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Will Preston on Pola Oloixarac

At Full Stop, Will Preston reviews Dark Constellations, a strange new novel by the Argentinian writer Pola Oloixarac (trans. Roy Kesey), which blurs the lines between different biological forms:

Oloixarac explicitly sets Cassio’s story within the mounting environmental crisis of the Anthropocene, interjecting the narrative with ominous glimpses of a world already in the grip of apocalypse. … In Oloixarac’s hands, this world is one in which the boundaries between humans, plants, and animals have already begun to dissolve — metaphorically, and quite possibly literally. A sexual encounter is described as “reptilian;” a teenaged Cassio, spurned by a crush, loses trust “in the feminine branch of his species;” pregnant women wading in a public pool are described as “cretaceous amphibians,” while children splashing in the water are like “barracuda schools.”

And then there is the mysterious flower at the heart of the novel, Crissia pallida, a carnivorous plant whose appearance is like “a reorganization of human eyes — of the entire human face.”