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October 30th, 2010 / 2:00 pm
Literary Magazine Club

{LMC}: A Brief Reflection on Czar Gutierrez’s Bombardier

You can read a PDF of Bombardier to better participate in the discussion. Go buy NY Tyrant. If you would like to have the full PDF of NY Tyrant 8 so you can participate in this month’s LMC discussions, get in touch with me. But still, when you buy a literary magazine, an angel gets its wings.

The New York Tyrant veers closer to a glossy magazine than most literary journals. The stories are punchy, slim, trim and — with an exception or two — quite small. This is a quibble when you like what you are reading and a relief when you do not. Czar Gutierrez did not just leave me wanting, I was left reeling, holding his strange text up to the stuff I usually like — the Cheever, the Amis, the Ellroy — baffled, going through it line by line, trying to understand why I liked it, and how the hell he managed to jerk me around so much I dug pressure prints into each page.

I am quite suspicious of translations. The ones that wash ashore in the U.S. are tend too often to be finger wagging nuggets of exoticism.  The last I remember actually enjoying was Michel Houellebecq. And I should have hated this excerpt of Bombardier — it begins with a trickle of semen dribbling down some poor girl’s thigh, then the camera yanks around to see two planes cross in the sky; then he pulls away further, into pure telemetry and physics… I won’t spoil the rest.  Gutierrez’s control is so splendid, his craft so clean and precise, you can ignore the fact that the man is a D.J., a poet, that his website shrieks techno at you as soon as you open it, and the implied quarrel with American military power and 21st Century capitalism (which, honestly, as a Colombian he has a right to quarrel with — we Americans do meddle a bit down there).

All successful magazine brands sell not just stories, but a platonic ideal of taste; a lifestyle, an aesthetic or the appearance of being informed. Literary journals are no different. Each time I pick one up I expect a throbbing, sizzling smorgasbord of discoveries — and for once, in the New York Tyrant, I think I found what I was looking for.

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