October 15, 2013
novel | pb | 143 pgs
5.5" x 8.5"
“Early in Sergio Chejfec’s The Dark, the nameless narrator describes his disorientation when looking over a landscape as 'the vertigo of simple things.' This phrase describes the experience of reading Chejfec’s novel. . . . These moments, when Chejfec combines exquisite prose with the human yearning for truth and beauty, keep us reading, weighing the novel’s contradictions, sifting through the narrator’s abstract reflections in search of his life’s meaning."
Opening with the presently shut-in narrator reminiscing about a past relationship with Delia, a young factory worker,The Dark employs Chejfec’s signature style with an emphasis on the geography and motion of the mind, to recount the time the narrator spent with this multifaceted, yet somewhat absent, woman. On their daily walks he becomes privy to the ways in which the working class functions; he studies and analyzes its structure and mindset, finding it incredibly organized, self-explanatory, and even beautiful. He repeatedly attempts to apply his “book” knowledge to explain what he sees and wants to understand of Delia’s existence, and though the difference between their social classes is initially a source of great intrigue—if not obsession—he must eventually learn that there comes a point where the boundary between observer and participant can dissolve with disarming speed.
In a voice that favors erudite distance, yet simultaneously demands intimate attention, The Dark is the most captivating example of Sergio Chejfec’s unique narrative approach, and a resonant novel that calls into question the necessity, risks, and fallout behind the desire and attempt to know another person. (Read an Excerpt)
Translated from the Spanish by Heather Cleary
About the Author: Sergio Chejfec, originally from Argentina, has published numerous works of fiction, poetry, and essays. Among his grants and prizes, he has received fellowships from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in 2007 and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation in 2000. His books have been translated into French, German, and Portuguese. He teaches in the Creative Writing in Spanish Program at NYU, and My Two Worlds is his first novel to be translated into English.
About the Translator: Heather Cleary is a translator of fiction, criticism, and poetry, whose work has appeared in numerous journals and edited volumes, including Two Lines, The Coffin Factory, and Revealing Mexico. She was awarded a Translation Fund Grant from the PEN America Center for her work on Oliverio Girondo's Persuasión de los días. She is also the translator of Chejfec's The Planets, and one of the founders of the Buenos Aires Review.
"It is hard to think of another contemporary writer who, marrying true intellect with simple description of a space, simultaneously covers so little and so much ground.”
—Times Literary Supplement
"If genius can be defined by the measure of depth of an artist’s perception into human experience, then Chejfec is a genius."