How Carol Bensimon shines with runaway characters that explore her sexuality ‣ NewzAcid

How Carol Bensimon shines with runaway characters that explore her sexuality ‣ NewzAcid

Author involves Flip to launch ‘Diorama’, a few taxidermist pressured to confront her household’s violent previous


The taxidermist’s job, within the language of laymen and poets, is to take care of the phantasm of life in useless animals.

When touring to faraway international locations was impractical, obsessive reconstructions of pure habitats have been like “home windows to different components of the world,” writes the narrator of Carol Bensimon’s new novel. As distances decreased, “dioramas additionally grew to become little time machines, showcases of nostalgia.”

Dioramas, for individuals who don’t have a dictionary at hand, are the areas protected by glass that immortalize scenes of nature in museums, striving to take care of the impression that these animal carcasses are about to maneuver. That’s additionally the identify of the e book Bensimon is releasing — and a becoming metaphor for all of his work.

One of many nice literary voices of her era and lately confirmed within the forged of the following Flip, the 40-year-old gaúcha mastered the development of characters who depart from her previous and discover themselves, sooner or later, pressured to confront locations and other people they left behind. again.

Its protagonists, like taxidermist Cecília, appear to be on the run on a regular basis – attempting to throw justifications into the air, however at all times seeming to have a relentless dynamo that strikes them in centrifugal pressure. “Properly, let’s not go right into a psychoanalysis session”, says the author, laughing, throughout an interview on the headquarters of Companhia da Letras.

“This sample was one thing I seen with my readers,” she says. “This duplicity of displacement and the place of the household pulling again. The protagonist by no means in a position to break away.” Like her writer, Cecília has lived in California for an excellent few years, after spending her childhood and youth in Rio Grande do Sul. It was additionally in Mendocino, a small coastal neighborhood within the US state, that the stoner protagonist of his earlier novel, “O Clube dos Jardineiros de Fumaça”, awarded at Jabuti, lived.


The author’s relationship with her fatherland is ambiguous – motivated, maybe, by the very fact that her grandparents ended up in Porto Alegre after fleeing Egypt due to the federal government’s persecution of Sephardic Jews. “I feel I’m crossed by a confused identification, of by no means having felt correctly Brazilian or no matter.”

The author offers an interview continuously taking a look at her palms, reluctant to return out of introspection as she stitches her life to that of her creations. A blue-and-pink neck scarf adorns her shoulder-length brown hair, and her ankle boots would match completely on any of the feminine associates starring in “We All Liked Cowboys,” her cult novel from 2013.

“In Mendocino, I really feel like I’ve discovered my place,” he says eventually. “The impression I get from my friendships is that everybody selected to stay there. It’s not ‘I used to be born right here, so I’m nonetheless right here’. I like that ambiance of alternative.”

All this rambling is sensible as a result of it permeates each web page of “Diorama”. Cecília’s relationship with her father, an iron ball in her ankle, is marked by a barbaric crime impressed by the actual case of José Antonio Daudt, a gaucho congressman and broadcaster shot useless in entrance of her condo within the Eighties.


The younger lady is the daughter of the fictional Raul Matzenbacher, the principle accused of the homicide, and her exile in the USA refers on a regular basis to the reverberations of that episode.

Because the narrative unfolds, it turns into clear that a lot of it’s defined by the repressive traditionalism of a neighborhood armed to the tooth. One of the vital liberating scenes in “Diorama” is when Cecília, in her late 40s and courting an American, goes to mattress with the younger woman who works on the grocery store checkout. It doesn’t take lengthy for us to additionally understand that sexuality is a matter that pulsates latent within the underground of all historical past.

When Bensimon printed “Todos Nós Adoramos Caubóis”, which revolved round two friend-lovers exploring small resort rooms within the gaucho countryside, it was uncommon for there to be Brazilian novels with spotlights on gay ladies.

“After I grew up, I form of didn’t have a lesbian relationship reference. After which I’m not even speaking about Brazilian literature, however about any cultural product”, she says. “I needed to fantasize somewhat. I listened to a band known as Veruca Salt within the 90s, and the ladies checked out one another in a form of bizarre, form of ambiguous means, I saved considering they’d one thing. However that was all.”


Bensimon has lived with his companion in California for 4 years, however has dated males. Requested about bisexuality, she prefers to talk on the Kinsey scale, which establishes sexual attraction as one thing fluid measured in gradations from 0 to six, from extra to much less straight.

“After I was in highschool, I thought of myself a 5. Then I feel I fell somewhat bit on the size, as a result of I had a critical relationship with a person, however as we speak I see myself nicely on the aspect of utmost homosexuality.”

It’s a posture that reveals openness to exploration, as each Cora and Julia do in “Cowboys” and Cecília in her newest novel. It isn’t with out resistance, nonetheless.


The meticulous taxidermist has grow to be accustomed to freezing a distant previous in time whereas escaping her personal. She seems to be beasts within the eye, however avoids individuals – the novel traces the trail of a girl who, lastly, accepts to see the diorama of her personal life.


All this woven right into a narrative skillful in intertwining previous and current on the identical web page, with out ever dropping the reader. “I can not and wouldn’t like to put in writing a narrative that progresses in chronological order”, says the author. “Even as a result of I don’t assume it really works like that in actual life.”

Our childhood continues to be right here with us, in spite of everything, as is our need for the long run. Life is as a lot in what has been as in what’s but to be.

There’s a easy second in “Diorama” when Cecilia’s boyfriend, Jesse, comes throughout her work for the primary time. He praises the vivacity of a decades-old stuffed coyote that, “in some bizarre means, was nonetheless there.” Cecília is astonished – and Bensimon flashes a message to the readers. “Jesse had chosen, between life and demise, to understand life.”
Worth: BRL 69.90 (288 pages); BRL 39.90 (book)
Creator: Carol Bensimon
Writer: Companhia das Letras

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