El Desastre De Chiang Mai Durante Un Viaje A Tailandia Fue La Azarosa Oportunidad Para Que Agust N Fern Ndez Mallo Volcara En Un Relato Tripartito Sus Experiencias Con Esa Cosa Tan Extra A Llamada Mundo Nocilla Lab Es El Cierre L Gico Y Multidisciplinar Del Proyecto Nocilla Una Road Movie Autorreferencial Y Visionaria, Inquietante, Donde Un Hombre Y Una Mujer Buscan Poner En Marcha El Proyecto, Una Excusa Para Hurgar En Sus Sue Os Y En Su Propia Relaci N Un Certero Relato Del Arte De Crear, De Escribir, De Imaginar El Trayecto Acaba En Una Antigua Prisi N En La Que Un Hombre Se Enfrenta A Otro, Con El Suspense Y La Tensi N De Un Thriller, Un Hombre Contra S Mismo En Un Final Original Y Sorprendente Como Un Demiurgo Disfrazado De DJ Ficcional, Agust N Fern Ndez Mallo Transforma Cuanto Encuentra A Su Paso En Una Nueva Realidad, La Creada Por Su Mesa De Mezclas, Convirtiendo Lo Parad Jico De La Existencia En Una Verdadera Po Tica Pura F Sica Elemental If you ve ever seen Denis Villeneuve s avante garde film Enemy, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, then you may have some idea what this novel is like Off kilter, disturbing, and poetic, never have I read a novel which so closely resembles stepping into an avante garde film Entertaining and wildly offbeat, Nocilla Lab goes in directions that no reader could predict after reading the first two novels.On one hand, I concede completely it s a load of classic pretentious male Postmodernist BS But on the other it s loads of fun And so yes, even though it s pretentious, even though it s one of those self indulgent novels that s to some extent about the act of writingthan anything else, I loved reading Nocilla Lab I liked it eventhan the first novel.Some reasons why While reading the first novel, I thought I detected the influence of Don Delillo in its pages, Delillo being one of my personal favorite writers After reading the third one, I searched around and found an interview with Agustin Fernandez Mallo in which he cited Delillo as one of his biggest influences So if you like Delillo, especially something like Underworld, you will probably love these novels as well.Part of this is the fact that they are brief novels Mallo s experiment is careful never to overstay its welcome And this is a blessing. Everything in this world resembles something elseor less, so we can always find some analogies And every single thing in some way are always different from the other things so we can distinguish them after all Isn t it a paradox it would be monstrous to happen upon something absolutely new, it would be nightmarish and unbearable, just as two absolutely identical beings would be, and so we look for arguments to take us beyond this paradox, I love paradoxes, or I don t love them, that s stupid, it s just that without them life wouldn t exist and the planet would be a wasteland, so, simply, paradoxes are, they exist, full stop Nocilla Lab begins as a common travelogue and it is unmotivatedly repetitive Similar to other travelogues it is about going from place to place And differing from other travelogues it is evenboring Therefore, comparing to the previous parts of the trilogy, Nocilla Lab is a letdown But when Agust n Fern ndez Mallo starts decomposing his narration replacing actuality with schizoid delirium the story simply turns preposterous It is to be supposed that the day whenplastic surgery operations take place than appendectomies, planet earth will ascend to the status of fashion object Sometimes wisdom just turns into inanity. Nocilla Lab, originally published in 2009, is the third in a trilogy of novels from Agust n Fern ndez Mallo, brought into English by translator Thomas Bunstead, following Nocilla Dream 2006 and Nocilla Experience 2008.The book is from the wonderful Fitzcarraldo Editions This is their 22nd work of fiction, of which I ve read 16, although two of the missing ones are the first two parts of this trilogy.Copyright permitted, ainformative translation of the title into English might be Nutella Lab, as Nocilla is a rival brand of chocolate and hazelnut spread sold in Italy and Spain, and that gives an idea of the playful pop culture that co exists with serious literature as an inspiration for the author s highly innovative work As he explained to 3AM Magazine I create a whole network of metaphors which deal with the world of consumption and industry, the world of science, high and low culture etc., and I believe that this way of mixing materials in my particular case has beeninspired by conceptual art than by literature proper.However, of course there are authors who have influenced me, but you ll be surprised because they are very classical authors For example, I m very interested in mystic literature St John of the Cross , low intensity North American postmodernism Don DeLillo , central European literature Thomas Bernhard , Latin American Borges, Cort zar , Spanish Juan Benet Yes Thomas Bernhard again surely the most important writer of the 2nd half of the 20th Century adding later WG Sebald one of my reference points and has been for the last ten years and, elsewhere, Italo Calvino and Giorgio Manganelli, amongst others This novel begins with a 71 page it starts on page 11 , single sentence stream of thoughts from a first person narrator, also called Agust n Fern ndez Mallo and also author of two previous books called