The Wake

(El rastro) 

2002

“My name is Nora García,” says the narrator as she starts this novel, and while entering the house where the wake of her ex, Juan, is being held. In the coffin lays a body that she knew all too well, and surrounding him are the scores, the albums, and the piano that he, a musician, used to play. Nora recognizes some of the people that are at the wake, people she hadn’t seen in years, and while wandering around she starts to remember old conversations, dinner parties, and concerts that she went to with her now death partner. All of this is narrated as an interior monologue, a form that makes it possible for the narrator to intertwine her memories with heartfelt thoughts on Bach, Gould, Prokofiev, Richter, Pergolesi and Satie, as well as reflections on the peculiarities of the castrati, her views on cello modulations, chamber music, and, even, heart disease. With a complex and sensitive prose, Margo Glantz manages in this book to convey, in a unique way, the pain of losing a beloved man by writing a beautiful novel about grief, music and love.

 

Winner of the Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Prize 2004

Finalist of the XX Herralde Novel Prize 2002

Critics

“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

• English: Curbstone Books

• Spanish: (Colombia and Chile) Laguna Libros;

                (Argentina, Uruguay, México) Almadía.