Fear in Writing: Nonfiction post, again

Today in Literary History

Today in Literary History...December 14, 1907: Rudyard Kipling receives the Nobel prize for literature, the first English-language writer to do so.ud

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Nonfiction post, again

Noticed a lot of nonfiction references here lately?  First of all, you've noticed more than my usual zero posts, so that's a change in itself.  Then there are the constant ramblings on history as literature and government docs as nonfiction...

The point is, I've been reading a lot of the genre lately.  I have a hunger for learning lately that came out of no where.  That's not true.  I turned 31 in February and I can only imagine that has something to do with it.  The vastness of the knowledge yet to learn is truly overwhelming, but it still appeals to me.  My sister's in law school and my son is getting read for kindergarten.  And I read.  That is my graduate school.

Last night I finished Santa Evita by Tomás Eloy Martínez.  In his 2010 obituary, The New York Times describes Mr. Martínez as "a distinguished Argentine writer whose fiction mingled journalistic and novelistic techniques to conjure an Argentina more authentically strange and elusive than either fact or fiction alone might allow."  (I highly recommend reading the article, which briefly documents the life of a heroic writer/journalist with such anecdotes as this: "In 1975, while eating lunch in a Buenos Aires restaurant, Mr. Martínez received word that when he stepped outside, he would be assassinated. There was no back exit. Reasoning that the least he could do was document his own murder, he phoned his newspaper and requested a photographer.  The receptionist said: 'Why so modest? I’ll send them all,' Mr. Martínez recalled in a 2007 interview with The Guardian of London. A swarm of photographers descended, and the assassins scattered.")

It is a book that mixes reality with legend--and not just one reality, but the reality as believed by multiple personalities.  It mixes myth with mysticism, life with death.  But most of all, it sends the reader straight to the confusing parallel universes that exist in Argentina--the dichotomy of great wealth and great poverty, great power and great weakness, great love and great hate, great fear and great bravery, great desire and great cowardice.  Passion.

I hungrily add several more of Martínez's works to my TBR list, including The Perón Novel and  The Tango Singer.  I hope a biography of the writer will appear--perhaps written in the style he so favored, a style very Argentinean, where "nothing is true; at the same time everything is true" (ny times).  One gets the feeling that is the kind of life Martínez led.  At one point, the Times journalist writes, "Mr. Martínez was married several times...Information on other survivors could not be confirmed."

It's the little mysteries, isn't it?

*My next nonfiction undertaking will be The Ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth by Frances Wilson.  Fictionally, I am reading The Canterbury Papers by Judith Koll Healey.


  1. It is the little mysteries. And at 31, you are still young!!!

  2. 31, you are a baby still!
    I think everyone goes through those periods of "nothing but non-fiction." At least once a year I get an attack like that. I hope it never stops.