(Continued from Part I of the post)
Among those who have looked at the impact of political dictatorship in suppressing natural human instincts is one of the first post-Boom writers–Manuel Puig (1932-1990). Best known for Kiss of the Spider Woman, Llosa once said about him that “Of all the writers I have known, the one who seemed least interested in literature was Manuel Puig.”
The plot of Eternal Curse on the Reader of These Pages, Manuel’s first novel that he wrote in English, is seemingly straightforward.
Ramirez, an Argentinian a trade union- organizer and revolutionary, is tortured after the military coup in 1976. He manages to find his way to a sanatorium in the United States via a human rights organization and is provided an attendant who takes him around in his wheelchair. The novel is little more than a series of conversations, a continuous dialogue between the two as the attendant, Larry, takes Ramirez around New York.
As the novel progresses, the plot becomes more convoluted and the novel comes crashing to an uncertain end. The reader is urged on by as the layers of reality and unreality are unsheathed between the dialogues. The novel contains only dialogues, five letters, one will and one job application. There is nothing sinister about the novel itself despite the title, but it has dark undertones throughout, peppered and enlivened with insights that make one aware of the sensitivities of this writer “least interested in literature.”
Link to Part I of the post.