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The Art of Resurrection
Hernán Rivera Letelier

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Structure in The art of resurrection

Chapter 9 is like Chapter 5, a single long paragraph telling Domingo Zárate Vega's back-story. I was thinking today about how these chapters are functioning in the structure of the book. They set off groups of chapters that are telling a fairly straight, linear story, and they are set at critical junctures -- at the end of Chapter 4 the Christ of Elqui is preparing to enter La Piojo; at the end of Chapter 8 he has at last met Magalena Mercado and is receiving an "urgent blowjob." The narrative voice in these chapters is a bit different from the narrative voice in the rest of the book, and I was thinking this might be Zárate Vega writing his memoirs -- I'm not sure about that, it doesn't sound much like the voice he uses in his dialogue.

Chapter 9 gives Zárate Vega's birthday as December 20, 1897 -- I am not clear about my arithmetic here* but I calculated last time I was reading this, that the events of Chapter 4 occur on December 19-20th, his 45th birthday.

The intervening chapters -- the Christ of Elqui's arrival in La Piojo, his sermon, the lunch he shares with the striking workers, his nap, the introduction of Magalena Mercado -- are some pure reading pleasure.

*ah yes -- this was not a calculation, Zárate Vega says in Chapter 15, when the emissaries from the union tell him it is the 21st, that yesterday, when he "almost died like a dog in the desert," was his forty-fifth birthday.

posted evening of Monday, March 26th, 2012
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