With her first novel, ‘The Wild Theories’, Oloixarac occupied (perhaps awkwardly) an essential role in the language of her time, which has enjoyed —and suffered— multiple and varied critical readings.
Pola Oloixarac and the art of living in the 21st century /
When one faces The Wild Theories for the first time, even before opening the book, one thinks of a series of things: What kind of name is “Pola Oloixarac”?, Will that “wild” refer to the Bolañean aesthetic (because of that incredibly important book The Wild Detectives, by Chilean Roberto Bolaño)? But those two questions, begin to unravel (or to become further tangled, depending on how we see it) when the reader enters one of the most discussed and poorly read novels in recent times, The Wild Theories.
This is Pola Oloixarac’s very first novel, which first appeared in 2008, and which has enjoyed a well-deserved success: because, possibly, Oloixarac’s personal history is odder than that of her already unusual characters. She is a philosopher, barely over thirty years old, whose first novel was translated into five languages, after which she was invited to lecture in some of the most prestigious American academies. Due to the ambiguous vigor of her critical reception, the fact that her book continues to inspire critics and readers, even six years after it was first published, is a good sign, since in the field of literature only novelty items or established authors are ever spoken about.
The fact is that The Wild Theories are the product of their time, which can be interpreted in a series of ways. Their protagonists are anthropologists, philosophers, or young readers lost in books that see how the revolutionary projects of Argentina (and those of the entire world) ended up devouring one another, together with a certain notion of humanism, which had been present until the 20th century. The characters exchange tons of cultured or pseudo-cultured references, which has been interpreted as a type of arrogant and discursive “hermeticism”, but which in turn can be read as the meticulous creation of her own language, and the anachronism sought out by the author, in what was called a “novel of ideas”.
When they asked her if she was worried that her novel would soon become anachronistic (because it is based on generational reference points such as video games, social networks or the end of utopias), Pola answers:
I would say two things. One, I love to see the period when I read a novel, to see the Eighties, Forties or Twenties. And in turn, my novel is already anachronistic in itself because the notion of the idea novel is. Perhaps, the matter is what the novel is capable of doing in its moment and in any case how it relates to the ideal time of all novels, or all writing, even with the informatics language that allows us to connect with one another today.
If we were to attribute the writer with a single responsibility (as is the case with the rhetoric of “socialist realism”, that sought nothing other than to justify the existence of literature as part of a modernizing project), it would probably be precisely that: one of the ways that playful minds can face the fleshy pauperization of common man as the embodiment of their time, and the state of language at a given moment of its development.
This, of course, is only a theory.Tagged: Pola Oloixarac, writers, Argentinian writers, literature Credits: Image (Chus Sánchez)