Following on his novel The Invented Part (2017), avant-garde Argentinian writer Frésan looks into the world of dreams and finds a rich trove for interpretation.
Early on, Frésan introduces us to a writer who hasn’t written for so long that he’s no longer really a writer at all, and “to be an exwriter isn’t just to not be a writer anymore, it is, in a way, to never have been one.” The books remain, sure, but now all he has to sell are his dreams. The dream world is a place of “experiments gone awry,” a place where Bono can dream up a Roy Orbison song that never existed and have Orbison show up at his door to claim it, a place visited by shape-shifters such as one Stella D’Or, who might be “an intellectual rocker,” or a street fighter who destroys the neon lights that get in the way of a good night’s sleep, or a monster who troubles one’s dreams. Themes appear, disappear, reappear; one is insomnia, which is not the subject of a book interpreting it “because there are no two insomniacs alike or systematizable.” Yet it is in lack of dreams that reason produces its true monsters. The mysterious character from The Invented Part named IKEA returns to take part in the proceedings, as do Frésan-ian touchstones like Sigmund Freud and Vladimir Nabokov, the latter of whom “had a more than interesting relationship with the insomnia that pursued him and caught him and made him suffer throughout his entire life.“ And, of course, John Lennon, Emily Brontë, Bob Dylan, and countless other figures from cultural history roam in and out of the oneiric night along with fictional characters such as the aptly named Penelope, who does write, weaving stories about ascending Mount Karma, Alfred Hitchcock, and the Talking Heads, waking up in a start to do so, “because for Penelope, to write is the only thing left for her to write.”
A splendid though demanding entertainment, playful and pensive at once and beautifully written throughout.