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170 the minnesota review in the sense of determinate commitments to progressive, liberatory struggles, rather than race, ethnicity, class, or national origin, ultimately hold the key to any correct understanding of contemporary history. If Fanon, Cabrai, Che, Marmol, and Mao have taught us to think in this manner, it is perhaps well to recall who first taught them to do so. MICHAEL SPRINKER Questing Fictions: Latin America's Family Romance by Djelal Kadir. Theory and History of Literature, Volume 32. Minneapolis: U Minnesota P, 1986. pp. 163. $29.50 (cloth); $12.95 (paper). This book brings the fuU force of deconstructionist practice to the field of Latin American literature in a way that is at once chaUenging and problematic. The treatment of major authors such as Jorge Luis Borges, Alejo Carpentier, Jose Lezama Lima, Juan Rulfo and Carlos Fuentes is done in a field of interrelations that exemplify what deconstructive practice can deploy, particularly as it is known in American universities. Traditional approaches to exegesis , periodization and thematization of these great contemporary authors give way to a rich process of strict literary intertextuality that Professor Kadir displays with rigor and imagination. Whether or not this unquestionably fertile mode of reading can lay claim to a theory of criticism capable of overturning all forms of discourse except itself is, however, open to debate. One of the most important challenges Kadir presents to us (and to his own project, one would assume) is the articulation of Latin American Literature as the quintessence of nonrepresentational discourse, and this, for reasons that ask to be seen as profoundly historical. At stake, then, is not just a fresh deconstructive look at some contemporary Latin American classics, but the search for an original rhetorical force within the history of Latin America from which its literature, or its foundational discourse, can be derived. One such a force is situated in the semantic abyss corresponding to the discovery of America and the colonial chronicles, the errors committed in the process of naming (taming, colonizing, inscribing) the New World in the name of pre-established notions (nomenclature, signifieds, representational schemes) become a sort of "original transgression" from which Latin America's texts will flow. The lack of correspondence between the linguistic and conceptual frameworks of the conquering and conquered worlds turns into a ruling principle of error exemplified by the constant search for identity which has historically characterized Latin American literature. Error, absence, lack of center, confusion, search for identity, desire to name the abyss—all become signifiers that govern and inform Latin American writing. In Kadir's framework the best example of this contradictory search for and confirmation of an epistemologica! absence can be found in the new corpus of the Latin American novelistic boom, that is, the narrative form as exemplified by some of the most renowned authors from this area whose works came to world-wide acknowledgement in the sixties and seventies. True to the spirit of Kadir's critical enterprise, the letter of his text is no mere rendition of the above mentioned conceptual premises, but a discourse that seeks the role of signifier in and of itself, hence creating a certain amount of unease in the reader whose tracking of a rather complex argument will foten find a text fully committed to its own pursuit of deconstructive creativity. Thus, Questing Fictions is characterized by its unconditional search for a writing experience that mirrors in its theory of reading the object of its analysis. Such a method particularly seeks to unveil the transparency of the "critical distance" presumed by traditional criticism, although its passion for self-reflexivity introduces a hyper-conscious diversion and a propensity for paraphrasing equivalent meanings irrespective of the author under discussion, for the reason that Difference governs both signifier and signified. This other readeing, "the sybaritic aestheticism of an inventive reader" (24), inevitably obliges Reviews 171 the critic to dwell on how this book produces a text as much as on its avowed topic: Latin American literature. To the extent that Kadir has managed to outUne the difficulty inherent in reading Latin American literature, his book makes a definite contribution, even if some readers ultimately find his own writing somewhat laborious...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2157-4189
Print ISSN
0026-5667
Pages
pp. 170-175
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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