Rodrigo Blanco Calderón

Rodrigo Blanco Calderón

Caracas, Venezuela, 1981

Rodrigo Blanco Calderón is a writer, editor and university lecturer. He completed a doctorate in linguistics and literature at Paris XIII University. He has received various awards for his stories both inside and outside Venezuela. In 2007 he was invited to join the Bogotá39 group, which brings together the best Latin American narrators under thirty-nine years old. In 2013 he was a guest writer on the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. In 2014, his story “Emuntorios” was included in Thirteen Crime Stories from Latin America, volume number 46 of the prestigious magazine McSweeney's. With his first novel, The Night, he won the 2016 Paris Rive Gauche Prize, the Critics Award in Venezuela and the 2019 Mario Vargas Llosa Biennial Prize. He currently lives in Malaga, Spain.

  • “After reading the stories by Rodrigo Blanco, one harbours the nostalgia for those faraway days in which one could read just by the pleasure of reading.” El Nacional
  • “'The Night' is more than a promising debut. It is a novel that already fulfils a lot and at least deserves cult status.” Maarten Steenmeijer, De Volskrant

Bibliography

Rodrigo Blanco has established  himself as one of the leading voices in Latin American literature, and Simpatía seems poised to become the great novel of the death throes of Venezuela and the collapse of Chavism.

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Novel

Rodrigo Blanco has established  himself as one of the leading voices in Latin American literature, and Simpatía seems poised to become the great novel of the death throes of Venezuela and the collapse of Chavism.

Proof of the chaos and misery that plague Caracas are the hordes of dogs that roam the streets, abandoned by the millions of Venezuelans who flee the country. That’s why Ulises, who’s flat broke and teaches in a modest cinema workshop, agrees to create a foundation to rescue dogs in need. Ulises is unwittingly dragged into an odyssey of family entanglements, dangers that have him doubting the people around him—where suddenly no one is what they seem—and mysteries surrounding the most famous, patriotic dogs in Venezuela.

With a masterful hand and refined sense of humour, Rodrigo Blanco has produced a mystery, not without parodic elements, packed with references to cinema, literature, and dogs. Simpatía is like a tragicomic fresco, sometimes grotesque, of Venezuela today. There’s an ironic, irreverent take on some of the country’s most mythical figures, from Simón Bolívar to Hugo Chávez, and a sharp, hilarious reflection on inheritance and identity.

III Mario Vargas Llosa Biennial Novel Award 2019

Prix Rive Gauche à Paris du Livre Étranger 2016

A frenzied literary fresco of nowadays Venezuela's dark roots by a not-to-be-missed voice in the new Latin American literature.

In the city of Caracas there are constant power blackouts. This dual darkness of the night is full of dangers, violence, dreams, ambitions. And literature. Real and fictitious characters and multiple narrators, blur in this night creating a frenzied fresco, where space and time are permeable and changing. Four fictional characters star in the novel: a psichiatrist; his friend, a patient severely affected from obsessions; a half-mad writer who obtained a literary prize with an incomprehensible short story; and a dynamic though tortured woman. The story of these characters, with their relationships, crises, love affairs, rifts (estrangements), projects and failures, construct a bildungsroman which metamorphoses into a roman noir and ends with a murder. At the same time the novel includes a “biography-homage” to a real Venezuelan author, Darío Lancini (1932-2010), a writer specialized in intertextual games. 

"The Night is a more than promising debut by a master storyteller", Maarten Steenmeijer, The Volskrant

“After reading the stories by Rodrigo Blanco one harbours the nostalgia for those faraway days in which one could read just by the pleasure of reading”. El Nacional

"One of the big names in today's Venezuelan literature; a literature that shows the best of itself outside its frontiers". La Vanguardia

"An exciting, unapologetically literary book." Thomas Bunstead

"A novel dark and somber like the night." Thibault Boixiere

"Novela polifónica, construida como un juego de muñecas rusas (...) un artefacto literario construido con maestría por un narrador que sabe apreciar la complejidad de su metrópoli natal y de la vida de sus habitantes." Jurado del Premio Bienal de Novela Mario Vargas Llosa 

 

 

Short stories and novellas

Rodrigo Blanco’s literature is the response to a cataclysm.

After his foray into the novel with the extraordinary book The NightRodrigo Blanco is back with seven fascinating short stories. This tableau of wonders is inhabited by strange, appealing characters: a taxidermist painter, a blind man lost in the world of Petrarch, a female motorcyclist who rides naked through the night, a foreigner who learns a language making confessions in Paris churches, and a dying pilot who finds peace in a reading of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

Some coexist in the midst of a floundering Venezuela, others with the threat of terrorism in France, or in a Mexico symbolizing the first shots of the revolution. All are characters emerging from the black hole of literature.

Impeccable and masterful in his storytelling, Rodrigo Blanco constructs a nocturnal cast of characters who become the victims and executioners of a sacrifice, of the atonement that is life anytime, anywhere, in which we are all “calves”.

Once again, Blanco Calderón writes in that border area between the real and unreal, slowly modulating the appearance of reality until he surprises the reader with an almost fantastic world, where a mere gesture marks the difference between the normal and the monstrous.

Includes: Los invencibles, El biombo, Calle Sarandí, El último viaje del Tiburón Arcaya, En la hora sin sombra and Los golpes de la vida.

El autor debuta con estos cinco cuentos. Transmiten la lucha del individuo para sobrevivir a los desmanes de la ciudad, de cualquier ciudad, bajo la asfixia causada por otros hombres tan extraviados y violentos como él.

Prizes

  • 2019 - Premio Bienal de Novela Mario Vargas Llosa for The Night
  • 2018 - Premio de la Crítica (Venezuela) for The Night
  • 2017 - Finalist of the V Premio Narrativa Breve Ribera del Duero for Los terneros
  • 2016 - Prix Rive Gauche à Paris for The Night
  • 2007 - Winner of the LXI Concurso Anual de Cuentos held by the newspaper El Nacional for the short story Los golpes de la vida 
  • 2005 - Winner of the contest for unpublished writers held by the publishing house Monte Ávila, for Una fila de hombres