Diamela Eltit: Custody of the Eyes
Sternberg Press, 2022, Softcover, 148 pages, 18 × 11.5 cm
Contribution by Anna Zett
Alienation and dire frustration mount as an unnamed woman—a mother—struggles to survive in the face of state repression, neighborhood surveillance, extreme weather, and familial control. Told through one side of an epistolary exchange, the novel’s letters are bookended by dense ramblings by the mother’s son, who struggles to speak and write and spends most of his days in lockdown rearranging his “vessels,” hysterically laughing, drooling, writhing, withdrawing—a state that will ultimately consume his mother as well. This is a story that explores how power is enacted on and through the body—the physical, the social, and the political. Custody of the Eyes (Los Vigilantes) reconfirms the essential, constitutive nature of language and expression in power and freedom.