Posts Tagged ‘Argentina’

Comedian Aziz Ansari surveys the state of ‘Modern Romance’ with his first book

June 2, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
June 2, 2016

One of the things I did on my trip to Colorado last fall, besides watch a Stanford football victory with my Sibling, was watch a few episodes of Master of None with my Sibling and Sibling-in-Law. This sitcom, a Netflix exclusive, was released the day before the Stanford-Colorado game and generated a fair amount of buzz. It was co-created by and stars comedian Aziz Ansari, a native of Columbia, S.C., whose parents emigrated from India.

We enjoyed the episodes. About two months later, come time of the winter solstice, that prompted my Sibling’s family to give me Ansari’s book, Modern Romance. Due to one thing and another, I began reading it in late February, but it wasn’t until last week that I finished the volume.

The book, Ansari’s first, is a comic examination of, yes, contemporary romance, mainly among heterosexuals in America. But some of the most interesting aspects of the text actually describe how modern domestic romance compares and contrasts with the way things used to be here and the way things are in four foreign nations — Japan, France, Qatar and Argentina. (To be precise, it mainly involves the state of things in those countries’ capitals.)

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Coffee aficionado, merchant, outer space adventurer: The philosophical meanderings of Angelica Gorodischer’s ‘Trafalgar’

May 18, 2015

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
May 18, 2015

Trafalgar is an engaging anthology of stories about the adventures and misadventures of Trafalgar Medrano. This mischievous space-faring merchant hails from Rosario, a key Argentinian port on the Paraná River. (The city, which is real, is about 185 miles upriver from Buenos Aires, the nation’s capital.)

The book was written by Angélica Gorodischer, a longtime resident of Rosario who won a World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement in 2011. Trafalgar was first published in 1979; an English translation by Amalia Gladhart appeared in 2013.

All of Trafalgar’s tales are literally that — stories told by the merchant. A few come to us secondhand — in one account, Medrano describes one journey to a group of men playing cards; in another, the narrator’s 84-year-old Aunt Josefina relates a story that Medrano told her the other day about a tragic love affair on a distant world. There’s also a monologue delivered to an unknown individual.

Most of the time, however, Medrano seems to be speaking to a woman in Rosario — typically, one presumes, the author herself, or at least someone who shares her profession. (The story told in the group setting, about a beautiful scientist who joins the mysterious frenzied dances of a primitive race on a remote world, appears to have been passed on to the author by one of those present, although it’s not clear whom.)

By framing her narrative this way, Gorodischer is exploring the experience of hearing stories.

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