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When he reads about a mysterious explosion in the distant countryside the narrator’s thoughts turn to his disappeared childhood friend M who was abducted from his home years ago during a spasm of political violence in Buenos. Exuisite start to finish Seriously some of the finest writing on memory and loss I ve ever had the pleasure of reading The Planets was my first Sergio Chejfec and most certainly will not be my last I m blown away This one will stick with me for a very very long time

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Los Planetas

D relive the time they spent together wandering the streets of Buenos AiresSergio Chejfec’s The Planets is an affecting and innovative exploration of mourning remembrance and friendship by one of Argentina’s modern masters. I won t pretend to completely understand everything that is going on in The Planets Despite that I can appreciate that with its publication by Open Letter Books Sergio Chejfec has presented English readers with a gentle novel on friendship grief and loss It is ostensibly a collection of memories told to us by the narrator about his childhood friend M M was abducted during Argentina s Dirty War He disappeared his fate unknown leaving his friends and family in a kind of limbo Sergio Chejfec has stated that the book is in part based on a real life friend who did disappear in the 1970 s Some years later the narrator reads in the newspaper about an explosion outside of Buenos Aires He believes for no good reason and without evidence as far as I can see that M was killed in it What he has come to see as confirmation of M s death unleashes the flood of memories which make up The Planets Eventually leading him to some kind of closureMemories are not bound by the law of causality linear space or time And so we are forced to follow the disorganized train of the narrator s thoughts Interspersed between the memories of M are other related memories an encounter the narrator has with his and M s mutual friend meeting M s mother after the abduction stories told to him by M and M s father It becomes tricky keeping track This meandering stream of conscious style was also present in My Two Worlds but the geography of the park in which that narrator walked provided a structure Structure which I badly missed in The Planets at least in the early chapters Coming to terms with the lack of a lineal storytelling is a hurdle that has to be overcome in order to appreciate this novelLike The Catcher in the Rye The Planets is obliuely about grief Like Salinger Chejfec plays this information close to the chest He engulfs you in his narrator s subconscious leaving you to experience first hand the strange distance combined with an eery connection that exists between the person lost and the other left Holden Caulfield mentions his dead brother briefly in passing but his loneliness informs every line of the novel The narrator of The Planets has assembled a montage of memories yet his connection to M he eventually acknowledges is stretching and becoming tenuous To confuse matters his memories of M are mixed with fictional stories he s come to associate with the friendship Some of those stories are split into parts appearing at random intervals through the course of the book It s often difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction but the experience of the narrator attempting to hold on to his grief and through the emotion of grief his friend is recognizable and feels real in its very ambiguity Heather Cleary the translator has done a remarkable job of capturing what she refers to as a certain productive dissonance in the textA highlight of The Planets which is foremost a novel of ideas is the narrator s explanation of how the static existence or non existence of M created by his disappearance and the mystery of his fate has changed the orbits the two young men once traveled in relation to each other Chejfec continuously references space gravity stars and the planets The ongoing metaphor that he s created is startling because it is so beautifulSergio Chejfec seems to have an attachment to the cosmos as demonstrated by his choice of titles My Two Worlds The Planets and the upcoming The Dark seem too pointed to be coincidental As of his books are translated into English perhaps the significance if one exists will come to light Which segues nicely into why I find Chejfec s writing interesting and exciting There s so much there to explore These aren t books to be uickly consumed and just as uickly forgotten The Planets will linger frustrate and engage demanding you return to it to fully understood and appreciate its many layers for example I haven t even touched on the political aspect of the wartime setting This is what I like best about Sergio Chejfec s novels like the great classics of literature they live and grow with the reader As such they are never finished

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Aires in the early 1970s He convinces himself that M must have died in this explosion and he begins to tell the story of their friendship through a series interconnected vignettes hoping in this way to reanimate his friend an. Sergio Chejfec writesNeither of us would have imagined that years later these events would be written down on paper If we had foreseen this we would have acted differently guiding our steps according to our idea of posterity fortunately we did not This foreseeing should be clarified however given that if M knew the reasons why I would end up writing these pages he certainly would have done what was needed to avoid his abduction though in fact he did nothing at all to cause it They say that one could avoid innumerable problems mistakes and catastrophes if one knew how things were going to turn out but this is an impossible dream The most extreme example of this is that we are all certain of death and even expanding things a bit about the decline of civilization the destruction of the environment and the inevitable ostracism of the sun but are still unable to avoid the end What keeps us from losing hope in the fact of this inescapable truth A belief in the interim in the fact that in the meantime things happen that are worth experiencing


10 thoughts on “Los Planetas

  1. says:

    Both of Chejfec's books that have been translated into English The Planets and My Two Worlds have proven themselves somewhat difficult to get t

  2. says:

    A good book about friendship identity and political violence and terror Sometimes it drags too much and I would prefer a bit action and less introspection and a bit of humor too So overall it's a uite boring book Excellent translation

  3. says:

    Exuisite start to finish Seriously some of the finest writing on memory and loss I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading The Planets was my first Sergio Chejfec and most certainly will not be my last I’m blown away This one will stick with me for a very very long time

  4. says:

    Uneven ultimately — parts of it are lovely deeply felt and engaging and parts are not failing alternately for being too vague or too explicit Too many connections are explained which should have been left to intuit and too much time is spent talking about silence when some actual silence would have sufficed I'm left with the suspicion that this book isn't uite about what Chejfec thinks it's about that the Sebaldian meditatio

  5. says:

    Sergio Chejfec writesNeither of us would have imagined that years later these events would be written down on paper If we had foreseen this we would have acted differently guiding our steps according to our idea of posterity; fortunately we did not This foreseeing should be clarified however given that if M knew the reasons why I would end up

  6. says:

    DISCLAIMER I am the publisher of the book and thus spent approximately two years reading and editing and working on it So take my review with a grain of salt or the understanding that I am deeply invested in this text and

  7. says:

    A surprisingly moving story of mourning written in a meandering dense philosophical style that touches on political religious and social themes with lots of ideas about how humans interact with space around them both in terms of geographic space especially in how humans construct and are constructed by cities Ca

  8. says:

    Very definitely not a book to be rushed through It demands to be mulled over slowly Very digressive and meditati

  9. says:

    I won’t pretend to completely understand everything that is going on in The Planets Despite that I can appreciate that with its publication by Open Letter Books Sergio Chejfec has presented English readers with a gentle novel on friendship grief and loss It is ostensibly a collection of memories told to us by the narrator about his childhood friend M M was abducted during Argentina’s Dirty War He disappea

  10. says:

    A very strange and surreal book I don't really know how to explain the plot so I'll let the publisher do it for me When he reads about a mysterious explosion in the distant countryside the narrator’s thoughts turn to his disappeared childhood friend M who was abducted from his home years ago during a spasm of politica

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Tessa Young is an 18 year old college student with a simple life, excellent grades, and a sweet boyfriend She always has things planned out ahead of time, until she meets a rude boy named Harry, with too many tattoos and piercings who shatters her plans.