Mauro Javier Cardenas
A modernist tour de force from an exhilarating new talent
Antonio’s sister is on the run. Convinced that Antonio is conspiring with Obama, the Pentagon, and now her own neighbours, she’s disappeared. Antonio, however, is doing his best to think of anything but his sister or, for that matter, any of his problems.
By day, he’s Antonio, father of two, recent divorce and unenthusiastic database analyst. In private, he divides his time between visits to seedy pick-up website ‘Your Sugar Arrangements’, and hours spent combing fiction and film for examples of how to become a better father.
As the meticulously crafted structure of his outwardly comfortable life begins to crumble, Antonio submerges himself in the lives of those who have shaped him.
What really caused his mother to leave Antonio’s father with two young children in tow?
What lies beneath his Czech ex-wife’s troubled, obsessive relationship with her country?
And where does Antonio, the man, fit in all this?
Propulsive and freewheeling, Mauro Javier Cardenas’ second novel is a daring examination of identity in a world that seems determined to fragment us.
'Threads are woven together in an often-dazzling performance akin to a DJ's mashup, in which two different songs can be heard separately as well as together... Cardenas's deft characterization of Antonio's confused, troubled masculinity is one of the novel's most impressive achievements.' -- Southwest Review "What I don't transcribe I will forget," Antonio, the protagonist of this roving novel, remarks. A Colombian divorce living in Los Angeles, he obsessively documents the stories of those he encounters. He spends nights with women he meets on a sugar-daddy Web site and makes notes of their childhood stories the mornings after. He records his mother's childhood recollections and the ramblings of his sister, who suffers from schizophrenia, and whose experience of abuse at the hands of their father haunts them both. The result is a collage-like meditation on the ephemeral. "I have come to define happiness collectively," Antonio reflects, "and it's ridiculous, given that most adult relationships end anyway." -- New Yorker 'Thrilling... A writer of originality who makes the English language sound like music.' -- KCRW's Bookworm 'A rollercoaster of a run... [A] worthy journey and universal themes emerge... It's the 'as it's happening' narration style that makes Cardenas's new work so innovative and exciting to read.' -- Chicago Review of Books 'Excellent... Aphasia's spirit is one of blending and border collapse... [It] dramatizes our ability to occupy multiple narratives at once - and proves that literature itself can do the same.' -- High Country News 'Buckle up, kids, Cardenas is taking us on a bumpy ride. A mild-mannered bank clerk, who wishes to be a novelist, meditates on memory, loss, family, and other things both real and imagined. Aphasia is an avalanche of language, perfect for readers of Thomas Bernhard and Lucy Ellmann's Ducks, Newburyport.' -- Book Culture 'In the follow-up to his wildly ambitious debut novel, The Revolutionaries Try Again (2016), Cardenas again deploys his sense of invention and irreverence, jettisoning conventional paragraph and dialogue breaks and embracing long-running sentences that delight in playful exasperation... [Aphasia] will appeal to fans of Latin American fiction that navigates the bleeding edge of experimentation.' -- Booklist 'Long, breathless sentences dizzying and richly packed with memories, connections, and literary references. Cardenas undercuts the idea of a single, stable identity and suggests the self as a many-layered work in progress... Fans of the author's inventive, ambitious debut novel will find the same sardonic intelligence, paired here with a deep humanity... Original, richly felt, deftly written.' * Kirkus * 'Mauro Javier Cardenas's Aphasia batters at the limits of guilt, of masculinity, of love and promiscuity, of the American family and English syntax.' * Nicole Krauss, author of Forest Dark * 'Mauro Javier Cardenas has knocked down the novel as we know it, and built a cathedral out of the debris. Aphasia is monumental, funny, potent, and fresh. It marks a new beginning.' * Carlos Fonseca, author of Natural History * 'Brainy and decadent, playful and outrageous, Aphasia marks the comeback of the Self in a spiraling trip into contemporary manhood and the Latin American spirit that will render you speechless.' * Pola Oloixarac, author of Dark Constellations *
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