A diplomat is captured by supposed insurgents and is waiting in a room for his execution. Texas is a provocative story of death against the backdrop of ugly and uncompromising politics. It is also a meditation on empire, imperialism and American hegemony. The writing borrows heavily from philosophy and poetry. A book full of unique visions, written by a writer who has an ear for cadence.
About the author
Claudio Gaudio is a Toronto based writer born in Calabria, who studied literature and philosophy at York University. His work has been published in ELQ (Exile Literary Quarterly), and Rampike literary magazine. A portion of his novel Texas is being translated by Francesco Loriggio to be included in an anthology of Italian Canadian writers to be released in Calabria by Rubbettino Editore.
A very distinctive voice, in tone and syntax, demanding of the reader’s close attention.
A bold book, inventive and compelling, and I really admire what you’re doing with it. You have a very distinctive style, which is a welcome change! And terrific subject matter.
I love the immersion in excess that it gives me. I’m reminded of Robert Smithson’s essay on “a pile of language.” There is that Stein/Williams emphasis on a certain kind of materialization, it allows for the contradictory impulse of destructiveness. There is a strong sense of erasure, that unlike writing that is intended to fix finalize and preserve, here forgetting is just as important. You engage in an activity that is one of forward motion, A relentless running over cliffs, rushing toward its own destruction which has always already occurred. You’re making space by way of dislocation, the constant jarring filling of pages that empty just as fast.
Rich in imagination, timing and range
Robert Pinsky, American Poet
Dark and caustic as it is, the humour did me good, drawing quite a few laughs. Your writing is already very much distinct from anything that I’ve come across in recent memory. What comes to mind is Beckett, but a Beckett who isn’t supercilious about history and would rather forget it in favour of ontology.
Texas: A Poetic Critique of Political SubversionClaudio Gaudio’s highly experimental style in his novel Texas is poetry trespassing on the contours of prose.
Texas is neither an easy read nor a page-turner. The rapid-fire cadence of the narrative is best savoured in small doses—one page here, another there. For every four lines of text is a poem, and Gaudio’s mastery of allegory and epigrams invites the reader to journey through a devastating criticism of power politics and post-colonialism.
The plot, or rather the shadow of a plot, ostensibly has as its protagonist a diplomat, whose primary function appears to be to wheel cartloads of dollars through various third world countries, subverting their regimes and imposing more acquiescent governments in their place. The name Texas is a thinly veiled euphemism for the US.
The diplomat, having run his course of luck on several continents and leaving behind chaos and misery, is suddenly kidnapped in an unnamed Middle Eastern country, with a striking resemblance to Iraq, although perhaps seasoned with a little of Afghanistan. The diplomat, imprisoned in a barren room in a non-descript suburb, awaits his impending execution. His warder Hakim, his only human contact, is an infrequent visitor.
As the diplomat loses all hope that his political masters will ransom him, he confides to the only other living creatures in his surroundings—a bird and a mouse—his inner thoughts about his long career in financing revolutions and coup d’états, quelling rebellious nations and “state-building.”
Poetry as political criticism is not new, but Claudio’s exceptional talent in weaving it into a thoroughly enjoyable full-length novel is, at least for the Canadian literary scene.
Texas is Gaudio's first novel and is published by Toronto's Quattro Books.