My Five Minutes @DBookFestival
Thank you and good afternoon.
It is a pleasure to be here, at the Decatur Book Festival, with each of you. To have the occasion to say a few words about my debut novel, The Spectacle of Let—the Oliet and Obit.
In my first book, a duology, I embraced a fanciful and imaginative narrative, a magical style and genre common among many Latin American and Spanish writers. It is my best effort to honor a fantastic literary tradition while discovering my own contemporary American voice.
I wanted to write a book that was a both a story, in a traditional and familiar sense, and an experience, in an extraordinary and unfamiliar sense.
The Story: In an unfinished memoir, a writer, Otto Cristóbal Almeida, recounts his chance encounter and experience—meeting a mysterious and beautiful woman and their unplanned, illicit affair. The paramour, Niva Miramontes, is a literary muse, a modern siren with an extraordinary ability to tell fantastic stories about Creation and the first spoken word of God. “In the beginning,” she insists, “God said Let, and the rest is just a spectacle.”
Her fanciful stories turn into a rambling saga, a generational story of the Portuondo family, their exile from Havana, Cuba and ultimate redemption in the magical world of Veracruz, Mexico. Through her tales, Miramontes explains the unique powers of the Portuondo’s known as The Blood of Sound, and her own celestial gift called, the Voice.
Enchanted but overwhelmed, Almeida becomes lost in his own unfinished manuscript while the power of Miramontes stories invade his life in the form of a dreams dream known as an “Oliet.”
Through an encounter with himself, in the throes of the dreams dream, Almeida has an epiphany and comes to terms with his struggling manuscript. Fate however is not kind. His unfinished manuscript lands on desk of his brooding editor, L. Rand Bonarias who must discern where Almeida’s fiction begins and ends. What is real and true, imagination or creativity, and who is Niva Miramontes.
The Experience: If the story portion of, The Spectacle of Let is like common and familiar stories we tell about our own lives—a simple beginning, middle and end, where we are born, what we do and, where we are going on our next vacation—the experience portion is about the untold and unspoken stories of our reality. The complex parts we do not and cannot understand, the mysteries we love and quietly embrace. What after all is life without mystery?
There are countless twist and turns in The Spectacle of Let full of allegory and parable, myth and gospel, with a touch of theology. Perhaps a genre, that could be called, “Magical theology”. It is an adventure into the nature of words themselves, their origins, their vexing meaning and power in our lives. It is the story of the first spoken word of God and the possibility that miracles and force of Creation itself, is incomplete and ongoing. It is a creative narrative about things, we cannot not understand.
It is my hope that the story and experience of The Spectacle of Let, will fire your imagination as it did mine. Please come by my table and visit with me. If you purchase, The Spectacle of Let, I have a small ink stamp to accompany my signature. Just like a visa/stamp, one gets when crossing a border, into another country. My way of welcoming you to The Spectacle of Let-the Oliet and Obit.
Thank you for listening to me today. You can find out more about my current book and the companion novel at my web site www.Zamarripa.com. Thank you