A feature by Efrén Ordóñez
Guadalupe Nettel: That collection of stories, which will be published in the United States at the start of 2020 as Bezoar by Seven Stories Press, translated by Suzanne Jill Levine, brings together stories that I wrote in my youth, and I think it’s one of the books that best represents me. It’s really a personal reflection on beauty, the beauty of anomaly. As human beings, we tend to hold a very limited idea of our own beauty. We believe what we’re told by advertisements and fashions. They form us. Conversely, when we look at plants or trees, our minds become far more flexible and open. We don’t judge them in the same way. We’re more receptive to the presence of trees and their unique character. We don’t think: “That tree should be taller and slimmer and have more leaves up there and less down there.” We simply let the tree be and appreciate its beauty. The characters in these stories are somewhat monstrous – some of them physically, others in their behavior – and that is what makes them appealing, moving even, but they themselves spend their whole time trying to make sure no one notices. They try with all their might to be “normal” in order to survive in a world that strives to standardize, that represses difference.