Project Description

Lumen Prize for Novels 2023Leticia Martin

Argentina

Leticia Martin was born in Lomas del Mirador in 1975 and lives in Buenos Aires. She holds a Bachelor of Communication Science from the University of Buenos Aires and an International Postgraduate Degree in Cultural Management and Communication Policies. Martin is a writer, a poet, and a cultural critic. In 2017, she published the collection of essays FEMINISMOS. In 2021, she started teaching a Science Fiction Literature seminar at the University of Quilmes. Among other novels, Leticia Martin wrote VLADIMIR, winner of the 2023 Lumen Prize for novels.

For further information on her workshops, please visit also: > qejaediciones

 

Leticia Martin© Alejandra López

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Vladimir

Vladimir is a dystopian novel set in contemporary Buenos Aires, in the midst of the chaos produced by a sudden power failure. The title and the attraction of an unevenly aged couple is inspired by Nabokov’s novel “Lolita”, but with reversed gender roles.
The protagonist, Guinea Haze, 45, is a literature professor with an obsession for young boys. After a falling-out with a student that ends in a major scandal, she leaves university in the United States and returns to her home country. This happens at the time of the Great Blackout, when a large part of the world is disconnected. Buenos Aires airport is in chaos, Guinea hitchhikes and is picked up by Rostov Peret. As her mobile phone doesn’t work and Guinea can’t even check the address of her destination, Rostov offers her a place to stay. He lives with his son Vladimir, a 13-year-old teenager. Guinea and the young boy are attracted to each other as soon as they meet.
Rostov also begins to like Guinea, but there is no room for this attraction. The three of them try to organise their lives under very precarious circumstances. There isn’t even enough food for the two dogs in the house. Disaster is compounded by outcasts attacking the house, looting and killing in the streets, and the dogs go from defending them to starving to death. In an attempt to rescue Rostov from an attack by his own animals, Vladimir shoots randomly and kills his father. Guinea is now left as the boy’s lawful guardian. At first she comforts him, looks after him, cares for him. But finally her instinct takes over and she has a sexual experience with him.
Vladimir equates the destruction of the world with the destruction of the human being. The story of a woman who cannot escape her impulses and who will never end up renouncing them. In a world of freedoms where nothing in relation to sex is forbidden, the story of Guinea and Vladimir shows us how limits can always go further, while at the same time raising a new question: does society exist if there are no limits?

Quotes

Vladimir

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A New Noise

Leticia Martin‘s A New Noise (“Un ruido nuevo”) tells the story of modern family life, infidelity and the breakdown of marriage, with a metaphysical twist. Maria Lobo is the mother of three children, a wife, an advertising professional and a writer. She lives a comfortable middle-class life with her family in Buenos Aires. Her daily routine of transporting her children and going to work has recently been expanded to include visits to a creative writing guru and a psychoanalyst. Maria struggles to balance her authorial ambitions and her bad conscience about neglecting her children and her husband, Román. Her attempts to revive some passion with him fail. Then a romantic encounter with a colleague brings the problems to the surface in an explosive way, and her life begins to change rapidly. New Noise is a powerful and witty meditation on the tribulations of modern life from the perspective of a woman and her different roles. The metafictional element, combined with the fragmentary nature of the novel that reflects the protagonist‘s state of mind, is what makes the novel more than just a domestic drama. There is a wise irony in the way that the very conscious Maria tells her story, enriched by an excellent sense of comic timing, evident from the very first pages.

Quotes

New Noise

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Estrógenos

Martín struggles at home with his partner Cecilia: she is stubborn and self-centred. He diverts her with sex, and she uses the opportunity to make him pregnant. Estrógenos („Oestrogens“) plays in the future, in which the women refuse to give birth and men can get pregnant. Although Martín, at Cecilia’s insistence, has been undergoing hormone therapy for weeks, he feels surprised, but lets it happen. After the act, while his girlfriend gives a little cheer and then, as usual, takes a shower and goes to work, Martín buys a pregnancy test: Positive. He finds himself keeping silent at his workplace, for fear of degradation. It does not take long before a colleague, who has watched his protective hand movement over his belly, starts a rumour. After a short time his boss dismisses Martín on the pretext of a team restructuring. While he is still thinking about how to give the news to Cecilia, she tells him that she still feels much too young for family planning, and, by the way, has she met someone. She grabs her backpack and Martín remains alone, pregnant and unemployed. He looks for consolation in alcohol, and has an affair. While he is carrying on in a car park with his new flame, Greta, he is arrested. The government has decreed that every pregnant man must go to the nearest hospital without delay. Martín lives there like in a prison, while on the streets violent protests start. After his son is born, he finds a possibility to escape.The novel is brilliantly written and invariably captivates the reader. It can be read as a dystopia, but is astonishingly up-to-date in its sharp observations concerning the coexistence of men and women, technological development, and social order. What is the difference between the sexes today? Is everything desirable in terms of progress? What should be regulated by the state, and what reserved for privacy? Martín paints a gloomy picture without giving up hope. In the end, the father tells his son what happened, the circle of human life and tradition enters a new phase.

Quotes

Estrógenos

RIGHTS

NOVELS
Vladimir (“Vladimir”)

Barcelona: Lumen (PRH) 2023, 176 p.
Lumen Prize for Novels 2023
English sample translation available by Thomas Bunstead

A New Noise (“Un ruido nuevo”)
Buenos Aires: Azul Francia 2020, 136 p.
Spain: Villa de Indianos 2023 · Uruguay: Ediciones de la Banda Oriental 2021 (book club edition, only Uruguay)

Oestrogens (“Estrógenos”)
Buenos Aires: Galerna 2016, 186 p.
Film rights under option
Spain: Ediciones Huso 2019

The Taste (“El gusto”)
Buenos Aires: Pánico el Pánico 2012, 133 p.

ESSAYS
Feminism (“Feminismos”)
Buenos Aires: Letras del Sur 2017, 159 p.

SHORT STORIES
Todo lo que no es boca en mi cuerpo grita (“Everything That Is Not a Mouth in My Body Screams Out”)
Buenos Aires: UOiEA! 2023, 52 p.

The Crowning of the Workman (“La coronación del peón”)
Buenos Aires: Milena-8vo loco 2014, 96 p.

SHORT PROSE
Rusty Bulldozers (“Topadoras Oxidadas”)
Buenos Aires: Qeja ediciones 2019, 93 p.

POETRY
Prayer Book or the Religious Service (“Breviario o el oficio religioso”)
Buenos Aires: Funesiana 2012, 50 p.

PARTICIPATION IN ANTHOLOGIES
Full Moon Behind Pale Yellow Clouds (“Vollmond hinter fahlgelben Wolken”)
German: Unionsverlag 2018, 30th anniversary of LiBeraturpreis
(Short Story Dos Rayitas)

Dirty with Rubber (“Sucias de caucho”)
Buenos Aires: Milena Caserola 2018, 106 p.

Buenos Aires Breathes Poetry (“Buenos Aires respira poesía”)
Buenos Aires: INCAA 2013

The Lasting Border (“La frontera durante”)
Buenos Aires: Outsider 2014