The Dark

Overview


Opening with the presently shut-in narrator reminiscing about a past relationship with Delia, a young factory worker, The Dark employs Chejfec’s signature style with an emphasis on the geography and motion of the mind, to recount the time the narrator spent with this multifaceted, yet somewhat absent, woman. The Dark is the most captivating example of Chejfec’s unique narrative approach.
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The Dark

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Overview


Opening with the presently shut-in narrator reminiscing about a past relationship with Delia, a young factory worker, The Dark employs Chejfec’s signature style with an emphasis on the geography and motion of the mind, to recount the time the narrator spent with this multifaceted, yet somewhat absent, woman. The Dark is the most captivating example of Chejfec’s unique narrative approach.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
08/26/2013
In this slim novel, presented as a not-quite-remorseful inner monologue, the unnamed narrator remembers Delia, a young factory worker with whom he was, and likely still is, in love. Delia is not only—predictably—beautiful, but also very poor, and much is said about her "proletarian nature" compared to the narrator's well-educated, middle-class background. He seems compelled to write out of his guilt over having disappeared from Delia's life, after hearing that she was pregnant and knowing he's the father. The book's structure reflects the recurrent torment of heartbreak, reliving past moments over and over again, but with a distance that, in this case, keeps both characters vague. The prose has the feel of a diary, with frequent interjections referencing the writing process itself: "One doesn't write to uncover what it is hidden, but rather to obscure it further." Unfortunately, as anyone who's ever listened to another person recount a breakup might know, fixation gets old fast. While Chejfec, a Jewish Argentinian writer, creates a philosophical tone that does capture something essential about suffering, along with an intellectually interesting lack of action, the overall result feels redundant and dull. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

"Early in Sergio Chejfec’s The Dark, the nameless narrator describes his disorientation when looking over a landscape as 'the vertigo of simple things.' This phrase describes the experience of reading Chejfec’s novel [. . .] These moments, when Chejfec combines exquisite prose with the human yearning for truth and beauty, keep us reading, weighing the novel’s contradictions, sifting through the narrator’s abstract reflections in search of his life’s meaning."—Rain Taxi
Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-15
In this novel from Chejfec (The Planets, 2012, etc.), originally published in 2000 in the author's native Argentina, a man remembers his relationship with a factory worker whose life was different from his own. Readers will find here a meditation on the working class, the circle of life and the pitch blackness of night. The nameless narrator tells the story as a remembrance, albeit one that haunts him. "It has always unsettled me that geography does not change with time, with the changes that take place within it, within us," Chejfec begins. Every day, this writer sees a woman, Delia, get off a bus at the street corner near his home. Gradually, the pair begin to take long walks through the wastelands of the slums, as Chejfec lays out the geography of their nocturnal promenades, both literal and emotional. They become lovers locked in a secret embrace. However, the writer's interest in Delia also extends to her work in a local factory. Coming from such a distinctly different social class from her intellectual paramour, she seems very alien to him, and he ruminates at length about the affect her work has on her, her relationships with co-workers and so on. There is much talk of the titular dark along the way. "Once there, I saw the silence before I saw the dark: a false murmur floated across the air, a hollow reverberation that came from nowhere in particular, but rather from the night as black as pitch," Chejfec writes. This is a story that remains determinedly unresolved, as the writer mourns his relationship with Delia without saying what transpired. Readers who dare to navigate Chejfec's intellectual labyrinth may find themselves mystified. A wistful, winding contemplation of that long dark night of the soul.
Rain Taxi - Kristine Rabberman
Early in Sergio Chejfec’s THE DARK, the nameless narrator describes his disorientation when looking over a landscape as 'the vertigo of simple things.' This phrase describes the experience of reading Chejfec’s novel. . . . These moments, when Chejfec combines exquisite prose with the human yearning for truth and beauty, keep us reading, weighing the novel’s contradictions, sifting through the narrator’s abstract reflections in search of his life’s meaning.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781934824436
  • Publisher: Open Letter
  • Publication date: 9/15/2013
  • Pages: 143
  • Sales rank: 1,438,582
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Sergio Chejfec, originally from Argentina, has published numerous works of fiction, poetry, and essays. Among his grants and prizes, he has received fellowships from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in 2007 and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation in 2000. He teaches at NYU.

Heather Cleary is a translator of fiction, criticism, and poetry. In 2005, she was awarded a Translation Fund grant from the PEN American Center for her work on Oliverio Girondo.

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