Saturday, March 13, 2010

Ignácio de Loyola Brandão - Anonymous Celebrity

Anonymous Celebrity (Latin American Literature) 
Bill Marx reviews Ignácio de Loyola Brandão's Anonymous Celebrity.
I mentioned Nabokov earlier, but “Anonymous Celebrity”’s energetic chaser-after-the-high-life, his over-the-top desires conveyed via high-octane language and elaborately jokey fantasies, also reminds me of the manic over-reachers in the dark comedies of Stanley Elkin. But Elkin knew that obsession, once it flips into madness, becomes considerably less compelling, which is why his egomaniacs keep a tight hold on the real. Once “Anonymous Celebrity” suggests that the protagonist may be crazy, that all of his claims are nothing but batty ruminations, the novel runs out of stream, even though it is filled with the names of real life brands and contemporary celebrities. In his earlier books Brandão plays, as he does here, with typeface and line spacing; this time around the various big-little fonts may be signs that the protagonist is nuts.
Despite all of his attempts to give his demented narrator humanity, Brandão ends up ringing variations on a commonplace — the vapidity of celebrity. But the imaginative gusto of his burlesque makes something pretty funny out of nothing.
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Three Percent review of  Ignácio de Loyola Brandão's Anonymous Celebrity.
In many ways, Anonymous Celebrity reads like a looseleaf collection of fragments from the mind of a potentially insane, definitely obsessed man. The prose is snappy (thanks in part to Nelson Vieira’s translation) and buzzes, with each section revealing a different facet of his obsession/insanity. And taken in bits, this is an incredibly fun, incredibly varied read. And out of the layered piles of ideas and lists, conspiracies and obsessions, something pretty amazing emerges. Definitely worth checking out.
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