novembro 05, 2009

About two weeks ago Simone Federman sent this message for those who used to exchange E-mails with her father Raymond Federman. I had this privilege to be one who got some genuine writing lectures that Raymond gave at any question I sent on his own books, or postmodernism, or even on Samuel Beckett. The fact is that Raymond wrote a book on Beckett before his first novel was ever printed, so he was always eager to talk about Beckett. In his last E-mail for me he sent a copy of the text he wrote for an Alt-X collective book on postmodernism. He was always a gentleman in his way to please his admirers...

Raymond Federman, who coined the word “surfiction” for his writings.

Now this lovely letter from his daughter Simone:

October 6, 2009

My father died this morning. Last night I read all of "The Voice in The Closet" to him in one breath, 75 pages: one sentence. I stopped on page 61 to cry, and then we both cried at the end.

He had not been responsive for more than 24 hours, so this was especially magical.I thanked him for all the books, all the beautiful sentences, this being the most beautiful I had ever read. I thanked him for being the best father I could ever imagine. I told him he would always be my best friend. His eyebrows told me to stop crying. So I did. I told him I understood because he had taught me about laughter.

I went to bed on the pull-out couch next to his bed. I half heard his loud heavy breathing stop and roused to call my mom, who had already had a beautiful tearful last goodbye, and the nurse. He had died. We said kaddish for him at the mortuary, and he was cremated, as he wished, like his mother, father and sisters, at about noon.

We are planning to spread some of the ashes, maybe some noodles too, at his golf course, maybe even make a drop at the casino, and then bring some to France to spread at his former apartment and Le Cimetière Marin (the one in the Valéry poem he wanted me to read to him last week).

My mother and I, my sister Robin and brothers, James and Steve are planning a memorial celebration of his life in San Diego in the coming weeks, details to come.

We are okay, feeling strong. We had a really special last few weeks with him, not to mention a really special 47 to 49 years. I apologize for the group e-mail. I just wanted you to know.

Much love,

Raymond reading “The Voice in the Closet”.

novembro 03, 2009

Eternally Pagu

A member of Brazil's avant-garde in its heyday. Patrícia Galvão (or to use her nickname, Pagu) was extraordinary. Not only was her work among the most exciting and innovative published in the 1930s, it was unique in portraying an avant-garde woman's view of women in Sao Paulo during that audacious period. Industrial Park, first published in 1933, is Galvão's most notable literary achieve-ment. Like Döblin's portrayal of Berlin in Alexanderplatz or Biely's St Petersburg, it is a book about the voices, clashes, and traffic of a city in the middle of rapid change. It includes fragments of public documents as well as dialogue and narration, giving a panorama of the city in a sequence of colorful slices. The novel dramatizes the problems of exploitation, poverty, racial prejudice, prostitution, state repression, and neocolonialism, but it is by no means a doctrinaire tract. Galvão's ironic wit pervades the novel, aspiring not only to describe the teeming city but also to put art and politics in each other's service. Like many of her contemporaries Galvão was a member of the Brazilian Communist Party. She attracted Party criticism for her unorthodox behavior and outspokenness. A visit to Moscow in 1934 disenchanted her with the communist state, but she continued to militate for change upon returning to Brazil. She was imprisoned and tortured under the Vargas dictatorship between 1935 and 1940. In the 1940s she returned to the public through her journalism and literary activities. She died in 1962.

Patricia Galvão - Pagu

Click for her book INDUSTRIAL PARK