Crude Words

Crude Words - Cover (FINAL).jpg“This book manages to bring together a fascinating selection of different types of stories and crónicas (reports) so as to offer a justly complex and distinct narrative of Venezuela. It is an extraordinary effort, a doorway that only good writing can offer: where ambiguity manages to overcome the kingdom of stereotypes, to defeat the Manichean moralism which aims to turn history into a mere paean. Here is a country that survives its own headlines. A country to be read.” – From the foreword by Alberto Barrera Tyska.

While Venezuela may be known around the world for its oil or its politics, Venezuelan writing remains almost entirely unknown, with only a handful of books having been published in English in recent years. Crude Words is our response to this gap, a celebration of Venezuelan literary talent.

Co-edited by Montague Kobbe, Tim Girven and Katie Brown, and published by Ragpicker Press, Crude Words brings together 30 pieces of writing by Venezuelans, including short stories, extracts from novels, and essays, from genres as diverse as journalism to erotica. There are pieces about food shortages, police brutality and the all-pervasive fear of violent crime, but there is also love, and sex, fantasy and fun.

Crude Words includes:

Foreword by Alberto Barrera Tyska: ‘To Read a Country’

I THE ART OF LOVE: SEX, PORN & CONFLICT

* Gustavo Valle, ‘Corny or Porny’ (Lo porno y lo cursi)
* Ednodio Quintero, ‘The Princess of Escurufini’ (La princesa de Escurrufiní)
* Gisela Kozak, ‘Passion’ (La pasión)
* Miguel Gomes, ‘Christina Cries at Three O’Clock'(Lorena llora a las tres)
* Miguel Hidalgo Prince ‘Halfway There’ (A medio camino)

II DEATH & TRANSFIGURATION

* Slavko Zupcic, ‘Literary Solutions to the Death of my Mother-in-Law’ (Soluciones literarias a la muerte de mi suegra)
* Federico Vegas, ‘The Tent’ (La carpa)
* Jesús Miguel Soto, ‘One of Many Potential Shortcuts’ (Uno de muchos posibles atajos)
* Carolina Lozada, ‘The Vilalgers’ (Los pobladores)
* Liliana Lara, ‘The Body’ (El cuerpo)
* Israel Centeno, ‘The Expedition of the Dolls’ (La expedición de los muñecos)

III TRAVELS & EXILE

* Leonardo Padrón, ‘Variations on Goodbye’ (Formas del adiós)
* Salvador Fleján, ‘Intrigue in the Carwash’ (Intriga en el car wash)
* Eduardo Sánchez Rugeles, ‘Ljubljana’ (Lubliana)
* Freddy Gonçalves, ‘Chasing Rabbits’ (Cacería de conejos)
* Victoria de Stefano, ‘On a Bad Day in 1979’ (En un día malo de 1979)
* Francisco Suniaga, ‘The Other Island’ (La Otra Isla)

IV CARACAS: CITY OF FRAUD & FEAR

* Héctor Torres, ‘What Do They Call Those Born in Chivacoa?’ (¿Cómo se llama a los que nacen en Chivacoa?)
* Héctor Concari, ‘Blanes in Flahback’ (Blanes en flashback)
* Roberto Martínez Bachrich, ‘While the Blood Dries’ (Mientras se seca la sangre)
* Rodrigo Blanco, ‘Clown’ (Payaso)
* Juan Carlos Méndez Guédez, ‘The Briefcases’ (Los maletines)

V THE STATE OF THE NATION (AND HOW IT GOT TO THIS)

* Eduardo Liendo, ‘Patriotic Stuff’ (Vainas de la patria)
* Maye Primera, ‘I Want the Bones of my Son’ (Solo quiero los restos de mi hijo)
* Albinson Linares, ‘The Living Ruins of the Tower of David’ (Las ruinas vivas de la Torre de David)
* Doménico Chiappe, ‘The Long Road to Nowhere’ (Largo viaje inmóvil)
* Carolos Sandoval, ‘Any Old S’ (S cualquiera)
* Willy McKey, ‘A Chronicle of Scarcity’ (Una crónica de la escasez)
* Boriz Muñoz, ‘A Country Poles Apart’ (En un país de los antipodas)

Click here to buy from my favourite bookshop Mr B’s (alternate bookshops are available).

Read a piece by co-editor Katie Brown and a review in the Glasgow Review of Books here.

Read a review in Asymptote here.

Read an interview with Katie Brown in BristoLatino here

Read an interview with co-editor and Ragpicker founder Tim Girven (in Spanish) here.

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