Navidad & Matanza
by Carlos Labbé
April 22, 2014
novel | pb | 92 pgs
5.5" x 8.5"
“Carlos Labbé’s [Navidad & Matanza] begins to fuck with your head from its very first word—moving through journalese, financial reporting, whodunit, Joseph Conrad, Raymond Chandler, Nabokov to David Lynch.”
It’s the summer of 1999 when the two children of wealthy video game executive Jose Francisco Vivar, Alicia and Bruno, go missing in the beach town of Matanza. Long after their disappearance, the people of Matanza and the adjacent town of Navidad consistently report sightings of Bruno—on the beach, in bars, gambling—while reports on Alicia, however, are next to none. And every clue keeps circling back to a man named Boris Real . . .
At least that’s how the story—or one of many stories, rather—goes. All of them are told by a journalist narrator, who recounts the mysterious case of the Vivar family from an underground laboratory where he and six other “subjects” have taken up a novel-game, writing and exchanging chapters over email, all while waiting for the fear-inducing drug hadón to take its effect, and their uncertain fates.
A literary descendent of Roberto Bolaño and Andrés Neuman, Carlos Labbé’s Navidad & Matanza is a work of metafiction that not only challenges our perceptions of facts and observations, and of identity and reality, but also of basic human trust. (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 six novels and a collection of short stories. In addition to his writings, he is a musician and has released three albums. He is a co-editor at Sangria, a publishing house based in Santiago and Brooklyn. He also writes literary essays, most notably on Juan Carlos Onetti, Diamela Eltit, and Roberto Bolaño—three writers whose influence can be seen in Navidad & Matanza.