july 16–31, 2023


  • Andrés Caicedo, Liveforever, translated by Frank Wynne
  • Lisa Hsiao Chen, Activities of Daily Living
  • Carlos Castenada, The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge
  • Juan Gabriel Vásquez, Reputations, trans. Anne McLean


  • Casa Museo Otraparte, Medellín, Colombia
  • Cathedral Labyrinth of Thorns, Curaçao
  • Landhuis Bloemhof, Curaçao

A bunch of random things in here, mostly because I was traveling. The Caicedo novel comes from reading about the figure of Caceido in interviews with Colombian artists from the 1970s; it seems like something that would have been revelatory at the time, though it feels impossibly dated now in its vision of the emancipatory power of music and the 1960s. (Perhaps it’s interesting as a precursor to Bolaño’s writing, which might flow from the ruins of that world?) 

I’d never read Carlos Castaneda; when I met an older man who talked about how revelatory those books had been, I read the first one. I found myself wishing for something like a Norton Critical Edition of this: taken as face value – or as anthropology – this seemed ridiculous, read as a creative fiction project, it might be more interesting. I am not the ideal audience for this book! Though I would like to know why this was as influential as it was; and it seems like the sort of text that would lend itself to many wildly different readings by audiences at cross purposes with each other. I’m not sure who could put that together.

Chen’s novel on Tehching Hsieh and the problem of projects deserved more attention than I remember it receiving; it falls into the slim category of contemporary novels that I can imagine wanting to re-read.

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