cover image The Fear of Losing Eurydice

The Fear of Losing Eurydice

Julieta Campos. Dalkey Archive Press, $19.95 (121pp) ISBN 978-1-56478-020-1

Much about this Mexican novelist's latest work (her first to be published in the U.S.) is experimental. This deliberately static novel, an ambitious discourse on love, relies more on intellectual showboating than on fresh observations. Monsieur N. is a French teacher who begins keeping an imaginary travel diary as he reads Jules Verne's The Mysterious Island. As he sits in a cafe and doodles on a napkin, he ponders the notion of an island as an ``image of desire.'' In this vein he concludes that ``every text is an island''--an idea matched in this volume's actual design, which floats ``islands of quotations'' in its generous margins. A dizzying array of allusions--from film, literature, opera, history and geography--overwhelms the dreamlike images and scenes of N.'s notebook, through which parades a series of archetypal lovers. The moment of desire, Campos implies, is the same for all lovers, from Abelard and Heloise to Heathcliff and Cathy. Although many fragments are stunning, they add up to little more than academic exercises. (Feb.)