Savage Theories: Book summary and reviews of Savage Theories by Pola Oloixarac

Savage Theories

by Pola Oloixarac

Savage Theories by Pola Oloixarac X
Savage Theories by Pola Oloixarac
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2017
    304 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

A novel of seduction and madness, hate and love, set in the world of Argentinean academia and animated by the spirits of Wittgenstein, Rousseau, Nabokov and Bolaño.

Rosa Ostreech, a pseudonym for the novel's beautiful but self-conscious narrator, carries around a trilingual edition of Aristotle's Metaphysics, struggles with her thesis on violence and culture, sleeps with a bourgeois former guerrilla, and pursues her elderly professor with a highly charged blend of eroticism and desperation. Elsewhere on campus, Pabst and Kamtchowsky tour the underground scene of Buenos Aires, dabbling in ketamine, sex, video games, and hacking. And in Africa in 1917, a Dutch anthropologist named Johan van Vliet begins work on a theory that explains human consciousness and civilization by reference to our early primate ancestors - animals, who, in the process of becoming human, spent thousands of years as prey.

Savage Theories wryly explores fear and violence, war and sex, eroticism and philosophy. Its complex and flawed characters grapple with a mess of impossible, visionary theories, searching for their place in our fragmented digital world.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Brilliant, original, and very fun to read." - Kirkus

"Starred Review...the author's ability to incorporate diverse elements, including 1970s Argentinian sex comedies, early 20th-century psychological theory, Elton John, and Thomas Hobbes singing in bed, makes for a singular and humorous experience. Perhaps best of all is Oloixarac's prose: discursive, surprising, and off-kilter - like the characters themselves, it reveals a ceaseless appetite for understanding and belonging." - Publishers Weekly

"Though the novel is daunting in substance and structure, with a wide range of cultural references from Aristotle and Leibniz to Elton John and Jenna Jameson, readers willing to indulge this careening carousel of a novel will be rewarded with an unexpectedly prescient experience. In spite of its first publication in Spanish in 2008, Oloixarac's tale proves timely in light of Argentina's recurrent political turnover." - Booklist

"Though the inclusion of blogs, video games, and viral videos into mainstream literature is appealing, it's not enough to offset the recondite style and pseudointellectual pose." - Library Journal

"A prodigious, masterful novel." - Le Figaro (France)

"Clearly one of the first Latin American classics of the twenty-first century." - El Mundo (Spain)

"A stunning vibrant maximalist whirlwind of a novel. Oloixarac's wit and ambition are evident on every page. By comparison, most other contemporary fiction seems a little dull and simple-minded." - Hari Kunzru, author of Gods Without Men

"Pola Oloixarac's prose is the great event of the new Argentinian narrative. Her novel is unforgettable, philosophical and very serene." - Ricardo Piglia, author of Artificial Respiration

"Monstrously clever and terribly funny. More than a debut, this book is one many of us would spend our lives trying to write." - Javier Calvo, author of Wonderful World

"A provocative, brave, controversial novel." - Vicente Luis Mora, author of Pangea: Internet, Blogs and Communication in a New World

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Pola Oloixarac is a fiction writer and essayist. Her novels, Savage Theories and Dark Constellations, have been translated into seven languages. She wrote the libretto for the opera Hercules in Mato Grosso, which debuted at Buenos Aires's Teatro Colón and then premiered in New York City. Her fiction has appeared in Granta, n+1, and The White Review, and she has contributed articles on politics and culture for The New York Times and the BBC World Service, among others. She lives in San Francisco, where she's completing a PhD at Stanford University.

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