Sight, sensibility, simulation: Tomás Eloy Martínez’s El vuelo de la reina
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- Davies, L.H. Neophilologus (2008) 92: 63. doi:10.1007/s11061-007-9061-0
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This article traces the inscription of Deleuzian concepts on the texture and style of El vuelo de la reina. ‹Becomings’ and ‹lines of flight’ condition a text notable not for its intellectual ideas but for its portrayal of multiple sensations and intensities: here Martínez is the writer of vitality rather than the writer of textuality as he was in his earlier novel, Santa Evita (1995). One of the protagonists, the newspaper editor, Camargo, representing danger, flux and volatility, is associated with both larva and lava, twin images that recur in the text. Camargo, the obsessive voyeur, experiences his self as divided and his failure to exert total control over his lover, Reina, gives rise to his paranoid suspicion of her. His penetrative gaze is augmented by mechanical means (telescope, camera, binoculars and magnifying glass); but, instead of holding Reina prisoner, he himself becomes a prisoner to his own obsession. He is finally reduced to dependence on his wife, Brenda, whom he had previously discarded. Martínez’s bodily language suggests the ‹becoming-sensation’ of language. Martínez constructs a universe of parallel lines, marked by ‹hot spots’ of contagion. Reina’s own metamorphoses include that of ‹becoming animal’. Her trajectory exemplifies Deleuze’s ‹lines of flight’, her final flight brutally terminated by Camargo as his virulent masculinity snuffs out her vibrant, molecular existence. This is a Deleuzian text with Peronist undertones: Camargo and Reina can be seen as blurred portraits of Perón and Eva. Peronism continues to spread its infectious power throughout Argentina, most spectacularly represented by Eva’s multiple becomings. But, in addition, the text’s internal mirroring recalls Borges. El vuelo de la reina is marked not by a single debt to one overarching influence but rather by the ebb and flow of multiple currents: Deleuzian, Peronist and Borgesian.