Nocilla Lab and Nocilla Experience For example from the first pagesthe only men I ve ever been interested in are those who have struck me as both entirely different from and better than me, those I consider cases , clinical cases , as the writer Emil Cioran had it when discussing a class of pathologically brilliant person, and it s in this regard, the clinical case regard, that I have always hoped to find in someone those same things that set the Replicant apart, the perfect being, existing on the edge of humanness, not beyond that edge but certainly not this side of it either, exactly on the biological frontier, such thoughts are absurd given that in the end we are allor less identical, not identical in the way, for instance, that 2 photons are identical, physics tells us photons are indistinguishable, but in the sense of very much alike , and this is why aspiring to such difference, any hope of ever becoming a clinical case oneself, turns out to be an infantile stance, though a desire to be different from other people can still help you to take action, to progress, to work through stress and anxiety, to be, that is, alive in a sense quite different from the being alive idea peddled by the bland Eastern philosophies, because stress promotes entropy, disorder, life, and one travels to different countries and sees there very different things flora and fauna wise, customs and appearances wise, all the things that distinguish races and cultures, and yet, sooner or later, one comes to the undeniable conclusion or formulation of what might even be a law, namely that everything, looked at in sufficient detail, is identical to its counterpart on the far side of the world zoom in and the leaf of a scrub plant in Sardinia is the same as that of an Alaskan pine tree, the skin pores of a Sudanese person are identical to those of an Inuit, and there really is nothing between a Buddha figure in Bangkok and a statuette of Christ in Despe aperros, Ja n, and so it is with everything, because of another law both general and true the tourist goes abroad and identifies with the things he or she finds there only because they call to mind something familiar, something that, without being exactly the same, is somewhat the same, the Replicant from Blade Runner, and all of this has a great deal to do with what we understand by the word frontier, by the overlapping of surfaces, because it would be monstrous to happen upon something absolutely new, it would be nightmarish and unbearable, just as two absolutely identical beings would be, and so we look for arguments to take us beyond this paradox The narration is something of a spiral, growing outwards and taking onthemes, but always returning to the certain familiar reference points and motifs inter alia a bar on an island south of Sardinia very similar to a bar in the Azores although neither he or his girlfriend has ever been to the Azores , the guitar case of a Gibson Les Paul, the last litter tray of a dead cat, a two piece bikini with a daisy print and a Paul Auster novel in Portuguese, the latter two both purchased on a trip to Las Vegas, an accident in Thailand which gave him the time to write the previous novel in the trilogy and a mysterious Project planned by him and his daisy print bikini wearing girlfriend which they plan to complete in Sardinia.In the novel itself, the narrator explains his preferred narrative approach note the reference to Giorgio Manganelli, the pop culture, and the way this particular stream of thoughts returns to that bar in SardiniaI have always tried to write totally amorally, like Coca Cola, moral roots unmanifest, maybe this is why I like the US, because, like me, it s inhabitants are uncouth, unconnected, tourists in their own lives, this is also why I am 100% with the artist John Currin when he says he only needs 10 minutes in the MoMA before he s had his fill, any longer and his own progress as an artist Ian going to be stunted, History s like a huge supermarket, that s the way it ought to be viewed, yes, that s got a ring to it, History as supermarket, I d get a tattoo of that if I didn t hate tattoos so much, and this method of telling stories amorally, documentarily, is not something I ve taken from literature but from a film I happened across in the early 90s, Japanese director Takeshi Kitano s Hana bi, a form of narration in which the only imperative is to follow the way it s own language breathes, an idea I then came across soon after in Giorgio Manganelli s fascinating book Centuria and that was corroborated for me, quite a long time later, the night I met the woman now sitting across from me in a bar on the island to the south of Sardinia that bore a resemblance to a bar in the Azores,The second part of the novel, told in short numbered chapter, each barely a paragraph, takes on ametafictional and sinister turn think Tales of the Unexpected and includes the narrator or possibly an alter ego , writing, or rewriting , the first section of the novel, interspersed with some grainy photographs supposedly taken by the narrator during this part of the narrative The third, which follows up on the story of the 2nd, is evenfragmentary and concludes that Agust n Fern ndez Mallo and his Nocilla Project may never have existed, but that certain great literary works may have concocted in homage to him, citing examples from Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Wittgenstein JG Ballard and Marguerite Duras amongst others And the fourth, in conjunction with the artist Pere Joan, is a graphic short story involving another post modern Spanish author, the excellent Enrique Vila Matas.It all adds up to a wonderful mix His Fitzcarraldo stable mate Matthias Enard has hailed him as the most original and powerful author of his generation in Spain he was born in 1967 and it is interesting to compare and contrast the two both highly literary and given to long unbroken page like sentences Enard s masterpiece Zone is one 521 page sentence but where as Enard is deliberately and rather anachronistically old fashioned and cultured, Fern ndez Mallo s writing is infused with pop culture and a network mix of manyextraliterary materials his words from the same 3AM interview Both are excellent While this certainly can be read stand alone, I suspect to fully appreciate it I would need to read the first two parts of the trilogy, as well as the associated film made by the author in parallel with the novels see , which unfortunately is only available in Spanish So 4 stars for now, but perhaps 5 when I can appreciate the Proyecto Nocilla Nocilla Project as a whole. I guess many of us have had an experience a bit like the following You wake up one night in the middle of a dream The dream was a jumble of things that all seemed out of order but it made sense in a dream like way Then you manage to go back to sleep and the dream continues This time, it seems a bitlogical but it takes a turn towards something weird, almost Kafka esque, and disturbing It reaches a violent climax that jerks you awake Then you lie there dozing, half asleep, half awake with dream like fragments of thought flashing through your mind.This, in essence, is what it feels like to read Nocilla Lab And then there s a short graphic novel at the end to finish it off.Nocilla Lab is the third part of the Nocilla trilogy All the books can be read on their own, but that is especially true of this final part which does not require you to read either of the first two parts one of the main characters is the author and he explains how and when he wrote the first two parts.The first part of the book Automatic Search Engine focusses on a couple, a man and a woman It is an 80 page sentence in which several different episodes in their life are jumbled and trigger further thoughts in the narrator s mind It is a bit like trying to get through a maze The narrative wanders down one path, but then suddenly turns off to another Sometimes, it sets off into something that seems completely unrelated, hits a dead end and goes back to where it was Often, it gets back to a point that the reader recognises and sets off again Our protagonists seem to wander the globe preparing for their mysterious Great Project which is contained in a guitar case they carry with them.It is confusing, but not as confusing as you might think I found the whole thing both mesmerising and addictive It returns to known points at just the right frequency for the reader to be able to keep some kind of orientation You feel as if you know what is happening despite the jumble and the additional side alleys etc..In the second part Automatic Engine , the same couple settle down in a strange weird even hotel It would spoil things to talk about what happens, but it begins to feel very much like a horror story.At this point, the page numbers stop but the book has not finished Part three is Engine Fragments The font changes, the page numbers disappear, and short paragraphs skitter around, some progressing the main theme s others seeming almost random.Then, to close things, there is a short graphic novel featuring Enrique Vila Matas on an oil rig.Seriously, what s not to like My personal experience of the whole trilogy has been that I loved the first part Nocilla Dream for it s dream like quality and the way it circled round a tree in the Nevada desert Part Two Nocilla Experience was, in some ways,of the same, but somehow didn t have quite the magic of the first part for me This final part, possibly my favourite, is completely different and I read it with a smile on my face The language and I assume a lot of credit goes to the translator here is very poetic and even the 80 page sentence is enjoyable at a sentence level I really enjoyed the stories told, as well as the way they are told I am not sure how or even if it all hangs together, but I am also not at all sure that hanging together is the point The author is part scientist, part poet and that is evident through the books As with a lot of poetry, the purpose isn t necessarily for everything to make logical sense butto create an impression and plant things in the reader s mind Anyone who has read many of my reviews will know that this is my favourite kind of book.This is a trilogy I would gladly read again and probably will at some point soon I can appreciate that it is not everyone s idea of fun, but I loved it.
Agust n Fern ndez Mallo La Coru a, 1967 es un f sico y escritor espa ol afincado en Palma de Mallorca Es uno de los miembros m s destacados de la llamada Generaci n Nocilla, Generaci n Mutante o Afterpop, cuya denominaci n m s popular procede del t tulo de una serie de sus novelas.
- 180 pages
- Nocilla Lab
- Agustín Fernández Mallo
- 14 January 2019 Agustín Fernández Mallo