© Ed. Perfil
Daniel Guebel was born in Buenos Aires in 1956, where he works as a novelist, scriptwriter and playwright.
Set in the heart of Malaysia, La perla del emperador (“The Emperor’s Pearl”) starts with the visit of a mysterious Chinese man who offers a legendary pearl to a beautiful white tradeswoman. In this novel, as in the Arabian Nights, worlds appear and vanish in which the dream of immortality and a love of travel are alive, and desire and melancholy pulsate. It is a labyrinth in which Orient and Occident mix and become – in a new mirage – Argentinian.
Narration, travel and oblivion are the three great powers of the metamorphosis with which La perla del emperador takes us right into the heart of literature.
Alan Pauls, Babel
Daniel Guebel is quite possibly the best Argentinean novelist of his generation.
Carlos ‘Cacho’ Fracassi and Julio César Carrera work as travelling salesmen of household appliances. Fracassi is the sales star of the company, at once vulgar clown and charming confidence trickster. Carrera, however, is shy, bald and boring, and couldn’t sell a mixer to his own mother. Although the two are so different, they meet regularly over a beer, and Carrera hangs on every word of his colleague’s boasts. Eventually, Carrera comes up with the worst idea of his life: taking his wife’s nagging seriously, he decides to prove to her that she has no reasons to be jealous when he comes home late – and invites Fracassi round for dinner. Mirtha, still an attractive redheaded beauty, is immediately taken in by her husband’s colleague’s swagger, and it doesn’t take long before he ends up in the marital bed as her lover. But this isn’t where the problems begin – the problems begin shortly afterwards, when Fracassi falls in love with Mirtha, and she tries to shake him off, already tired of him after their first intimate encounter.
But it is not only Mirtha who puts this male friendship to the test, but also the sale of the firm to a foreign investor who decides to shake-up their long-accustomed habits. Carrera y Fracassi (“Carrera and Fracassi”) is a modern-day picaresque novel that follows in the footsteps of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.
Carrera and Fracassi is a surprising novel, a text which is at times venomous and at times moving; sometimes cruel and coarse, but always shot through with pathos and a strange aura of saintliness; a novel in which delirium represents the desperate and comic search for redemption.”
Daniel Guebel has opted for a sarcastic register in order to depict modern Argentina. This humorous perspective pervades the entire novel. ‘Carrera and Fracassi’ tells a parodical and absurd tale and shows us a storyteller with a talent for satire and sarcasm.
In Derrumbe (“Decay”) the reader encounters a man - the narrator - who has hit rock bottom, who can be considered a failure in all respects: As an author, as a partner, and as a father. Having just been left by his wife Paula and their daughter Ana, he finds himself devastated. Although deep down he had always known. Brought up by relatives who taught him how to become a loser, the teacher of writer’s workshops can hardly believe it when the beautiful young student falls in love with him. And even if – it would never work. She is by far too talented and beautiful to endure him in the long run. And so he withdraws. But Paula shows such perseverance that they come together after all. For a few years. And then – self fulfilling prophecy – Paula sure enough parts from him.
Foreseeing what this may mean to a little girl – the parents not loving her enough to stay together for her sake – he would most prefer to make his farewell from Ana’s life with one clean cut, for her not to live in pain. Thereby she could at least keep fond memories of him. An elevator accident after a weekend visit is most accommodating: Although he survives, everyone assumes him dead. Henceforth he scrapes a living as a run-down vagrant, at times observing his daughter from concealment.
When Ana becomes an adult and celebrated surgeon, her leg-amputated father compels a final encounter with her. And effectively, she recognises him and greets him with the words: „Please, Dad, stop asking for compassion.“ The father, overwhelmed with joy, breaks out in tears.
The novel is a vivid, self-deprecating and anti machismo piece of
literature about a very personal destiny. On the other hand illustrated by the
fates of various artists in the
In the novel Derrumbe the writer, in first person, tries to exorcise the pain of the lovelessness and the abandonment using a brilliant language, as exhilarating as moving, seeing the humorous side in the pathetic.
In El Caso Voynich (“The Voynich Case”), Daniel Guebel traces the course of the famous 16th century Voynich Manuscript, written in an unknown language which NASA attempts to decipher. He cleverly constructs an extraordinary, outrageous story, an impossible combination of fiction and reality where events become mystical operations, and mysteries a resource for intelligence.
The recent novel Ella (“She”) tells the story of a failed marriage and a mysterious experience. Matías and Josefina are happy with their three children until a miscarriage throws the entire family off balance. When Matías admits to an affair, Josefina throws him out – and finds solace in their common friend Julián. A final journey takes Matías to Japan, where he hopes to find Julián’s secret formula for happiness.
This turn not only marks the author’s increased maturity but also a new dimension in Guebel’s writing, which does not lose any of its elegance. Ella is a fundamental book which forms a second horizon for literature.
For further information, please visit also:
Derrumbe, Buenos Aires: Mondadori, 2007, 188 p.
USA: Dalkey Archive
Carrera y Fracassi, Spain: Caballo de Troya 2004, 316 p.
Buenos Aires: Sudamericana 2005 • Italy: La Linea
Genios destrozados. Vidas de artistas, Buenos Aires: Eterna Cadencia 2013, 144 S.
Italy: La Lepre
Mis escritores muertos, Buenos Aires: Mansalva 2009, 62 p.
Pornografía sentimental, Buenos Aires: Interzona 2015, 176 p.
La china (with Sergio Bizzio as co-author), 1996, 2009
Dos obras ordinarias (Daniel Guebel and Sergio Bizzio) Rosario: Beatriz Viterbo 1994