Sunday, August 03, 2008
Stop me if you've heard this before: Talented female author mixes in gender role analysis and deep, introspective societal examination with prose that is evocative. But instead of being an Anglo-American writer such as Ursula Le Guin or Marion Zimmer Bradley, Argentinian author Angélica Gorodischer sadly is barely known here in the United States, despite a body of work in Spanish that rivals that of Le Guin or any other SF/fantasy author, male and female alike.
Gorodischer was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1928, although she has lived most of her life in Rosario, Argentina. She has been active in writing all sorts of fiction, from SF to mysteries to feminist literature and criticism, with Kalpa Imperial (1983, 1984 in two parts; English translation done by Le Guin in 2003) being her most famous work outside of Latin America. Active from 1964 to the present, her stories depend heavily upon introspection and the presentation of rather ridiculous societal practices in a new setting to accentuate the asinine nature of things such as patriarchal attitudes and the over-reliance upon tradition to guide people. Currently, only Kalpa Imperial (which incidentally contains an oblique critique of the military junta that ruled there from 1976-1983) and the story "The Violet's Embryos" (published in the anthology Cosmos Latinos in 2003) are available in English translation.
This is a crying shame, as Gorodischer is one of those rare authors whose prose and themes resonate between generations and between cultures. Hopefully, some reading this will be encouraged to check out either one of the two English translations, or if they are able to read Spanish, will try reading her works in the original, such as the story collection Bajo las Jubeas en flor, which I'm currently reading.
Edit: For a very good interview with Gorodischer, here's a link to the Fantastic Metropolis interview that Gabriel Mesa conducted a few years ago.