Sunday, December 03, 2006

Interview with Carmen Boullosa

Carmen Boullosa, the Mexican novelist, poet and playwright, lives in central Brooklyn. A student of Juan Rulfo, she is now a professor at the City College, a host of the CUNY TV program New York; she has also been a fellow at New York Public Library and the Guggenheim Foundation. Boullosa’s Brooklyn house and neighborhood provide the setting for her new fantastic novel, La Novela Perfecta.
Boullosa says that La Novela Perfecta is an homage to the neighborhood where she has lived for two years, as well as to the “heroes” of her youth, the Argentineans Bioy Casares and Jorge Luis Borges, the foremost exponents of Latin American fantastic literature. “This is my Brooklyn novel. This neighborhood fascinates me as an almost prototypical city, with people from all over the world living together in a small place,” explains Boullosa, whose previous novels include Antes and La Otra Mano de Lepanto. “I’m right next to a mosque, and nearby stores with Al-Jazeera propaganda as well as Jewish shoe repair shops. These are cultures that are obliged to make a pact of coexistence. When one takes the subway in Brooklyn you reach another space, marked by different limits, because there is always a border zone with other cultures.”

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