In recent years Argentine and Chilean cultural imaginaries have (re)turned with increasing regularity to the locus of the province and/or the interior. In this article we locate two contemporary novels set in the 1990s –La descomposición (2007) by the Argentine writer Hernán Ronsino and Niños extremistas (2013) by the Chilean Gonzalo Ortiz Peña– within this trend by analysing how they deploy the provincial town. The town has played an important role in the (cultural) history of Latin America, occupying both a topographically and symbolically liminal place between the country and the city. The violence inherent to these towns (whether constructive or destructive) challenges, among other things, the strict dichotomy of civilization versus barbarism that has often been used to separate rural from urban spaces. In this article we explore the constitutive violence of the town in both novels, in which changes in the landscape affect both bodies and ways of life in unexpected ways. While La descomposición incorporates that violence into the measured rhythms of human and non-human lives that are decaying, Niños extremistas turns that inherent violence into the boundless pace of festive destruction. Whether in dialogue with a pre-existing canon of a literature of the interior, or via an exploration of the implausible, both novels open up the possibility of a literary corpus around the figure of the town.
|Translated title of the contribution||Delirium and stagnation: New compositions of the provincial town in two contemporary Chilean and Argentine novels’|
|Number of pages||17|
|State||Published - 2018|