by: Kathleen Alcalá on March 19th, 2014 | 1 Comment »
La Negra y Blanca
by Deena Metzger
Hand to Hand Publishing, 2011
La Negra y Blanca is a book with several designations on the cover – it’s described as a fugue, a commentary, and a novel.
I had to look up fugue to see what it meant in a literary context, only to find that it is a dissociative state caused by severe mental stress, or a musical composition in several voices, in which the themes are played by all the instruments, sometimes in counterpoint.
La Negra y Blanca is certainly not a novel in the traditional sense of the word, with a protagonist who overcomes obstacles and transforms into a better version of him or herself along the way. The book recently won the PEN/Oakland-Josephine Miles Awards created to honor writers of exceptional works often not acknowledged by the mainstream literary community.
It is certainly out of the mainstream. Perhaps this is a commentary, but then we would have to decide on what. The politics of Guatemala? The state of literature in Latin America? The life of the author, Deena Metzger?