49 Venezuelan Novels, by Sebastian Castillo
Sebastian Castillo’s 49 Venezuelan Novels is a magical book of unique and surreal micro-fiction with a new story on every page. Full of depth and imagination, Castillo uses imagery in a simple yet intense way. From stories of fish markets to spiteful violins, it almost seems that these novels are snippets of family stories long passed down, just now put to paper. With the nature of a born storyteller, Sebastian Castillo provides readers with gorgeous stories.
Sebastian Castillo's micro-fictional assemblages invoke a logical illogic wherein nothing is untrue or impossible, secrets have secrets, and any sentence can change the world. 49 Venezuelan Novels is a magical, medicinal mini-encyclopedia for our ongoing human rune. - Blake Butler
Like singing while swinging upside down from monkey bars over an open volcano. - Mark Leidner
This is not a joke. There really are 49 Venezuelan novels here. I have read them many times and learned more on each occasion. It has been a pleasure. I strongly recommend this book to you and your family. Sebastian Castillo has given us a gift within these pages. - Lucy K. Shaw
Cover art by G.W. Duncanson
THE SENTENCE & THE GRADE
Once, my mother asked me to buy fish at the market, but they only had batteries. I bought the batteries instead, and wrote “fish” on the front of the package. She was moved by the gesture. We had cheese arepas for dinner; my father was laughing about something from work.
Here they’ve banned brooms, tomatoes, microwaves, oxygen tanks, flint, radios, bandanas, cloth puppets, discs of all kind, guitars, sunglasses, dried fruit, and laughing in public. Each with legal category; each an explanation, a schema; each an apology to no one. Their pamphlets descend on us with the glimmer of Kantian logic, but they’re more or less unreadable, even for those who can still read.
AGAINST THE UNIVERSE
In kindergarten, a girl undressed in front of me. She had a lascivious look in her one eye. I felt stunned, excited. The teacher caught us and whisked her away to a different room, where I heard a toilet flush. I started noticing a trail of water everywhere.
A thousand-year-long conspiracy that a certain color, long believed to be nonexistent, is hiding in some forgotten desert at the top or bottom of the world. An anthropologist is writing a paper on this for publication. In a different country, a boy is born without a name.