A literary tour of empathy and fear
The novel Senselessness is the most stylistically challenging contemporary novel I've ever read, or am likely ever to encounter. The fact that this novel went from author Castellanos Moya's mind onto the page, through the editing and publication process, and into English translation, probably has a complex story behind it as well. The fact that this novel exists and is well-received will make life easier for anyone who attempts to write a similar novel. I have mixed feelings about this novel largely because it is one long, extended interior monologue--Virginia Woolf's stream-of-consciousness technique taken to the next level--a 142-page walk through the mind of one emotionally unbalanced man, and as a result, the reader is confined to this one character's thoughts. I would have liked to have some interior throughts from other characters; it was the author's stylistic decision not to dip in and out of other minds, like James Joyce or Woolf. However, I don't want my opinon to appear hegemonic--like some of the people the novel is about.
Some scenes in the novel are quite frightening, worthy of a Hitchcock movie, but in the context that the narrator is experiencing extreme fear and loathing from his job of editing the testimonies of people who witnessed the near-genocide of the indigenous tribes of a Latin American country and the slaughter of individuals protesting the military actions.. I feel sure that other authors would treat the topic differently, but that is the beauty of literature. Thank you, Horacio.