Diaz is originally from Argentina, was raised in Sweden, and now lives in New York, giving his writing, and perspective, and insistently cosmopolitan quality—this western is unencumbered by a narrow idea of America. Håkan's profound isolation (his height, his lack of English, his foreignness) give the novel a loneliness and futility that push back against common tropes (manifest destiny, individualism) of the genre. Håkan's encounters with miners, naturalists, fundamentalists, and swindlers, all are instances of some form of plunder, complicating notions of discovery that so often efface the precolonial civilizations of the United States. Physical descriptions of the land, as well as Håkan's complete ignorance of the country where he finds himself, create a portrait of stirring, impassive, destructive space and scale, the likes of which were unimaginable to European settlers. Fans of the best of Westerns (their darkness, their emotional punch) will gravitate to Diaz for his lack of sentiment and the awe and despair the landscape and his character's story conjures up in him.
Acerca de Hernan Diaz
Hernán Díaz (Buenos Aires, 1973) creció en Suecia y ha pasado la mayor parte de su vida en los Estados Unidos. Se doctoró en Filosofía en la Universidad de Nueva York y es profesor en la Universidad de Columbia. Ha escrito el ensayo Borges, Between History and Eternity y la novela A lo lejos, finalista de los premios Pulitzer y PEN/Faulkner. Ha colaborado en publicaciones como The Paris Review, Granta, Playboy, The Yale Review, McSweeney’s o The New York Times.