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This essay engages with the questions of the global novel and the so-called theory of the novel from the perspective of Latin American literary theory. The first section of the essay departs from Roberto Fernández Retamar's arguments about literary theory to discuss the importance of understanding the location of theory, and the way it makes objects like the global novel thinkable solely from the perspective of the (dis)alignments of Latin America with the world system and world literature. Second, the text engages in a discussion of Ángel Rama's theories of transculturation and the national-popular novel to argue that the region's theoretical legacies were built in tension to the global and the type of writing we now call world literature. Finally, the third section unfolds this debate through the contrast of the two most important Mexican novels of the turn of the twenty-first century: Daniel Sada's Porque parece mentira la verdad nunca se sabe and Jorge Volpi's In Search of Klingsor.