Rediscovered feminist magical realism gem from 1950s Ecuador
E IS FOR ECUADOR
This gem from the 50s that English readers finally got to appreciate in 2010s, is the ultimate satire of the hispanic magical realism and also a full-fledged subversive masterpiece in its own right.
A simple story about a small, pious town that is engulfed with sightings of an unapologetically nude woman, and the barbarity that ensues, is so delicious in its wrangling of colonialism, society and Christian othering. It’s also incredibly written: in a language that seems like a successful merging of Cortazar and Jean Rhys.
I’ll be surprised if it isn’t on the reading list of all the good MFA and comp-lit professors in a few years. A work of substantial quality, it does seem a little dated in some conceptual misgivings almost 70 years since it was written, in today’s post-feminist era, but this wholly depends on the context: juxtapose it to the anglo fictions of today, and watch the radicalism of yesteryear work its magic yet again.
The Naked Woman by Armonia Somers
Original title: La mujer desnuda. Translated by Kit Maude
Published by The Feminist Press at CUNY in 2018
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