Imposible equilibrio / An Impossible Balance
Novel , 1995
An Impossible Balance (published as Imposible equilibrio in 1995), the first novel written by Mempo Giardinelli after his return to Argentina from years of exile in Mexico, seduces us with a plot whose improbable premise is the importation of hippopotamuses to his native Chaco region. As in the previous cases of his adaptations of pulp fiction genres, the vertiginous though strangely plausible plot overflows the usual limits of the genre and evolves into an allegorical commentary about the political and moral condition of his country. An Impossible Balance brings readers back to the setting of Giardinelli's earlier novel Luna caliente (1983) (Sultry Moon). Both Sultry Moon and An Impossible Balance begin in a realist mode, meeting readers stylistic expectations of the hard-boiled novel and the road movie respectively, but as the action develops these novels abandon the conventions of realism. Situated in the Argentine northeast, An Impossible Balance reclaims and recuperates textually the land lost and yearned for in exile. It is a homage to the Chaco, its people (with great emphasis on its ethnic diversity), and its flora and fauna (described with the meticulousness of a botanist and a zoologist). The conclusion of An Impossible Balance fashions an epilogue for Sultry Moon but leaves open the fate of some of its protagonists. In order to learn the ending of An Impossible Balance, readers will have to go to Giardinelli's novel Final de novela en Patagonia (End of Novel in Patagonia) (2000).