Olga Lorenzo reviews Edmundo Paz Soldán's Turing's Delirium.
In 1967, the world received Gabriel Garcia Marquez's masterpiece, One Hundred Years of Solitude, set in an unspecified country in the mythical town of Macondo. For many Latin American writers, the result has been 40 years of feeling pressured to produce and reproduce magic realism of the decades-of-tiresome-rain and grandmother-stored-in-the-closet variety.Read More
The Chilean writer Alberto Fuguet wrote, "Unlike the ethereal world of Garcia Marquez's imaginary Macondo, my own world is something much closer to what I call 'McOndo' - a world of McDonald's, Macintoshes and condos. In a continent that was once ultra-politicised, young, apolitical writers like myself are now writing without an overt agenda, about their own experiences.
"Living in cities all over South America, hooked on cable TV (CNN en Espanol), addicted to movies and connected to the Net, we are far away from the jalapeno-scented, siesta-happy atmosphere that permeates too much of the South American literary landscape."
Part of the McOndo movement, Edmundo Paz Soldan's Turing's Delirium explores themes of human responsibility and morality, using the premise that technology can be used for good and evil and that often things are not what they seem. Computer hackers may be code-breakers in the war against the exploitation of the poor by multinationals.
Paz Soldan's cast is large and the opening chapters require concentration, as the reader is introduced to protagonists who each have their own forms of narrative. Miguel Saenz's sections are narrated in the second person - the reader is effectively asked to imagine that "you" are Miguel, a cryptanalyst working for the Bolivian Government's code-breaking agency, the Black Chamber.
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