cover image Dislocations


Sylvia Molloy, trans. from the Spanish by Jennifer Croft. Charco, $15.95 trade paper (150p) ISBN 978-1-913867-35-5

Argentine novelist and critic Molloy (Reading Dates) examines the nature and significance of memory in her gleaming English-language fiction debut. The narrator, S., takes up the role of “scribe” as she chronicles her longtime friend M.L.’s struggles with Alzheimer’s, noting how M.L.’s memory “keeps leaving pieces by the roadside.” In language by turns tender and probing, S. recounts almost daily visits to see M.L. Certain passages delve into the unpredictability of Alzheimer’s, such as when M.L. translates her caretaker L.’s notes on her symptoms for the English-speaking doctor, even though she herself is unable to recall or comprehend her own health problems. Other sections focus on the 45-year-long friendship between the two women, but as M.L.’s memory weakens, so does the history on which the friendship is founded, calling attention to the role of memory in reinforcing present ties. Heartbreaking and illuminating, the varied moments are beautifully rendered in short, noncontinuous chapters that mimic M.L.’s oft-fleeting mind, with its fractured recollections and random thoughts. A graceful study of memory, identity, and relationships, this is one to cherish. (Nov.)