Spiritual Choreographies


by Carlos Labbé

May 21, 2019
novel | pb | 120 pgs.
5.5" x 8.5"

By blinking his eyes and moving his pupils, a paraplegic man—the onetime vocalist in a famous rock band—composes a kind of anti-biography that is corrected and expanded upon by an unknown editor. Alternating between the vocalist's impressionistic recollections and the editor's "corrections," an asynchronous story emerges, evoking the vocalist's childhood in southern Chile and telling of the rise and fall of the band that he grew up to lead, while hinting at a multiplicity of other narrative possibilities.

At once an exploration of collective creation as a kind of real community and a reflection on the fragility of memory, Spiritual Choreographies is an undaunted and entirely original novel by one of Latin America's most innovative contemporary writers, whose body of work has been described as "a response to the imminent destruction of the known world."

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 seven novels, including Navidad & Matanza, Loquela, and three collections of short stories. He is a co-editor at Sangria, a publishing house based in Santiago and Brooklyn, where he translates and runs workshops. He also writes literary essays, most notably 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, Rodrigo Fresán, and others. He received NEA and Lannan fellowships to translate Rodrigo Fresán’s novel, The Invented Part, which won the 2018 Best Translated Book Award.


Praise for Carlos Labbé:

“Labbé deliberately distorts conventional narrative forms to create a challenging but engaging text.” —New York Journal of Books

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

“What we encounter in Loquela is a skillfull unmaking—complete with diary excerpts, missives from beyond the grave and an invented barn-burning manifesto on a literary movement." —Laird Hunt, L.A. Times

Navidad & Matanza certainly marks Labbé as a young author from whom we ought to anticipate great, fascinating things to come."
—Jeremy Garber, Powell's Books

"Not for the casual reader, the book reveals its meaning in tiny shock waves that dissipate almost as quickly as they appear, an effect that will appeal to the right reader." —Publishers Weekly