cover image Imminence


Mariana Dimópulos, trans. from the Spanish by Alice Whitmore. Transit, $15.95 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-1-945492-55-6

A 40-something woman living in Buenos Aires and recovering from a nearly fatal postpartum infection struggles to bond with her new baby in this stunning and superbly translated third novel by Argentine writer Dimópulos (All My Goodbyes). As Irina’s partner, Ivan, cares for their baby, she ruminates on past and present lovers, as well as best friends Mara and Ludmila, to whom coupledom once seemed “like polar ice, or the black floor of the ocean,” back when they were 20. The three women pledged never to marry or have children, but their plans changed after Ludmila’s untimely death, the circumstances of which gradually emerge. Irina’s narration moves fluidly and associatively through time. When a stranger remarks on Irina’s weakness after coming home from the hospital, Mara’s response, after a paragraph break, is, “Nonsense,” but that’s actually a two-year-old memory, when Mara insisted Irina could learn to apply makeup. After Ivan declares their baby’s name is Isaac, Irina remembers one of her first lovers, who had the same name. In addition to her memories of past lovers and friends, a lover she calls “the Cousin” steadily reappears in Irina’s life over the intervening decades, and her feelings about him and others gradually offer clues for her ambivalence about being a woman and a mother. Spectacular prose suffuses the novel—a smile is “like a feeble gift”—along with provocatively caustic interior monologue (“let’s invent something completely unoriginal, like men and women do,” the narrator imagines saying to one of her former lovers). Wonderfully atmospheric and evocative, Dimópulos’s latest is exceedingly satisfying. (Sept.)