Synopses & Reviews
Three modern, edgy and superb stories by famous Mexican author Mario Bellatin--Chinese Checkers, Hero Dogs and My Skin Luminous--translated by Cooper Renner. This, his first book to appear in English, promises us an fascinating, unsettling and important new voice in modern writing. In these stories the narrator speaks rationally, cleanly, carefully, with a sense of precision and progression. But the life he describes is not rational, clean precise or progressive. His focus seems to be on exploring the ins and outs of specific situations. He is not plot-driven, nor do his characterizations seem to function in the normal way -- that is, to create a sympathetic character whom the author leads through some sort of growth process to a sort of epiphany. Any given one of his sentences, isolated from its context, might seem like an ordinary narrative sentence in a traditional work. Bellatin's contexts don't work that way: situations and thought repeat and recur in an apparently random fashion; he refuses to orchestrate climaxes and artificial excitements, even where a conventional writer would immediately do so.
About the Author
Although born in Mexico in 1960, Mario Bellatin began his career as a fiction writer in Peru in the 1980s, where he first published some of his best novels to date, including Canon perpetuo (1993) and Salon de belleza (1994). Since returning to Mexico in 1997, his readership in the Spanish-speaking world has continued to grow, and several of his books have now been published in Spain and France. Indeed, Bellatin's well-deserved reputation as a novelist stems from a refined, stylized prose that usually results in the crafting of mysterious and amusing fictional worlds (-Goliath.) Bellatin has published such acclaimed novellas as Flores, which received the 2000 Xavier Villaurrutia Prize, and Salon de belleza, which French translation was a finalist for the 2000 Medicis Prize for best foreign novel. His work has also been translated into German. Translator Renner is the editor of elimae.com and publishes poetry, including his new collection Mosefolket, under the name Cooper Esteban.