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<<|| [28.08.11] Daniel Grandbois & Fidel Sclavo: from Unlucky Lucky Tales ||>>

Apuleius' "The Golden Ass" in Conversation with "Japanese Tales" (Pantheon)

When I was an orphan, I was seized by the hair and dragged away. There was a fenced area in one corner of the compound, enclosing a pit. I was to guard the corpses.
    A frog darted over the grass toward the pond. “You’re wicked, aren’t you!” said a man, killing it. “See here,” he said. “Nose entire. Eyes intact. Ears undamaged. Lips immaculate. They disguise themselves as birds, you know,” and then I was left alone to console the twitching corpse.
      It was about four in the afternoon.
     I slept in my room. One or two of mother’s friends visited me there. Father’s brothers patted my head, telling how they’d helped Mama plant a tangerine tree in the garden. She did it, they said, to call me to her.
     Dawn’s rosy arms hauled me out of that room and placed me back at the fence. A weasel crept up, not looking at all like a bird, and fixed me with a needling stare. “Get out, you fool!” it admonished before turning tail and scampering toward the pond, only just escaping the sleep-crusted eye of the sun.
     From within the fence then, footsteps approached. The lock clicked. He was halfway out of the gate when he stopped, took a sheet of paper and folded it into a bird. When he tossed it in the air, downy plumes fluttered out and thickened into wings, as it became a white heron. Yet, the wrinkles unfolded, first toes then beak, and the paper came to rest in my hands.

Fidel Sclavo

Lewis Carroll’s "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland"in Conversation with Aesop's Fables

She thought it must be the right house because the roof was thatched with fur, and so produced from under her arm a great letter, nearly as large as herself. At this moment, the door opened, and a queer-shaped little creature, holding out its arms and legs in all directions like a starfish, sneezed and howled alternately without a moment's pause.
     She handed over the letter and felt quite relieved to see the creature trot away into the wood.
     To great applause, the spectacle was repeated with other girls. Each found her way into a tidy little room with a table in the window and became one more member of the audience, while the queer-shaped creatures in the wood tried everything they could to find water, but all efforts were in vain. They hobbled out of the forest and were immediately captured and brought to market.
     A man who wanted to buy a team of asses settled for the starfish. He put halters on them and led them home, not bothering to read the letters each still carried, folded like proteins in the cells of their pockets. His stables as unfinished as ever, he let them in under the fur-covered roof of his house.
     Immediately, they took to doubling themselves up and straightening themselves out again. All as one, they drew the backs of their arms across their eyes, sighed deeply, and tossed the letters into the fire.
     “You don't know much,” they said to the man, “and that's a fact.” The peppery ash got in their eyes and noses, and, braying like asses, they beat him with their sneezes until he had to kneel down on the floor.
     “What will become of me?” he asked, and the spectacle came to an end amidst the laughter and ridicule of the audience.

Jonathan Swift’s "Gulliver’s Travels" in Conversation with "Russian Fairy Tales" (Pantheon)

She returned from tending the potatoes and found the goat lying on the shelf, pulled off her shoes and stockings, waded through his feces, and wiped his nose with a handkerchief. The goat was pleased—he combed his beard and sang, “Wife of the goat, wife of the snot-nose!”
      He had seized her on his tall horns and carried her beyond the steep mountains to this cabin. At first she put up a fight, but then she cut a block of wood and wrapped it in swaddling clothes. She used the handkerchief on it ceaselessly, saying slobber was running from her son’s mouth.
     The block got all the food he wanted. She cut larger blocks to show how much he’d grown. When he reached maturity, she broke a finger off the statue in the courtyard and attached it to his body, imagining a discharge powerful enough to dash the goat’s brains out.
     In time, the statue had no fingers left, and a forest of strong sons surrounded her. By then, however, the goat was too old to put up a fight. He wandered off to die. She followed after, leaving her dolls in the corners.

Fidel Sclavo

Fidel Sclavo

T.S. Eliot’s "The Waste Land" in Conversation with Jay Wright's "Dimensions of History"

I used to call them wings, the broken fingernails of dirty hands, the fertile wombs of hunters.
     Crossing the river now, what is that noise? Fish flopping up and biting the bank? Or the wind dragging its belly under the door?
     It will be difficult. The sun has bent itself and flung its smoke. Look to windward. I am that head the little girls carry. In the choking whiteness, waiting for my seasons, I am the mother who won’t dream of you.

Daniel Grandbois (text) is the author of the story collection Unlucky Lucky Days (BOA Editions, 2008), the art novel The Hermaphrodite: An Hallucinated Memoir (Green Integer, 2010), and the omnibus collection Unlucky Lucky Tales (forthcoming Texas Tech University Press, 2012). As well, he plays in three of the pioneering bands of The Denver Sound: Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Tarantella, and Munly.

Fidel Sclavo (art) has won prestigious international and Uruguayan prizes, such as the Gran Premio del Salon Municipal de Montevideo, and, for three years running, the first prize in the Salon Nacional de Uruguay. He has held countless exhibitions at museums and galleries in Uruguay, Europe and the United States. He is represented in New York by Josee Bienvenu Gallery and in Buenos Aires by Jorge Mara/La Ruche Gallery, and was featured as one of Latin Americas top graphic designers in Julius Wiedemann’s “Latin American Graphic Design” (TASCHEN, 2008)

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