Magazine article World Literature Today

Escape Attempt

Magazine article World Literature Today

Escape Attempt

Article excerpt

Miguel Ángel Hernández. Escape Attempt. Trans. Rhett McNeil. Madrid. Hispabooks. 2016. 289 pages.

I remember being disconcerted and dismayed when I came across a posting on the Internet publicizing an exhibit in a museum where a stray dog had been tied up in a corner and starved to death. This self-same exhibit is mentioned in Escape Attempt by the Spanish writer Miguel Ángel Hernández. I was even more dismayed to discover that the plot of this novel is based on a real-life event exhibited in Paris in 2013 entitled Escape Attempt: Jacobo Montes and the Ethics of Distance.

In the novel Marcos, an art student, is coerced by his teacher Helena to assist a visiting "artist," Jacobo Montes, in the latter's latest "artistic" endeavor. Marcos is infatuated by Helena and agrees. He becomes the liaison between Montes, who is searching for a new way to express his art, and Omar, an African immigrant in Spain. Omar agrees to be enclosed in a coffin-shaped tank for a week with no access to water, food, or toilet facilities. Omar will be remunerated for as long as he can endure his imprisonment. In time, Marcos becomes disenchanted with the entire experiment and so worried about Omar that he pulls out of his unpaid assistantship with Montes. Later, Marcos returns to the warehouse where Omar was imprisoned, only to find the space empty. This "disappearance" pursues Marcos throughout the rest of his student life and subsequent career, until he attends an exhibit that purports to be identical to the prior Montes experiment and determines to discover the truth regarding the outcome of the experiment and the whereabouts of Omar. …

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.