The Adventures of China Iron

Gabriela Cabezón Cámara, trans. from the Spanish by Iona Macintyre and Fiona Mackintosh. Charco, $15.95 trade paper (188p) ISBN 978-1-9164656-6-4
Set in 1872 Argentina, the latest from Cabezón Cámara (Slum Virgin) reinterprets José Hernández’s classic poem “Martín Fierro” as a relaxed feminist travelogue from the perspective of Fierro’s wife, an initially nameless servant who adopts the moniker China Iron. After Fierro leaves for battle on the frontier, China Iron joins Elizabeth, a settler from Scotland whose husband was also drafted by the army, on a covered wagon journey to find Elizabeth’s husband and to start a new life on a plot of land deep within indigenous territory. While navigating the pampas, Elizabeth teaches China Iron English and they fall in love, though China Iron is unsure if their first kiss “was a British custom or an international sin.” Throughout, China Iron chronicles the landscape, and Cabezón Cámara’s prose beautifully traces her protagonist’s curiosity. In brief chapters, the group reaches a military fort run by Hernández, a drunk colonel, who recites his poem based on Martín, and whom Elizabeth hoodwinks to obtain supplies. From here, the characters drive deeper into the unknown and toward a conclusion that puts a new spin on Hernández’s gaucho anthem. Cabezón Cámara’s exciting LGBTQ look at pioneers of the pampas makes for a rewarding and subversive treat. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 08/05/2020
Release date: 09/18/2020
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 978-1-9993684-2-5
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