Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I finished reading Salvador Plascencia's The People Of Paper not too long ago. I started reading it not too long ago- Maybe three days before I finished. Oh, compulsively readable books. I love you so.

It was good- I was anticipating it quite a bit, having heard some hype, and the introduction of it's amazing, and after that it kicks in with typography tricks that looked fun.

It's a break-up book, in some ways- ways that are obvious when you read it. Not that it doesn't have other things going for it, but I mean- If that's the mood you're in, especially if you're male, (It's pretty specifically male- Again, not like it's not good or whatever, but for reading a book that shares some of the feelings you're going through at any specific time) feel free to give this one a go. Or, to be fatalistic about it, keep it in mind for the next time this mood strikes, along with that Why? album I'm so struck with.

Anyway- The title refers to two things: Fictional characters and actual origami people brought to life. The book splits the difference between magic realism and metafiction. The magic realist stuff has a heavier emphasis on the fantastic than Marquez, to the point where it's outright fantastical actually; the "magic realist" label is probably just coming from Plascencia's Mexican origins and his literary pedigree- the book was published by McSweeney's.

The fantastic elements and the magic realist elements are basically inextricable, which makes the question of where Plascencia's going next kind of interesting. I prefer the magic realist stuff- I'm pretty sure the making yourself a character in a fictional book is a trick that can only be used once, which I guess would mean that the only thing would be a straight-up memoir, which would be dull. The more... god, I want to say the more fantastical elements, but that's not quite what I want to say- The fictional character bits are very human, and even though the imaginative stuff is aces, I don't not want to talk about the character bits.

Yeah, it all works, it's all linked up. Nothing can be jettisoned really, from this book at least. It's imaginative and beautifully written and very human. It's clever, but the cleverness is necessary for what it's doing.

It's really great- not the best book I've ever read, but a great one.

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