Museo animal will be published in English next year in a translation by Megan McDowell. Nonetheless, we want to give our English readers a taster of the kind of ideas you are about to find in this unique novel.
Heat and the Caribbean Baroque
Two days later I received the first message. In it Tancredo outlined a theory about baroque in the tropics. He said that art and Caribbean culture could be easily understood if a fundamental factor was also understood: heat. The tropics were, by definition, entropic. Heat led to movement, to excess, to sweat, to the picaresque mood in baroque. Then he went on to talk about the role mosquitoes play in this tropical cosmogony: mosquitoes, invisible but devilish, were the true Caribbean muse. While the Greeks had imagined the angel, and Lorca had witnessed the presence of elves, Tancredo proclaimed the disquietness produced by the mosquito. One need only look, noted Tancredo in his email, at a man in a battle with a mosquito: his gestures, absurd and excessive, make him appear as a man in a trance. I laughed reading all this while imagining that poor fatso lost in those colonial alleyways, sweating buckets, dressed like a true tourist with his brimmed hat and well pressed white guayabera. However, I could not but agree with his crazy thesis: heat, now that I was pondering it, was the engine of my happy tropics.