The Name: McOndo
I think the name of this collection of stories is a little troubling. While Fuguet and Gómez explain they respect GGM for his contribution to Latin American literature, they dislike how it reduced the identity of L.Am literature to the magical realism genre (in the minds of North Americans). It seems that they are concerned with establishing a new identity for Latin American writers by differentiating themselves from their predecessors for a North American audience. WHile they differentiate themselves from magical realism, they compare themselves with North Americans and the stereotypes of our culture. They want us to know that they too have smog, McDonald's, condominiums, five star hotels, MTV, etc. Ok, so their point is that they are not so different from us? Or that they are different from the people portrayed in magical realism-genre'd books? Isn't there a more constructive and imaginative way to create the identity of contemporary Latin American writers? Or was the literary movement based on urban reality and the quotidian?
They emphasize their mestizo culture, the introduction of technology, the balance between old and new but this is what GGM was doing in 100 años except for 30 years before. In 100 años we see all of these aspects minus lame corporations like McDonalds and in a rural setting.
The name of the book aside, i thought their search for a new literary movement/identity was pretty interesting. Even though the writers all had current technology and lived in big cities, they were not yet connected. This project brought them together and made them not only aware of each other but aware of a similar goal. i don't think its necessarily possible to "create" a literary movement or a revolution per se. I think that humans evolve together (more or less) and new movements and ideas come into conception. So while I don't think they have created a new genre, or something really interesting, they have moved together and forward. I think these writers are more in a transition generation. it kind of reminds me of the literature written by young mexicans in the 60s from "la onda" movement (check out "literatura de la onda" on wiki if you are interested). there weren't doing anything amazing or different but they were talented writers with an very blunt style ie they talked about drugs, rock n roll, promiscuity, etc. In fact, it reminds me a little too much of Jose Agustin's ciudades desiertas in which a group of latin americans go to a writing work shop at a university in the states. has anyone else read this? it was written in the 80s i think......hmmm and Fuguet and Gómez compiled this book in 96? were they really doing something that hadn't been done before. i would say no.