Trafalgar

Angélica Gorodischer Translated by Amalia Gladhart.  - published February 2013

February 12, 2013 · 256pp · 9781618730329  · trade paper · $16  | 9781618730336 · ebook · $9.95
Translated by Amalia Gladhart.

Locus Recommended Reading

“Trafalgar and Josefina” was reprinted in The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2014, edited by Rich Horton.

When you run into Trafalgar Medrano at the Burgundy or the Jockey Club and he tells you about his latest intergalactic sales trip, don’t try to rush him. He likes to stretch things out over seven double coffees. No one knows whether he actually travels to the stars, but he’s the best storyteller around, so why doubt him?

Trafalgar, a novel-in-stories, was originally published in Argentina in 1979. It starts off light and refreshing right from the very first short Who’s Who in Rosario listing for Trafalgar, although there are occasional clouds that pass through Trafalgar Medrano’s bright and happy stories.

Excerpts available in F&SF , Tor.comLightspeed, Belletrista, and Eleven Eleven.

Read an interview with Angélica Gorodischer on Lightspeed.

“Elegantly constructed images and smooth narrative twists make “Trafalgar’s” enchanting oddness all-encompassing and unforgettable.”
Seattle Times

“Perhaps the strangest thing about these tales is how easily one forgets the mechanics of their telling. Medrano’s audiences are at first reluctant to be taken in by yet another digressive, implausible monologue about sales and seductions in space. But soon enough, they are urging the teller to get on with it and reveal what happens next. The discerning reader will doubtless agree.”
Review of Contemporary Fiction

“Gorodischer’s fecund and playful sense of invention is dazzling here, especially in the roll call of perfectly contrived larksome proper names. Her style is more jaunty and modern, less baroque than in Kalpa Imperial, giving the sense that Trafalgar is right at your elbow, hoisting a beer. The banter between Trafalgar and his interlocutors, particularly his female Boswell, is sprightly and fun. . . . At age 84, perched atop a major canon, Angélica Gorodischer deserves to loom high in the ranks of contemporary fantasists.”
—Paul Di Filippo, Locus Online

“Had I to choose five words to describe it, I would call it: quiet, contemplative, provoking, bizarre—and brilliant. Quite, quite brilliant.
“It is not the kind of thing I would normally choose to read.
“But now that I’ve read it, I am at liberty to inform you I found it delightful. Thought-provoking. Impressive. Brilliant.”
—Liz Bourke, Tor.com

“A novel that is unlike anything I’ve ever read, one part pulp adventure to one part realistic depiction of the affluent, nearly-idle bourgeoisie, but always leaning more towards the former in its inventiveness and pure (if, sometimes, a little guilt-inducing) sense of fun.”
—Abigail Nussbaum, Los Angeles Review of Books

“A thing of digression and casual wonderment.”
Willamette Week

“The narrative of this compilation draws the reader into the story of an ordinary man traveling to alternative worlds. Gorodischer creates an atmosphere where fascinating stories take on the ordinariness of everyday life.”
Reforma 

“This understated and impressive story cycle, written in 1979 by Argentinean author and World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award winner Gorodischer (Kalpa Imperial), relates the adventures of intergalactic trader and coffee addict Trafalgar Medrano. When he meets with the unnamed narrators, he tells of his attempts to raise money by selling goods and services on other planets; most of his efforts end in improbable, hilarious disaster, such as being mistaken for Mandrake the Magician or finding a world that looks exactly like Earth—in 1492. The tropes are well-worn, but Gorodischer takes them in entertaining directions that both evoke their golden age roots and transcend them with a layer of absurdism. Gladhart’s translation spotlights Trafalgar’s dryly comic statements, like “I changed the course of history; nothing more than that.” Trafalgar’s adventures build on each other nicely, creating a collection that’s a joy to read.”
Publishers Weekly

Table of Contents

By the Light of the Chaste Electronic Moon
The Sense of the Circle
Of Navigators
The Best Day of the Year
The González Family’s Fight for a Better World [audio]

–Interval with my Aunts
Trafalgar and Josefina
–End of the Interval

Mr. Chaos
Constancia
Strelitzias, Lagerstroemias, and Gypsophila
Trafalgar and I

A fan video for “Mr. Chaos.”

Praise for Angélica Gorodischer’s Kalpa Imperial:

“Le Guin’s translation of a work by a prominent Argentine writer elegantly articulates the shifting tones of the larger narrative, whose theme seems to be the endless imperfectibility of human society.”
New York Times Summer Reading

“The dreamy, ancient voice is not unlike Le Guin’s, and this collection should appeal to her fans as well as to those of literary fantasy and Latin American fiction.”
Library Journal (Starred Review)

“Gorodischer has a sizeable body of work to be discovered, with eighteen books yet to reach English readers, and this is an impressive introduction.”
Review of Contemporary Fiction

“Gorgeous, and a lot of fun, and the stories are lovely.”
—Jo Walton, Tor.com

[A] “remarkable collaboration . . . an engossing escape . . . a useful tonic and reminder that the irascible perspectives of Borges and Cortazar are alive and well.”
Bridge Magazine

“Those looking for offbeat literary fantasy will welcome Kalpa Imperial.
Publishers Weekly

“Evokes weighty matters lightly and speaks of self-evident wisdom while itself remaining mysterious.”
Washington Post

“It’s always difficult to wrap up a rave review without babbling redundant praises. This time I’ll simply say “Buy this Book!”
Locus

“Nabokovian in its accretion of strange and rich detail, making the story seem at once scientific and dreamlike.”
Time Out New York

Cover art by Ron Guyatt.

Angélica Gorodischer, daughter of the writer Angélica de Arcal, was born in 1929 in Buenos Aires and has lived most of her life in Rosario, Argentina. From her first book of stories, she has displayed a mastery of science-fiction themes, handled with her own personal slant, and exemplary of the South American fantasy tradition. Oral narrative techniques are a strong influence in her work, most notably in Kalpa Imperial, which since its publication has been considered a major work of modern fantasy narrative. She has received many awards for her work including most recently the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Amalia Gladhart is the translator of two novels by Ecuadorian novelist Alicia Yánez Cossío, The Potbellied Virgin (2006) and Beyond the Islands (2011). Her chapbook Detours won the 2011 Burnside Review Fiction Chapbook Contest. Her poetry and short fiction have appeared in Iowa Review, Bellingham Review, Stone Canoe, and elsewhere. She is Professor of Spanish at the University of Oregon.

Comments

Leave a Reply