Closer to Memory Than Imagination

Patty Osborne

In her book Air Carnation (BookThug), Guadalupe Muro starts out writing about growing up with hippie parents in Bariloche, Argentina, winter weather, a job she had in a bar when she was fifteen, books and writing, falling in love and losing a shoe, and she admits that she always writes about herself, “in an exercise closer to memory than imagination” and that she would like her imagination “to produce something brand new.” Then she tells us she has decided to write a love story about Rita and Simón and, after an “Intermezzo” of poems called “Songs for Runaway Girls” (which, a visit to reveals, have been turned into songs that are performed by Muro along with fellow Argentinian musicians Ana Lopez and Julian Muro), Rita’s story begins. Even though it is written in the third person, the story is as intimate and compelling as Muro’s story had been, and after a short time it feels more like a fleshing out of Muro’s story than “something brand new”: both stories involve a novel-in-progress, a rock climber boyfriend and hitchhiking around Bariloche, although in Rita’s story, the boyfriend is the one who loses the shoe. Muro’s narratives wander around and go off on tangents as she connects the events in her life with ruminations and memories, and it is a pleasure to follow her. Don’t let the uninspiring cover keep you from diving into this funny, poignant and absorbing book.

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