Fiction Collective Two is an author-run, not-for-profit publisher of artistically adventurous, non-traditional fiction.

Mexico Trilogy


Mexico Trilogy:

The Ethiopian Exhibition,

Maya, and The Queen of Las Vegas


by D. N Stuefloten

Paperback
1996
Price: $12.95

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Through these novellas stroll Ethiopian murderers, the Queen of Sheba, a transvestite named Julio Abril, and ppuppulni-huhs, or swollen iguanas, whose erotic intentions are unclear.  Cameras hiss among ruins.  Airplanes and helicopters roar overhead, unloading badies and bombs.  The forests themselves are dangerous:  they exude poisons in the way flowers exude perfumes.  Dreams become visible in the heroin daze of Dominique, who drifts--naked except for her very high heeled shoes--past craps tables, slot machines, and workmen whose granted hands create starlets, or perhaps goddesses, from past de cana, the pith of the corn stalk.


"It would be a mistake to surmise that Stuefloten's Mexico Trilogy is actually about Mexico in any way. Instead the works are bound together in one volume because the author found the inspiration to write them while living in Mexico. Of the three short novels here, both Maya and The Ethiopian Exhibition were previously and separately published by FC2. Given the weakness of the third piece, The Queen of Las Vegas, it makes sense to prop it up. Maya is by far most coherent of the three, but The Ethiopian Exhibition also merits notice because of its careful use of symmetry and elaboration to illustrate an oddly poetic, however pedantic, point. Nevertheless, The Mexico Trilogy reads like a hallucinatory exercise in unnerving and displacing the reader. Recurring characters and metaphors describe bucolic, fecund societies which have been corrupted and virtually destroyed by Western commercialism and imperialism. Despite the apparent influence of the French New Novel and Stuefloten's self-conscious and meta-approach toward writing, the trilogy falls short of evoking the uneasiness we are supposed to feel. Instead, the end result is nothing but prosaic passages infused with bitter melancholia." —Publishers Weekly Review


Excerpt


The white plumerias are at the window, as expected. The woman withdraws her head. The man is in the bathroom to our left. He is shaving. He becomes visible to us only as the camera draws back and turns, slightly. The razor scrapes at his cheek. This scraping is the only sound audible, other than the slight hiss—it sounds like a hiss—made by the film moving through the camera. The camera continues to retreat. It drops lower and pulls away. A wide angle lens is used. Our perspective, as viewers, is thus altered in a predictable way. The man recedes to our left, diminishing to our left, the woman somewhat less so to our right. Without moving they draw further apart. That is the effect we are after. She is lit through the window. The massed plumerias glow in this light. Her shadow crosses to our left, as black as pitch, as black as night, as black—


Only at the very end, with the camera almost on the floor, is the third person visible. It is the priest. He sits at our left foreground, his swollen leg propped up before him. As the scene ends he claps, politely.