Mario Bellatin’s Salón de belleza centers on the production of space, rather than on the existence of things and persons occupying or moving through an already constituted space. This focus on production underlines the social and political nature of space. As recent work by cultural geographers suggests, space is a condensation of the acts that comprise it. As such, it exists for certain persons and certain activities and can facilitate or hinder action. In the case of Salón de belleza, the acts that can constitute space are ultimately limited to one sole act, to dying. I argue that the hyper-allegorization in the novel causes the reader to experience the creation of an analogous deathly space that seems to restrict or compromise interpretative life. However, the space-time of allegory theorized by Walter Benjamin, Idelbar Avelar and others undermines the apparent ideological closure of allegory understood narrowly as spatialized representation.


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pp. 503-524
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