Shortlisted for the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize in 2021.
Here are six stories that capture Guadalupe Nettel’s unsettling, obsessive universe. “Ptosis” is told from the point of view of the son of a photographer whose work involves before and after pictures of patients undergoing cosmetic eye surgeries. In “Through Shades,” a woman studies a man interacting with a woman through the windows of the apartment across the street. In one of the longer stories, “Bonsai,” a man visits a garden, and comes to know a gardener, during the period of dissolution of his marriage. “The Other Side of the Dock” describes a young girl in search of what she terms “True Solitude,” who finds a fellow soul mate only to see the thing they share lose its meaning. In “Petals,” a woman’s odour drives a man to search for her, and even to find her, without quenching the thirst that is his undoing. And the title story, “Bezoar,” is an intimate journal of a patient writing to a doctor. Each narrative veers towards unknown and dark corridors, and the pleasures of these accounts lie partly in the great surprise of the familiarity together with the strangeness.
‘Nettel’s eye slightly deforms things and gives rise to tension, subtle but persistent, that immerses us in an uncomfortable reality, disquieting, even disturbing—a gaze that illuminates her prose like an alien sun shining down on our world.’—Valeria Luiselli, author of Lost Children Archive