Fireflies by Luis Sagasti, translated by Fionn Petch / ISBN 9781999722746 / 89-page paperback with flaps from Charco Press (Edinburgh)
How do we even begin to narrate the history of the world? Where do we start, and where do we end? Fireflies is Sagasti’s bold and original attempt to answer these questions. Roaming across time and geography, he lights on an eclectic array of characters and events that at first glance seem unrelated, and teases out their stories to reveal unexpected points of contact between them. Stanley Kubrick, Joseph Beuys, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Neil Armstrong, Ludwig Wittgenstein, the Beatles, Japanese poets, Brazilian priests, Russian cosmonauts and many more cross these pages, and Sagasti finds common threads that weave them together into a single narrative.
The fireflies themselves perhaps provide the key to understanding this book. They become a metaphor for the resistance of certain luminous moments, certain twinkling fragments of history, to the passing of time. They remind us that events do not always simply disappear neatly into the darkness, but rather remain, floating in the air, lighting up the night sky indefinitely. Sagasti shows us that the present moment, like this novel, is a tapestry woven of a multiplicity of times.Using his unique, poetic and keenly observant style, Sagasti transforms the accidents of history into a single, lyrical constellation, and for the reader it is an extraordinary sight.
Luis Sagasti, a writer, lecturer and art critic, was born in Bahía Blanca, Argentina in 1963. The author of five novels, including Fireflies (known in Spanish as Bellas Artes, 2011) and A Musical Offering (Una Ofrenda Musical, 2017), he’s just about to publish his most recent book, comprised entirely of footnotes.
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