"There are only two things: love, all sorts of love, with pretty girls, and the music of New Orleans or Duke Ellington. Everything else ought to go, because everything else is ugly"
- Boris Vian's L'Ecume des Jours (oddly translated as Foam of the Daze)
I was turned on to Vian by Claudia. Her and I made a City Lights expedition to stock up respectively on new books.
There is a grisly story associated with Vian. He wrote another small book called "I Spit on your Graves" and had told a friend that he intended to make it a bestseller.
The book did not sell particularly well at first. But, later a copy of the book was discovered next to the body of a murdered prostitute. Her killer had underlined several passages in Vian's book and had used it as a sort of instruction manual for the murder. After all this came out in the press, the book became a best-seller.
Lucha Libre: Masked Superstars of Mexican Wrestling
The photographs of Lourdes Grobet
This book, with its striking photographs, covers the mythology of the masked Mexican wrestlers. Most of them inhabited several worlds: appearing in the ring of course, but also in films and comics. The central dogma in the mythology was that a Masked Wrestler (Enmascarado) was never to appear in public without his mask. This makes for some surreal photographs of wrestlers at home, leading ordinary domestic lives, holding their children, going on errands - but always with their mask.
I had not realized the depths to which each one had worked on their own story. Here for example is only a small fragment of the backstory for a wrestler called Tinieblas:
"He is the prototype of the Mexican science fiction superhero: a survivor of a superior pre-Hispanic race that cultivated physical, mental and intellectual powers; a civilization bonded by the magical energy emanating from the universe. His name is Tinieblas ... a direct descendant of beings from another world, who, mistaken for gods, arrived with our forefathers. One of their vessels that reached the Earth, a pyramid-shaped spacecraft, was covered by boulders somewhere in the southeastern jungle..."
And this goes on for pages and pages. Here is a photo of Tinieblas along with Tinieblas Jr, and their dwarf alien sidekick. Incredible stuff if only because it is so fantastic and outrageous.
From my first impression - a convoluted labyrinth of a novel. What else can be said about a novel whose organization stems from the structure of a Latin palindrome? In the book's introduction the translator, the well-regarded Gregory Rabassa, calls this an architectural novel but one that is more akin to "De Chirico than Vitruvius"