The OF Blog: World Cup of Fiction: June 25 Matches

Friday, June 25, 2010

World Cup of Fiction: June 25 Matches

Last day of group play!  And I have my toughest match to write about, since I have friends of mine who are Brazilian writers/editors and still more friends who are Portuguese writers/editors.  While I shall keep mum on who I am supporting (or not, if you know about the Twitter bet I have) in the actual match later this morning, I do believe it'll be an easy call on the literary side.  But since I'm a bit rushed for time, not as many pictures this time (only for the feature matches).

Group G

Portugal versus Brazil - Outside of any of the US matches, this is the group play match I have wanted to see most on the sports side.  As for the literary, well, it's tough to go against the Portuguese, who shall be led by Fernando Pessoa for this match, while the Brazilians will turn to master novelist Jorge Amado to provide the counterattack:

Prediction:  This will be an exciting, back and forth battle.  Amado will set up his fellow Brazilians for several opportunities, but Pessoa will continue to confound the Brazilian defense with his multiple pseudonyms and with his witticisms.  Saramago and Camões will end up being second half substitutions that will end up providing the Lusitania side with the decisive goal, as they clinch the top spot in Group G.

North Korea versus Côte d'Ivoire - Just as virtually no one outside these two countries cares about this match on the sports side, the literary match-up is just so dreary that I can't bring myself to paste another photo of Kim Jong Il here.

Prediction: Literary version of 0-0 draw with no shots on goal.

Group H

 Spain versus Chile - This is the other match-up that I want to watch today.  I think I'll get a decent sports match to watch, but on the literary side, I can compare some of my favorite writers!  Who should I choose?  For the Spanish, I've already highlighted Miguel Cervantes and while I could do with fellow Siglo del Oro writers Lope de Vega and Calderón de la Barca, I think I'll turn to the 21st century for the chosen star for each side.  For the Spanish, I select Carlos Ruiz Zafón, who is I believe the first Spaniard since Cervantes to sell over 10 million copies of his fiction globally.  For the Chilean side, after having already highlighted the late, great Roberto Bolaño, for this match I'll go with one of the leaders of the 1990s McOndo literary movement, Alberto Fuguet:
Prediction:  Another close, tense, exciting match with first place on the line.  Zafón's combination of melodramatic settings and evocative writing is countered deftly by Fuguet's updates on Bukowski and Sallinger's best work (his first novel, Mala Onda, or Bad Vibes in English), as well as his ability to tell a good narrative involving movies of the 1970s and early 1980s.  Although La Furia Roja does have a slew of excellent poets and dramatists, the Chileans have their own strong poetic side, plus they have first dibs on Roberto Bolaño.  This literary match ends in a 2-2 draw, with the Chileans claiming the top seed and the right to be the best "Roja" in this group.

Switzerland versus Honduras - Although the sports sides do have something to play for, their literary counterparts are so far behind the Spanish and Chileans in interest that instead of repeating the same lineups from their last matches, I'll just say re-read that earlier post.

Prediction:  The Swiss build a strong defense following the models shown in The Swiss Family Robinson and they win 1-0 in a rather boring affair.

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