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My Two Worlds Paperback – August 16, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 103 pages
  • Publisher: Open Letter (August 16, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934824283
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934824283
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,388,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Lean, thoughtful, and keenly observed, the Argentinean Chejfec's first work translated into English packs a great deal of insight into 102 pages. The narrator, an unnamed Argentinean writer, wanders a city in the south of Brazil. He is a great enthusiast of walking, going so far as to claim that it saved him, although from what he's uncertain: "maybe from the danger of not being myself... because to walk is to enact the illusion of autonomy and above all the myth of authenticity." Recently, however, the act has become less meaningful--or perhaps less mysterious--to him. He seeks out a park "too large not to have the air of abandonment which so appeals" to him. He is self-conscious, worried about being ignored, and sure he's being judged; that the judgment of others remains opaque bothers him. Of ultimate concern, finally, is that walking has stopped giving him real insights. The book he's brought with him doesn't interest him nearly as much as boats shaped like swans, the meaning of time, or any number of other observations rendered in fascinating detail. Carson's magnificent translation of Chejfec's latest work should be treated as a significant event.


"I'd locate My Two Worlds among the rarae aves of recent fiction, among those books still capable of blazing new paths on the perilous trajectory of the modern novel."
--Enrique Vila-Matas

"Chejfec bravely reveals to us a world seen all askew, wherein we will gaze at everyday objects, and perhaps glimpse their invisible, indestructible core." --Scott Esposito, The Critical Flame

"My Two Worlds leaps into your hands like a living artifact, a refugee." --ZYZZYVA

"[I]t is hard to think of another contemporary writer who, marrying true intellect with simple description of a space, simultaneously covers so little and so much ground." --TLS

"This first novel by New York-based Argentine native Chejfec to be translated into English is a slim, gracefully discursive work....[My Two Worlds] allows us to enter the thoughts of a restless intellectual whose streams of thought involve the reader in his quest to find meaning in everything he sees and does." --Kirkus Reviews

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By earing on June 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The narrator, a 50 year old writer has been attending a writing conference in Brazil and decides to walk through a park. As he walks, he observes and thinks about what he sees, its connection to his past and to his identity. His walking provides what skimpy narrative exists, and among many other things, he speculates about the nature of narrative.. He says he instantly forgets what he's just seen, or rather he tosses it into a jumbled corner of his memory where everything comes up at random. He cannot put them in any sequence, as is done in a conventional novel with a narrative.
That raises the question of why anyone would write a novel. It's as if an entire industry of readers and writers has sprung up around making what's silent speak. For awhile he thought that was the point of why literature existed - the written word confronts what exists so as to get it down. But as the narrator thinks about it, it ceases to have that much importance, and he decides that he may stop writing altogether.

A reader can see, vaguely no doubt, where all this introspection is going. The "two worlds" refer to the narrator's awareness of himself, and another world which is outside of himself. The tension of the book resides where these two merge and become inseparable. No matter how much we try to explain ourselves, either to ourselves or to others, there is always so much left out, so much that is arbitrary and confusing. The narrator draws upon an example from the technological media which has made first copies, rough drafts almost meaningless; our lives are endless and perpetual revisions, "soft copy" he calls it, able to vanish and reappear instantaneously.
All of this appears to present insoluble and vexing philosophical questions.
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