BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Dark Constellations by Pola Oloixarac, translated by Roy Kesey [in Booklist]

Justine Eyre takes a voyage around and through the world, voicing three centuries of enigmatic, peripatetic characters in Pola Oloixarac’s genre-defying latest. Divided into three distinct sections, the epic – a mere five hours in duration but dense as multi-layered allegory – opens in the Canary Islands of 1882, one of many international stops naturalist/explorer Niklas Bruun will make in search of an elusive plant purported to permeate borders between species.

Jump ahead a century to 1983 Argentina where the de facto protagonist Cassio morphs from chubby-cheeked toddler to hacker extraordinaire and eventually joins a shadowy company working with the Ministry of Genetics to … well, jump again, this time to 2024, when ubiquitous genetic surveillance is used to track (manipulate? control?) all citizens. Cassio, who’s (im)matured into a greedy misogynist, is precariously balanced by co-worker Piera, who seems to be one of the last people not obsessed with domination.

Eyre adroitly adopts identities, whether lasting a few phrases or multiple pages, as she embodies Oloixarac’s unpredictable narrative – animating the mundane, unfazed by the bizarre.

Review: “Media,” Booklist, August 1, 2019

Readers: Adult

Published: 2019



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