Laura Gonzalez

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8 Jul 2013

La Fiesta del Chivo by Mario Vargas Llosa *****

Reading dates: 13 June 2013 – 07 July 2013

I loved this book: the premise, the execution, the rhythm, the structure … Everything about it. It tells the story of the assassination of Dominican dictator Trujillo from the point of view of the daughter of one of his ministers, Trujillo himself, and the conspirators. Playing with time and tense, presence and memory, in an intricate weave towards the event itself, the book is a masterpiece of reveals. I have never been keen on historical novels but these characters go beyond reality and had to become fiction. I mean, you just need to read the wikipedia page for Ramfis Trujillo, the dictator’s playboy son, to see what I mean. The book is impeccably written—at least in Spanish— with effortless prose which I don’t always find characteristic of Vargas Llosa. He is usually too wordy for me but in La Fiesta del Chivo, every word is necessary. Beautiful book, harrowing (there is, of course, torture and rape) but very moving. I am grateful to my friend María for recommending it. I would not have picked it up. This shows that one should never have genre dislikes. A good book is a good book whatever, or in spite of, the topic.

Posted in Blog, Book Reviews, Reading


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About Me

I am an artist and writer. My recent practice performance, film, dance, photography and text, and my work has been performed, exhibited and published in many venues in Europe and the US. I have spoken at numerous conferences and events, including the Museum for the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, the Medical Museum in Copenhagen, College Arts Association and the Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society. When I am not following Freud, Lacan and Marx’s footsteps with my camera or creating performance works as part of my Athenaeum Research Fellowship at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, I teach postgraduate students at Transart Institute.

I am currently immersed in an interdisciplinary project exploring knowledge and the body of the hysteric. In 2013, together with Child and Adolescent Mental Health practitioner Frances Davies, I co-edited the book ‘Madness, Women and the Power of Art’, to which I contributed a work authored with Eleanor Bowen. My book ‘Make Me Yours: How Art Seduces’ was published by Cambridge Scholars in 2016. In this text, investigates psychoanalytic approaches to making and understanding objects of seduction, including an examination of parallels between artistic and analytic practices, a study of Manolo Blahnik’s shoes as objects of desire, a disturbing encounter with Marcel Duchamp’s last work, and the creation of a psychoanalytically inspired Discourse of the Artefact, a framework enabling the circulation of questions and answers through a relational approach to artworks.