René’s Flesh, or, the pleasure of flesh, or, the masochist’s wetdream: A Letter to You

[Note: I changed the picture because so many people got pissed off about it. Here is a nicer photo to look at.]

Dear HTML Giant Universe,

Have you heard of René’s Flesh by Virgilio Piñera? If you haven’t, don’t feel bad. I only heard about it a few days ago. Then, I read it. And I am obsessed. Piñera was a huge Cuban writer, among the likes of Reinaldo Arenas, Jose Lézama Lima, and Alejo Carpentier. And yet, I’d never heard of Piñera. If I had an iron memory, I’d know that he was a character in Before Night Falls, but I don’t have an iron memory.

A few days ago, a friend of mine put René’s Flesh in my hands, an exchange because I’d told him about 2666. He said, If you like Bolaño, you’ll love this book. Despite having my ever-growing stack of books-to-read-and-review, I put my trust in this friend. I read the book in 24 hours. I took five baths, snuggling in the warmth of water and the titillation of this book.

This book: a fairy tale without magic. There is no magic, but in its absence: pain. Lots of it. The pleasure of pain, the torture of pain, it gave me nightmares from which I hoped to never wake.


April 25th, 2011 / 12:59 pm