by Carlos Labbé

December 15, 2015
novel | pb | 192 pgs
5.5" x 8.5"

“[Labbé] wreaks havoc on narrative rules from the start and keeps doing it.”  


Loquela, Carlos Labbé’s fourth novel and second to be translated into English, is a narrative chameleon, a shape-shifting exploration of fiction’s possibilities.

At a basic level, this book is like a hybrid of Julio Cortázar and Paul Auster: a distorted detective novel, a love story, and a radical statement about narrative art. Behind the silence that unites and separates Carlos and Elisa, behind the game that estranges the albino girls, Alicia and Violeta, from the best summer afternoons, behind the destiny of Neutria—a city that disappears with childhood and returns with desire—and behind a literary move­ment that might be the ultimate vanguard while at the same time the greatest falsification, questions arise concerning who truly writes for whom in a novel—the author or the reader.

Through an array of voices, overlapping story­lines, a kaleidoscope of literary references, and a delirious prose, Labbé carves out a space for himself among such form-defying Latin American greats as Diamela Eltit, Juan Carlos Onetti, and Jorge Luis Borges. (Read an Excerpt)

Translated from the Spanish by Will Vanderhyden


About the Author: Carlos Labbé, one of Granta’s “Best Young Spanish-Language Novelists,” was born in Chile and is the author of five novels—including Navidad & Matanza, also available from Open Letter—and a collection of short stories. In addition to his writings, he is a musician and has released four albums. He is a co-editor at Sangría, a publishing house based in Santiago and Brooklyn. He also writes literary essays, the most notable ones on Juan Carlos Onetti, Diamela Eltit, and Roberto Bolaño.

About the Translator: Will Vanderhyden received an MA in Literary Translation Studies from the University of Rochester. He has translated fiction by Carlos Labbé, Edgardo Cozarinsky, Alfredo Bryce Echenique, Juan Marsé, Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio, Rodrigo Fresán, and Elvio Gandolfo. He received an NEA Fellowship to work on Rodrigo Fresán's The Invented Part.


“Begins to fuck with your head from its very first word.”  
—Toby Litt