Baroni, a Journey (Hardcover)
Fiction. Latinx Studies. Art. It 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. --Times Literary Supplement Baroni is a real person. Baroni is a fictional character. This novel demonstrates that the two statements are not contradictory. The real person is Rafaela Baroni, a renowned popular artist who lives in a small town in the Andean foothills of Venezuela. There she devotes herself to carving wooden figures, almost always religious, to curing the sick, to predicting misfortunes, to dying. Baroni dies and returns to life: twice a year she performs her own death. The fictional character is a vague and multifaceted being who is transfigured into memory, landscape, and communal experiences. BARONI, A JOURNEY is the evolution of an ever-changing gaze, which goes from the main character to the country she inhabits, from the unknowns of popular religion to the no less mysterious conditions for artistic creation. As in all of Sergio Chejfec's books, in Baroni, a Journey the representation of thought occupies a central place in the writing. And once more, his doubts and digressions, together with the marginal beings he chooses to display, are the hallmark of a very personal style. On first reading Chejfec, we recall many admired authors, but at a later moment--a more solid and lasting one--we realize that he resembles no one, and that he has chosen an unusual and quite distinctive path, one that reveals itself slowly because of the demanding and very personal searches the author himself carries out in his narrative. --Enrique Vila-Matas.