I love how life is full of surprises, especially the gentler ones…like coming home on a bright, warm Sunday afternoon to find the wild rosebush near the front steps bursting with little flaming buds the color of flamingo feathers; like discovering a hand-stitched quilt from UPS at your door, made by a great-aunt you only met once (you brought her a handful of flowers from her garden on a sunny day when she couldn’t get out of bed); and like finding a new book with prose so beautiful the pages open like lavendar blooms page after page after page.
Meet Angélica Gorodischer, an Argentine writer known for her short fiction, which belongs to a wide variety of genres, from science-fiction and fantasy, to crime and the weird. Many of her stories are told from a feminist perspective.
Born in Buenos Aires, Gorodischer has lived in Rosario since she was eight, and this city appears very frequently in her work. In 2007, the City Council of Rosario awarded her the title of Illustrious Citizen.
Kalpa Imperial: Stories
In the English-speaking world, Gorodischer might be best known for Kalpa Imperial (a two-volume work, which appeared in her native Argentina (Volume 1 in 1983; and both Volumes by 1984). Its English translation was published in 2003 by US author Ursula K. Le Guin.
A collection of short stories, Kalpa Imperial details the history of a vast imaginary empire through tales of fantasy, fable, and allegory. The collecton gained Gorodischer many admirers who consider it to be one of the finest genre works published in Argentina. The collection has also gained supporters in the English-speaking world. (A part of the work appeared as a story in the American anthology Starlight 2.)
SciFi and Feminist Themes
Gorodischer also produced many works before writing Kalpa Imperial, including the collections Opus dos (Opus two, 1967), Bajo las jubeas en flor (Under the Flowering Jubeas, 1973), and Casta Luna Electronica (Chaste Electric Moon, 1977). She had become, over the course of her career, a science fiction author noted for her work concerning the differences of power among men and women, focusing often on the pros and cons of power and it’s corruption of those in ruling positions.
A “Grand Dame” Female Detective
Gorodischer has authored two novels in the genre of detective fiction, creating an intriguing female detective, a grand dame, who reluctantly and haphazardly engages in the world of international intrigue. The character made her literary debut in 1985 in Gorodischer’s noveletta, Floreros de alabastro, alfombras de Bokhara; and reappeared later in a different form in Jugo de mango (1988).
I discovered Gorodischer by accident when I came across a book of hers, Prodigies, translated into English in the small backroom of local book Shop. Chapter after chapter I was enthralled. Prose this good is hard to come by. It’s a beautiful book and one I highly recommend. It will leave you illuminated and heart-warmed.
Chapter 1 from Prodigies…
Translations and Bibliography
Below is a list of Gorodischer’s translated work, a link to a comprehensive bibliography of her work, and some sample pages from Prodigy.
- Kalpa Imperial: The Greatest Empire That Never Was. Translated by Ursula K. Le Guin. Small Beer Press, 2003
- Trafalgar. Translated by Amalia Gladhart, 2013
- Prodigies. Translated by Sue Burke. Small Beer Press, 2015.