The Ingenious Gentleman and Poet Federico García Lorca Ascends to Hell (The Margellos World Republic of Letters)
By Carlos Rojas
In Carlos Rojas’s ingenious novel, the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca, murdered by means of Francoist rebels in August 1936, reveals himself in an inferno that by some means resembles Breughel’s Tower of Babel. He sits by myself in a small theater during this deepest hell, viewing scenes from his personal lifestyles played again and again and over. all of sudden, doppelgängers seem, one a middle-aged Lorca, the opposite an irascible octogenarian self, and the poet faces a nightmarish confusion of different identities and destinies.
Carlos Rojas makes use of a gorgeous premise—García Lorca in hell—to reexamine the poet’s existence and speculate on possible choices to his tragic finish. Rojas creates with a surrealist’s eye and an ethical philosopher’s brain. He conjures a profoundly unique international, and in so doing earns a spot between such foreign friends as Gabriel García Márquez, Philip Roth, J. M. Coetzee, and José Saramago.