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WRITERS | Puentesagency | Chile

The remains

(El rastro) 


The way you hold a cello, the way light lands in a Caravaggio, the way the castrati hit notes like no one else could—a lifetime of conversations about art and music and history unfolds for Nora Garcia as she and a crowd of friends and fans send off her recently deceased ex-husband, Juan. Like any good symphony, there are themes and repetitions and contrapuntal notes. We pingpong back and forth between Nora’s life with Juan (a renowned pianist and composer, and just as accomplished a raconteur) and the present day (the presentness of the past), where she sits among his familiar things, next to his coffin, breathing in the particular mix of mildew and lilies that overwhelm this day and her thoughts. In Glantz’s hands, music and art access our most intimate selves, illustrating and creating our identities, and offering us ways to express love and loss and bewilderment when words cannot suffice. As Nora says, “Life is an absurd wound: I think I deserve to be given condolences.”

Finalist of the XX Herralde Novel Prize 2002

Winner of the Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Prize 2004


“One of the most important and, in terms of style, best-achieved novels of Mexican iterature in the last few years. A musical track”.

—José Manuel Prieto. Letras Libres


Margo Glantz’s book is an essay-novel where the author’s great erudition on music, poetry, painting and general knowledge are interwoven as an ars ombinatorial in the most imaginative, sensible and organic way possible. Fiction isn’t impeded by intellectual perfectionism. Glantz reaches harmoniously and melodically a tone of fiction essay and of an essay elegantly fictionalized.

—Blanca Estela Treviño

Rights sold

• Spanish (Colombia and Chile): Laguna Libros

• Spanish (Argentina, Uruguay, México, Puerto Rico, Canada, and US): Almadía.

• English (World): Charco Press

• Bulgarian (World): MATCOM

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