Rodrigo Blanco Calderón

Rodrigo Blanco Calderón

Caracas, Venezuela, 1981

Rodrigo Blanco is a writer, editor and university professor. In 2007 he was selected to join the Bogotá 39 group. In 2014, his story “Emuntorios” was included in Thirteen Crime Stories from Latin America, issue 46 of the prestigious McSweeney’s literary journal. Blanco is now a PhD student in Linguistics and Literature at Paris 13 University. In 2016, he was awarded the Prix Rive Gauche à París du Livre Étranger for his first novel, The Night, which has been translated into French, Dutch and Czech.

  • “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 Calderón is one of Latin America’s leading young short story writers. After his foray into the novel with the extraordinary and unclassifiable book The Night (Alfaguara, 2016), Rodrigo Blanco is back with seven fascinating stories. This tableau of wonders is inhabited by strange, appealing characters: a taxidermist painter marooned in a hostile society; a blind man who knows his labyrinthine city like the back of his hand; 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 listening to a reading of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

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Novel

Prix Rive Gauche à Paris du Livre Étranger 2016

A new, not-to-be-missed voice in the Latin American literature of the 21st century

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

 

 

 

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 well 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

  • 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