Showing posts with label London. Show all posts
Showing posts with label London. Show all posts

Monday, September 23, 2013

Q&A with Chloe Aridjis, Author of ASUNDER

ASUNDER is a captivating novel, out now from Mariner Books, a division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, about two museum guards in London for whom life and art begin to overtake one another in unsettling and surreal ways.

It's written by Chloe Aridjis, a writer who's been praised by Junot Díaz, for her "hypnotic" prose. Chloe was born in New York and grew up in the Netherlands and Mexico, and now lives in London. She received her PhD in nineteenth-century French poetry and magic shows from Oxford, then lived in Berlin for five years. Her first novel, Book of Clouds, won the Prix du Premier Roman Etranger in 2009.

I had a chance to interview Chloe recently. Here's what she had to say:

On Home & Identity:

Chloe: England is very much home these days. Mexico is my other home of course, and I hope I'll never have to choose between the two. I still spend around two months a year in Mexico. For daily life, I prefer London to Mexico City, however -- as much as I love the latter, the soul-destroying traffic alone does me in each time I visit. I identify with each place in different ways: here, I love the tempo of the city, the weather, and the discretion. Mexico meanwhile has a tremendous dynamism and chaos that's unique and I always feel recharged. 

On the "Latina Writer" Label: 

Chloe: I don't take issue but have never identified with it myself. My mother is from New York but I definitely feel more Mexican/European since I've spent many more years in Europe than in the US and I suppose both my studies and movements have been more eurocentric. In general I believe identity should be fluid, and labels can be tricky. 

On her Dad:

Chloe: My father has always been an immense inspiration, as a writer and a human being. My mother's environmental work and her intelligence and humanity are also deeply inspiring. Together they introduced me, from an early age, to literature and museums: both changed my life. I learned to read and see in new ways. As for the poets in the novel, they are based on childhood observation, mostly from poetry festivals I was taken to, and later on my correspondence with some of the poets I met.  

On Writing:

Chloe: I write both from home and the British Library. It depends what stage I'm at, but I try to write from home in the morning and then head to the library by two or three. Different thoughts occur in different places, so it's important to move around and see what happens where. I often get ideas on the bus over to the library. But there's nothing quite like being here in my study, surrounded by my own books and objects and my young cat watching from the shelf behind me. 


ASUNDER traces the slow revolt against passivity of a female museum guard. After nine years working at London’s National Gallery, Marie starts to feel stirrings of violence as she focuses more and more on themes of decomposition in both the paint layer and the human. She is haunted by stories of the suffragettes who would attack works of art in the years leading up to WWI, and in particular by the slashing of Velázquez’s Rokeby Venus, which occurred at the Gallery in March 1914. 
Her best friend Daniel is a poet who works as a guard at the Tate Britain; their lives revolve closely around their collections, public and private (Marie crafts miniature landscapes at home, Daniel corresponds with poets overseas). When they go to Paris for the winter holiday their imaginary worlds come to life in startling ways, ultimately freeing them from their former confinement.

Reminiscent of Ben Lerner’s Leaving the Atocha Station, ASUNDER is a short, powerful novel brimming with ideas and stop-you-in-your-tracks language, exploring materiality vs. spirituality, art vs. life, words vs. images, preservation vs. destruction, and those moments we all experience where we can either push something to crisis or take great pains to stop it in its tracks.


Read it and let me know what you think of it.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Olympian Marlen Esparza on Missing Out & Retiring from Boxing

I received news a couple of weeks ago, regarding Marlen Esparza and the MAKERS initiative.

The MAKERS: Women Who Make America is a landmark digital video and broadcast initiative from AOL and PBS that chronicles the stories of exceptional women whose pioneering contributions shape our world.

Esparza, the first woman to qualify for the U.S. Olympic boxing team, is now featured on the site. In her interviews she talks about her love for the sport, fighting as a reminder, and how tough it is to be everything, among other conversations.

Visit Makers.com/marlen-esparza to see the rest of her Makers Moments



Thursday, June 21, 2012

Si Se Puede: Marlen Esparza, Olympian, Boxer, Cover Model

Bad@ss! Houston native, Marlen Esparza is the new face of CoverGirl in addition to being the first female boxer on the U.S. Olympics team and the first Hispanic Olympian to be the face of CoverGirl.

More on America's Sweetheart





Monday, June 18, 2012

New Book: Tales of Seduction: The Figure of Don Juan in Spanish Culture

If you're the kind of person that enjoys your literary criticism through a lens of machismo, don't worry, I've got you covered. Tales of Seduction : The Figure of Don Juan in Spanish Culture, might be just up your alley.


Don Juan is one of the intriguing creations of Western literature. A legendary seducer of women, trickster, and transgressor of sacred boundaries, he has been the object of countless revisions over the centuries. 


The twentieth-century has viewed the figure afresh through the prism of its own cultural terms of reference and social concerns. Using an interdisciplinary approach, Tales of Seduction focuses on the intersections between myth, culture, and intellectual inquiry. 


Sarah Wright takes Don Juan back to Spain, his birth-place, and examines the confluences of Spanish culture with aspects of Western intellectual history (medicine, psychoanalysis, linguistics), where she finds Don Juan continues to transgress the limits of culture from the early twentieth century to the present.


Sarah Wright completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge and is currently Senior Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Stuff I'm Totally Sweating: butter LONDON 'Black Wallpaper' Nail Skins

Last night I was thinking about how I hadn't written a fashion related post here in a while so I decided to bring back my Stuff I'm Totally Sweating forays into fashion blogging. So excuse for a minute, while I get totally girly on you.

Last summer, my best friend introduced me to Sally Hansen Salon Effects, which are basically colored stickers for your nails that mimic the look of expensive manicures. I'm one of those people who is fascinated by nail designs but find that they also border on gauche and tacky. I tried them and discovered they were easy to use but didn't last any longer than my regular polish and also didn't allow me to use my protective layer of nail hardener, which I am rarely without. Add in their limited variety of colors and designs and I'm sad to say I'm not a big fan.

However, something about THESE butter LONDON 'Black Wallpaper' Nail Skins, which I discovered while holiday shopping online last month, made me want them immediately.

Perhaps, it was the unfulfilled little goth/steampunk/rebel in me that jumped at the lovely black decals or maybe it was the murmuring of a Frida Kahlo/Georgia O'Keeffe mother muse reminding me to be a Senorita with flowers in her hair on her nails. Whatever it was, I purchased them and repressed the urge not to buy them in bulk hence they sell out.
 
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