Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Story of My Teeth

The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli
Translated by Christina MacSweeney
Coffee House Press, 2015

"I read a story in the newspaper about a certain local writer who had had all his teeth replaced. This writer, apparently, was able to afford the new dentures and the expensive operation because he'd written a novel. A novel! I saw my future, crystal clear. If that writer had had his teeth fixed with a book, I could do it too. Or, even better, I could get someone to write one for me." p. 18

"The teeth are the true windows to the soul; they are the tabula rasa on which all our vices are inscribed." p. 50

"I am Gustavo Sanchez Sanchez, I said. I am the peerless Highway. And I am my teeth. They may seem to you to be yellowed and a little worse for wear, but I can assure you: these teeth once belonged to none other than Marilyn Monroe, and she needs no introduction. If you want them, you will have to take me along too." p. 62

     Ah! I see that you're going to be a good writer too.
     Why do you say that?
     Because when you smile, you don't show your teeth. Real writers never show their teeth. Charlatans, in contrast, flash that sinister crescent when they smile. Check it out. Find photos of all the writers you respect, and you'll see that their teeth remain a permanently occult mystery. I believe the only exception is the Argentinian Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis.
     The selfsame. Blind and Argentinian. But he doesn't count because he was blind, so he probably couldn't picture himself smiling--at least, not with the smile he had when he was blind, if you know what I mean." p.111

September 11, 2015 New York Times Sunday Book Review:

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