Bezoar: And Other Unsettling Stories

Guadalupe Nettel, trans from the Spanish by Suzanne Jill Levine. Seven Stories, $15.95 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-1-60980-958-4
Nettel’s latest (after The Body Where I Was Born) is full of shock value, but only occasionally gets under the skin. The stories span the globe and always find the darker corners of their geographies—from the side streets of Rome to dilapidated Mexican beach towns, mysterious Tokyo gardens to a psych ward in an unnamed European city. In “Petals,” a man sets out to find the woman whose scent he has fallen in love with; the search traces her across a neighborhood’s worth of public restroom stalls. In “Ptosis,” a young candidate for eyelid surgery becomes the obsessive object of a photographer, until her new look ruins all he admired. And in the title story, a diary chronicles the life of a supermodel recently admitted to a psychiatric institute for her addictions, and slowly reveals her underlying, all-consuming habit of tweezing her hair. While individually the stories are striking both for their bodily candor and their surprising, abrupt endings, the dissociated first-person voices of each character blend together too easily, no matter how individual each narrator and their respective plot may seem to be. Taken together, the stories begin to lose their sheen. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 05/22/2020
Release date: 10/08/2019
Genre: Fiction
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