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Notes on a Queer (Mexican) Literature: The Case of Ana Clavel
(pp. 140-153; DOI: 10.23692/iMex.13.10)

Dr. Vinodh Venkatesh

Vinodh Venkatesh (Ph.D. UNC Chapel Hill) is an Associate Professor of Spanish at Virginia Tech. His research focuses on issues of gender, subjectivity, and the urban space in contemporary Hispanic literature and cinema. He is the author of The Body as Capital: Masculinities in Contemporary Latin American Fiction (Arizona, 2015) and New Maricón Cinema: Outing Latin American Film (Texas, 2016). With María del Carmen Caña Jiménez, he co-edited Horacio Castellanos Moya: El diablo en el espejo (Albatros, 2016), and a dossier on Latin American cinema for the Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies (2016).
Venkatesh has also edited issues of Romance Notes and Letras Hispanas. His articles and essays have been published in a variety of international journals and books.

The present essay examines the place of Ana Clavel in critical studies on contemporary Mexican fiction. Instead of situating her production vis-à-vis female contemporaries in what has been labeled the Boom Femenino, I argue that Clavel’s novels embody the ethos of a queer literature. A queer literature unpacks, decenters, and disobeys norms of gender, sex, and sexuality, and favors the posing of questions versus the providing of neatly packaged answers. Moving away from the subject, it mobilizes these same actions towards the communal and the national. Queer literature moves against the conventions of narrative; it breaks through the limits of the textual to render insufficient the power of the word. By reading the author’s meditation on sex, gender, and sexuality (especially as they relate to the urban space in Cuerpo náufrago), the essay furthers that Clavel’s fiction may best be understood within a genealogy of queer Mexican texts.