“Sara Cordón’s novel For Spanish, Press 2
, published by Caballo de Troya, is by turns satirical, sarcastic, and irreverent, as the author develops a form of autofiction that engages the time of her fiction at the center of the spaces where fiction is produced. […] It is the literally Latin American novel of a Spanish student. […] Like a Russian doll or a box with a false bottom, the text reflects on itself, evaluates itself, defends itself, attacks itself inside. As Severo Sarduy would have it, it “plays at playing.” It plays with its readers, it plays at entertaining them, captivating them. […] And in this playing, the author seems to find in Latin America and those who represent it the novel she seeks to write in New York that will be published in Spain. […] In this process, the novel takes on a plurilingual form that dismisses the call of literary myths and instead narrates from the place of a group of writers, “the last lettered community.” […] But it does so from a site that is less portentous, perhaps less mythical and more corporeal: that of the woman writer.”
“A wonderful novel. Hilarious.”
“It is a perfect reflection of how the last of the Mohicans of literature live. […] I think it’s a very promising first novel, told with humor, really a pop novel that possesses a swiftness and ability to reproduce the different forms of speech of the Latino and Hispanic community that lives and interacts in the US, which to me is an essential requirement for a writer—one of the things I most value in a writer is their ear. I think writers have to be sort of ventriloquists. […] Sara Cordón has that finely tuned ear that can capture verbal and ideological registers, which I so appreciate in a writer.”
“Sara is, above all, an incredibly hard worker, a workhorse. There is a lot of labor behind this book. She does what she knowns best: she writes. And she does it without ostentation, without ego, without trumpets announcing the publication of another book. Without telling anyone what it is she is writing or how much work it is for her to write. Writing created from a place of honesty is the only writing that deserves to exist, without posturing or artifice.”
“The most powerful thing about this novel is that it demystifies NY as the cultural capital of the Spanish language. […] That madness of literary consumption, that taking down the whole scene or making fun of it, gives the book its great intensity.”
“At a certain point, the narrative voice asks: ‘Who I am to speak of literature?’ That is one of the best aspects of the novel, because it is a form of writing of the self that questions, entirely removed from the narcissistic and rather boring gloating that proliferates in so many books of this sort, texts that don’t really allow us to see beyond what they are narrating and that turn the writer’s navel-gazing into the gravitational center of the entire plot. […] This novel, on the other hand, casts a gaze that laughs at everything, bringing a breath of fresh air, because it’s not a mocking laughter but one that keeps us company, the laughter of someone who knows of what she speaks and has lived through these challenges of dislocation, of being a migrant, a foreigner, of being the other, of being no one in a city where everyone is looking to be someone.”
CLAUDIA SALAZAR JIMÉNEZ
In For Spanish, Press 2
, the structure, characters, scenes, irony, and humor have all been crafted such that they add to the multidimensionality of the universe of the novel. Here, like in Don Quijote
, fiction is used to note, critique, raise awareness, delight in the complexity of human relations, and, moreover, to make fun of the very pretensions of those whose only weapons are words. […] It is a novel that respects its reader. It is an ambitious novel. A monumental effort.
In For Spanish, Press 2
, we can detect signs that it is Sara Cordón’s first novel for adults—in addition to a love of literature, of writing, that transcends the page, the story, and even the weaknesses of the text, and a warm outlook on people, even the text’s darkest characters. Sharp insight and compassion when combined return a bit of our faith in humanity, in these times of uncontrolled individual egos driven by the hunger for “likes,” when what is rewarded are insults, harsh critique, a magnifying glass held up to the defects of others, a certain “ugliness,” etc., etc. […] But here: impeccable, relaxed, ironic prose. Moments of tenderness from a protagonist who seems to have lost her way and remains lost throughout the novel, like all of us have been at some point, or still are.