cover image Air Carnation

Air Carnation

Guadalupe Muro. BookThug (Small Press Distribution; U.S. dist.; LitDistCo, Canadian dist.), $23 trade paper (192p) ISBN 978-1-77166-031-0

This debut novel from Argentinian writer Muro combines fiction and memoir, prose and poetry to reflect on travel, love and writing, topics tied together within an overarching exploration of the competing interests of commitment and movement. The first section, Guadalupe, is about the author herself, though even here she blurs what might be a straightforward memoir. She writes, "I also feel someone else's life as mine, and my life as the life of some character in a book. What we call I is a fiction, and fictions as words are a common wealth." This feeling is actualized in the section Rita, which centres on a character, it seems, that the author has imagined living a parallel life to her own: they are both writers from the same town in Argentina, both went to university in Buenos Aires, both lived and worked in Washington, D.C. for a time. Guadalupe even makes a brief appearance in Rita's story. The consistent voice keeps the book grounded, making it a smooth read the whole way through. Different periods of the author/character's life, different places in which they find themselves, different loves, are bound together by the narrative's dreamy tone and sensual writing. (Apr.)