Mauro Javier Cardenas discusses the freedom of delirium and the evolution of syntax in the novels of Antonio Lobo Antunes.
Because the syntax that undergirds the twenty-two torrential novels of Antonio Lobo Antunes has evolved so radically since his first novel was published in 1979, and because his novels haven’t been published in English in the order they have appeared in Portuguese, one’s reaction to his work might range from bafflement to wonderment depending on which novel from which period one happens to have read. Did early novels like An Explanation of the Birds (1980) lead to his Nobel Prize nomination? (No). Why aren’t there more shrines to The Inquisitor’s Manual (1996)? (You tell me). What’s with all the fragmentation in What Can I Do When Everything’s on Fire? (2001)? (I can explain).
Word Choice features original works of fiction and poetry. Read “(Irrelevant) Mass Delusion in Cajas” by Mauro Javier Cardenas with art by Jenna Ransom.
(Irrelevant) Mass Delusion in Cajas
on the other hand if someone were to ask Leopoldo about his pilgrimage to Cajas, where according to everyone the Virgin Mary had been appearing to a sixteen-year-old girl from Cuenca, Leopoldo wouldn’t assume a resigned facial expression or shake his head as if about to relay and unfortunate incident that happened to some other studious teenager from San Javier, but instead he would claim, in his most matter-of-fact voice, or perhaps in a voice that conceded how ridiculously unbelievable what he was about to claim was, but also underscored how commonly accepted phenomena like gravity or photosynthesis were kind of unbelievable too, that he didn’t care if what he’d witnessed in Cajas had been real or not, didn’t care if it had been mass delusion, as some had called it later, he’d been there and had seen the sun move, hundreds of thousands of believers who had pilgrimaged from Guayaquil, Quito, Cuenca, Machala for what had been announced as the last apparition of La Virgen Del Cajas had gathered in a cold altiplane in the cordillera and had seen the sun move (how many times does the Virgin Mary need to appear to remind us of what we already know? how many times do we need to induce ourselves into believing she has come to warn us again that we’re on the wrong path? in how many places around the world does she need to appear for no one to disbelieve anymore or are her recurrent appearances what perpetuate disbelief?)