence, and her downbeat supernaturalism feels quite different from the magic realism of Márquez. Concerned, above all, with literature's ability to transcend time and space, she signals the appearance of an exciting female voice to join a new wave of Latino writers’ Mina Holland

‘Personal, honest, and wild... The most intoxicating of the ideas Luiselli presents almost seems like the prelude to a new school of literary thought... You come out on the other side of reading it with an indelible impression... Luiselli's voice is distinct, and her concerns are uniquely Luisellian

‘Spare, strange and beautiful... an extraordinary new literary talent’ Hermione Hoby

‘Striking and mysterious’

‘The first novel by Mexican writer Valeria Luiselli is a brilliant story - dense and porous in turns - about the obscure ways of literary creation... Dazzling first novel’

‘The new star of South American literature.’

‘Valeria Luiselli is a precociously masterful, entirely original writer’ Francisco Goldman

‘Valeria Luiselli is a writer of formidable talent... Her vision and language are precise, and the power of her intellect is in evidence on every page’ Daniel Alarcon

‘Vivid and urgent’ Patrick Nathan

‘We love Valeria Luiselli!





 
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