Academic journal article Chasqui

"Pero Vos Ya Conoces Bien Mis Delirios Misticos": The Search for Sublime Union in the Fictions of Pablo Perez

Academic journal article Chasqui

"Pero Vos Ya Conoces Bien Mis Delirios Misticos": The Search for Sublime Union in the Fictions of Pablo Perez

Article excerpt

Pablo Perez (born in 1966) is one of a group of young Argentine writers whose work explores the wide variety of homoerotic experience and identity among the post-dictatorship generation in Argentina. Perez's small and rather idiosyncratic corpus of fiction has just begun to attract the deserving attention of critics and scholars. Giordano, for example, places Perez into an "inter-century" generation which, like the Modernist writers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, is a group characterized by an "egotismo desenfrenado" that puts their lives as artists directly at the center of their literary works. Giordano indicates, however, that the autobiographical journals, letters, and confessions of this contemporary group of writers (which includes such authors as Raul Escari, Daniel Link, and Elvio Gandolfo), following several generations since the advent of pop art, do not hold themselves up as exemplars of exceptional or superior living, surrounded by the dreariness and crass commercialization of bourgeois values as their Modernist counterparts did; instead they emphasize the "banalidades extremas" of their daily lives, demonstrating that "la exhibicion de algunas vulgaridades intimas puede servir muy bien a la empresa de convertir en obra la propia vida" (Giro 14). The two novels of Pablo Perez, Un ano sin amor: diario del sida (1998) and El mendigo chupapijas (2005), do indeed masterly blur the line between autobiography and fiction through a sophisticated interplay of artistically altered lived experience and erotic fantasy. (1)

In a manner similar to Giordano, Ingenschay focuses on the autobiographical or "homographical" nature of Perez's first novel (using Ellis' concept of how homoerotic writers have modified autobiographical discourse), and he connects it to the important tradition of fiction writing that explores the consequences of HIV/AIDS within the multifaceted Latin American cultures. Employing Angvik's term of "tanatografia" as contrast, Ingenschay shows how Perez has produced quite a different type of AIDS narrative, one in which a very active sex life and the hopefulness of living with the condition, due to the development of newly-developed anti-viral drugs, is an unexpected and powerful variation on the typical texts which focus on the agonizing ending of life.

From a different perspective, Laddaga explores the inescapable legacy of Borges on the newest generation of Argentine writers, and mentions Perez's Un ano sin amor as "uno de los textos que considero mas inquietantes y atractivos de los ultimos anos" (209). The critic views Perez's novel as exemplary for its employment of a Borgesian notion of the act of writing as an activity which may enable "la superviviencia personal en condiciones de urgencia" (210), which may be used as a way to connect the writer to other human beings, and which, ultimately, may sketch the "rostro secreto" (213) of the author which is imperceptible except by means of the artistic creation.

While Laddaga's brief examination more closely approaches the inner workings of Perez's fictional world, he does not explore what I consider a central motif in the writing of Pablo Perez: the search. In Perez's fiction, the perpetual, obsessive act of searching becomes a primary motivating impulse that unifies and energizes the narrative, and it reveals itself fundamentally as the search for mystic connections between humans and an occult world of significance, the quest for meaning in the individual lives of people who suffer from illness and loneliness, and the desire for the re-union of the self in the physical and spiritual connection of same-sex partners. (2) As a result, beyond the bold confessional itinerary of multiple sexual encounters narrated in these two novels, the author enriches the works with an illuminating spiritual content. The desperate, even heroic, search for knowledge takes on qualities of a Borgesian mystical quest which may permit the characters to experience the momentary satisfaction of understanding the purpose of their lives and which may give them a key to discovering the meaning of their physical illness and suffering, their loneliness, and their seeming insignificance in the world. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.