Eva Baltasar & Lina Meruane: Body Politics
Rebecca Solnit has argued that ‘every illness is narrative’ and Lina Meruane’s novel Nervous System certainly gives credence to that view. It centres on a woman named Ella who, in struggling to finish her PhD, becomes fixated on the functions and rhythms of her own body. Meruane is one of the most influential writers in Chile today and this compelling portrait of illness and instability is the second of her books to be translated into English by Megan McDowell.
Alongside Meruane we introduce Catalan poet Eva Baltasar, whose prize-winning debut novel Permafrost also revels in what its translator Julia Sanches calls ‘carnality’ – its depiction of a body moving through and against the world. Baltasar takes up issues often considered taboo, such as a child’s understanding of sex, death by suicide, or illness. Her text, with its wickedly funny and defiant narrator, offers a forthright call for women’s freedom to embrace both pleasure and solitude. In today’s event Baltasar and Meruane discuss their work and their worldviews.