Synopses & Reviews
"Here I am," writes Luisa Valenzuela, "submerged in a sea of notebooks . . ." Dark Desires is the author's autobiographical fantasia on the ten years she spent living in New York City. Valenzuela has called this book her "apocryphal autobiography," and in it she says very little about her work as a writer, about the city itself, or even about literature. Instead, Dark Desires is a dialogue between the sometimes harmonious, sometimes contradictory worlds of writing and human interaction: for Valenzuela, writing, like love, is an attempt to reach out to another person, to make some sort of connection possible. Here, Valenzuela confronts her own "dark desires": her need for sexual fulfillment and human tenderness, her indecisiveness about who or what she truly wants, and, overall, the compulsion to keep a written record of all her triumphs and disasters, encounters and obsessions.
"A raw compilation of sexual escapes, dreams, letters, and memories make up this 'apocryphal autobiography' by Argentinean novelist Valenzuela (Clara) as she revisits the years she lived in New York City, starting in 1979. A recurring theme, she notes, is 'writing with the body,' and indeed the impressions she records are often about men she meets and sleeps with, among them Pale Fire, Duck, Dieter, and Joe. New York City in the 1980s proves a maelstrom of distraction, she writes, 'confluences that offer me the gift of being everywhere at the same time,' but also which keep her from writing: 'When I sing, I don't write: I frolic. I levitate. I warble.' She writes occasionally about books she is reading and her travels (to Bahia; San Francisco for a poetry festival; 'a Canadian city' for an Amnesty International conference), and receives news that any writer would kill for: she wins a Guggenheim fellowship. Valenzuela's aim of 'trying to let nothing escape' is provocative, but messy, disorganized, and hard to follow, and will best be appreciated by readers familiar with her work. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The passions, frustrations, fleeting affairs, and failed relationships of an Argentinian writer in New York.
About the Author
Luisa Valenzuela was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1938. In 1958, she moved to France and wrote her first novel while living in Paris. In 1979, she moved to the United States and lived in New York for ten years, working as a writer in residence at the Center for Inter-American Relations at NYU and Columbia. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1983.Susan E. Clark is the translator of Esther Tusquets's Stranded. She lives in New Mexico, where she resides with her Costa Rican husband and six dogs and cats.