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Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. El Cuarto Mundo by Diamela Eltit. No one can be closer to another than a mother to her unborn child. No one, that is, except unborn twins jostling for space in the womb.
In this concise and inventive novel, a twin brother and sister vie for attention from the reader much as they competed for room before their birth. Their prenatal intimacy and jealousy interlace until they can hardly recognize who is who.. The Fourth World, first published in , is her third novel. While other Chilean writers fled the military dictatorship that began in , Eltit found no alternative but to join resistance groups and actively protest the government until democracy was restored in In the intervening years she learned the dual importance of concealment and discovery in language and the vital connections among story, politics, and personal survival.
Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published by Grupo Editorial Norma first published June 1st More Details Original Title. Other Editions 5.
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More filters. Sort order. Start your review of El Cuarto Mundo. Diamela Eltit writes: When I turned twelve I had my first sexual encounter. It happened on a street. The sky was darkened with clouds. I was walking attentively along a narrow street when I sensed that someone was following me. My heart began to pound, yearning for the secret pleasure that emerged from some part of my brain. I soon realized that I was not the one being followed, but the one following someone else, someone slender, walking unhurriedly, and seeming to glide along in an affected manner.
The equivocal situation made me fear I was hallucinating, but the sound of the steps, the crisp air, and the uneven sidewalk confirmed that I was deeply immersed in a real situation. Inexplicably, and in some crucial way, however, that moment pulled me away from the world I knew and pushed me into another in which that hieroglyphic person would make similarity and difference fade into one another.
At one particular moment I lost sight of the figure. Dejected and vexed by inertia, I began to double back, thinking nostalgically about my loss. I felt deprived of some absolute presence, more fundamental than my parents and more mysterious than the sum of my fluctuations.
Sadly, I started back. Of the four roads from which I could choose, each one was as equally possible as it was a mistake. I quickly realized that not only had I lost someone but also, in the search, I had become lost myself. It would have been absurd to wager on which way I should return. One of those roads would take me home, but if I were to choose the wrong one, it would take me three times as long to get back. It seemed as if I were being punished for letting myself be guided by my impulses.
Soon it was going to get dark and the city would become even more dangerous. I had been warned about it so many times that now it seemed like a dream to be exposed to it, just on the edge of twilight and shielded by anonymous, conventional dwellings.
Some curious faces observed me while I stood there, stubborn and rigid, trying to decide which way to go. Becoming desperate, I tried to reconstruct my original route, but each possibility seemed equally valid to me. As I got cold, I became more anxious, so I made a random choice. I had no memories or assumptions that would have convinced me that I should have headed south.
I was facing a long and lonely walk, intensified by fear every step of the way. There was nothing to distract me, except the darkness that was overtaking the sky ever so quickly. Suddenly, when my miserable condition was too much for me to bear, I saw that same figure standing nearby.
I froze, overwhelmed by irrepressible desire. I stopped. I felt myself being pushed up against the stone wall, breathing in unison with the figure that was stroking me. Expert, soft hands ran all over my body and fingers pushed against me in order to remove my clothing. In that public exchange, those hands that traversed my body back and forth found their way to the most stimulated part of me. Unable to feel the stone wall jabbing my back anymore, I sought a deeper reality once those caresses had prepared me for that moment.
Feeling totally outside my body, I tried to touch the other person, but a pair of hands stopped me. As if in apology, our mouths became fused with the passion of our saliva. My tongue became a sword, seeking not only to wound my rival but also to lick my ally. Out mouths witnessed a combat of shifting liquids that became desperately and painfully prolonged.
My breathing became nasally vulgar as the undulations, domination, and pricking left me out of breath. Unable to continue, I decided to consummate the act, but the figure fled, leaving me stinging against the stone wall. Then the pain began. A sharp, genital pain, provoked by vigorous and demanding desire. Alone and shameless, I resigned myself to the personal glory that I had assiduously attained for the first time.
Satisfaction was measured by the curve of desire and the dimension of abandonment. When the violence of the stones returned, I knew it was over. The hours it took me to get home were agonizing, for I cursed and cursed the whole way, trying to destroy my sexual vitality.
I saw myself as an outcast, I was unworthy of living with my family, and I felt as if my mind and body had been condensed into all the encrusted afflictions of the world. At intervals, strong surges of well-being helped return me to a state of moderation, reducing the denigrated feeling I had about myself. The accursed sermon of reason incessantly accused me of a perfidious crime whose fine was permanent shame and horror.
I promised to make all kinds of sacrifices, even castration, in order to alleviate that burden; yet something had become hopelessly perverted in me and, deep inside, I had exposed myself to a cynical yet honest life. I suffered intensely for several days but, little by little, even though I was feeling much anxiety, I concentrated on elucidating exactly what happened in that meeting on the street.
Despite continually reconstructing that encounter I could never ascertain anything with any proof, even though I know I encountered youthful plentitude in the flesh of a young female beggar or a young male vagabond who, as night approached, performed a charitable act for me.
Muy intenso, impredecible y con una prosa fabulosa. Shelves: read-in So why not brave the comparison head-on? On the other hand, and here is where El Cuarto Mundo becomes masterful, the story and family constitute an allegorical vision of the "Latin American Condition" in the late twentieth century.
The twins, who perceive themselves as alone in the world except for each other, are more or less ignored by their parents, though they live in the same house, and without any moral guidance, who can fault them in early adolescence for succumbing to the lure of sheer physical pleasure? Without any help from "more civilized countries", who can fault Latin American countries for succumbing to nepotism, coups, revolutions and dictatorships?
Even this is a simplification, though -- Eltit addresses more in short pages than just the macro-political is that even a word? Also present are a clear feminist consciousness Should a woman allow herself to birth a child into a country lorded over by a dictator? Dollars in particular. To illustrate: At one point in the text a cloudburst of dollar bills showers down upon the characters, falls into their mouths, is sucked up into their vaginas and other orifices, etc.
A weird but highly recommended read -- and for such an experimental text, a rather easy read. Available in an English translation as The Fourth World. Jan 05, Mary rated it it was amazing Shelves: spanish-lit.
Cuarto Mundo by Diamela Eltit
El Cuarto Mundo