The Body Where I Was Born
El cuerpo en que nací
Inspired by the author’s own childhood, El cuerpo en que nací is the story of a girl born with a birth defect in her eye. Her life, during the 1970s, is marked by her poor vision but also by the dominant ideology of the times: the open marriageof her parents, her militant teachers, hippy communes, sexual freedom and its consequences. Her physical and psychological idiosyncrasies cause her to see the people who live on margins of society and the edge of social conventions as her kindred spirits. Written as a soliloquy from a psychoanalyst’s chaise lounge, the narrator reveals her most intimate secrets and the meaning that she gives to her own existence.
This is a story full of humor, but also of realism, in which the world of childhood is much more ominous than it seems at first sight. A novel about the journey to adulthood and the discovery of literature, a bildungsroman that takes place between Latin America and Europe and which avoids cliché. South American exile, North African migration and the prisons of Mexico City are the context for this moving novel, which traces apersonal journey towards dignity and self-acceptance. With her new novel Guadalupe Nettel confirms something that the critics have been celebrating since her literary debut: that she is one of the most important voices in Spanish language writing of the last decade.
"It is a book that, in less than 200 pages, manages to raise and resolve three impeccable objectives: firstly, telling a story of initiation and learning; secondly, expressing how a literary vision is built; and thirdly, writing a tale with a moving moral focus, that of a woman who reveals her doubts as she educates her children and remembers how she was educated in the past. A book in the style of my own work and similar to novels published this year by Patricio Pron and Alejandro Zambra". (Marcos Giralt Torrente, El Cultural).
Guadalupe Nettel was born in Mexico in 1973 and grew up between Mexico and France. She obtained a PhD in linguistics from the EHESS in Paris. She is the author of the international award winning novels El huésped (2006), The body Where I was Born (2011) and After the Winter (2014, Herralde Novel Prize). She has also published three collections of short stories: Les jours fossils (2002), Pétalos y otras historias incómodas (2008), Natural Histories (2013, Ribera del Duero Prize). In 2008 she was named by the Hay Festival as one of the more promising Latin American authors.
Her work has been translated into more than seventeen languages and has appeared in publications such as Granta, The White Review, El País, The New York Times in Spanish,La Repubblica and La Stampa, among many others. She currently lives in Mexico City where she’s the director of the magazine Revista de la Universidad de México.