Skip to Main Content

Antonio's sister is on the run. After threatening to shoot her neighbours and claiming that Antonio, Obama and the Pentagon are conspiring against her, she's disappeared. Antonio, however, is doing his best to think of anything but his sister or, for that matter, any of his problems, for fear of destabilising the precarious middle-class existence he's built in America with his family.

Turning his back on his present-day woes, Antonio submerges himself in the past, transcribing recordings of his mother speaking about her troubled life in Colombia; his ex-wife speaking about her life in the Czech Republic; writing furiously about the past relationships that still haunt him...

This boldly original, luminous novel sparkles with life as it captures the irresistible pull of the past, and the immensity of the present moment. It cements Cárdenas' place as one of today's most innovative, daring literary voices.

  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications (January 7, 2021)
  • Length: 208 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780861540105

'Brainy and decadent, playful and outrageous, Aphasia marks the comeback of the Self in a spiraling trip into contemporary manhood and the Latin American spirit that will render you speechless.'

– Pola Oloixarac, author of Dark Constellations

'Mauro Javier Cárdenas has knocked down the novel as we know it, and built a cathedral out of the debris. Aphasia is monumental, funny, potent, and fresh. It marks a new beginning.'

– Carlos Fonseca, author of Natural History

'Mauro Javier Cárdenas's Aphasia batters at the limits of guilt, of masculinity, of love and promiscuity, of the American family and English syntax.'

– Nicole Krauss, author of Forest Dark

'Long, breathless sentences dizzying and richly packed with memories, connections, and literary references. Cárdenas undercuts the idea of a single, stable identity and suggests the self as a many-layered work in progress... Fans of the author's inventive, ambitious debut novel will find the same sardonic intelligence, paired here with a deep humanity... Original, richly felt, deftly written.'

– Kirkus

Praise for The Revolutionaries Try Again:

'This is an original, insubordinate novel, like his grammar, like his syntax, but fabulously, compellingly readable.'

– New York Times

'A high-octane, high-modernist debut novel from the gifted, fleet Mauro Javier Cardenas.'

– Harper's Magazine

'Exuberant, cacophonous... Cardenas dizzyingly leaps from character to character, from street protests to swanky soirees, and from lengthy uninterrupted interior monologues to rapid-fire dialogues and freewheeling satirical radio programs, resulting in extended passages of brilliance.'

– Publishers Weekly, starred review

'The Ecuadorian writer has delivered his debut, The Revolutionaries Try Again. While it is, indeed, very much a novel rather than a political manifesto?it depicts four childhood friends as they regroup in adulthood and aim to change their country’s politics for the better?Cardenas reveals, via some stunning and shapeshifting prose, that politics in Ecuador isn’t as straightforward as it appears on its surface, and very often it amounts to little more than a vain exercise in egobuilding and self-fantasy.'

– Kenyon Review

'Mauro Javier Cardenas’s début, The Revolutionaries Try Again, tells the tale of three Ecuadorian friends?one living in exile in San Francisco, the other two still in Guayaquil?who come together in a quixotic attempt to take the country’s Presidency. 'Everyone thinks they’re the chosen ones,' one character reminds another, and Cardenas’s gift is to show, through long, brilliant sentences, the charm of inaction and delinquency.'

– The New Yorker

'Drawing on everything from pop culture to Ecuadorian politics, and posing questions about faith, morality, and devotion to one’s country and ideals (all expressed in a deviant postmodern style), Cardenas’s spellbinding book should appeal to McOndo devotees and Bolaño fans alike. But The Revolutionaries taps into something more comprehensive and universally conscientious... It’s a novel that redefines the Latin American identity in a world characterized by social technology and ever-blurring ethnic boundaries.'

– Los Angeles Review of Books

'Each story’s hook is keenly sharpened, pulling you into the center of a tortured psyche…Revelations come through a steady drip of plot tinged with unease, with each story wholly delivered and wholly strange.'

– The Stake

'Cardenas brilliantly transforms his "book of ideas" into an unraveling interrogation into Antonio’s past, employing unorthodox paragraph structures that slip seamlessly between long passages of fast-paced stream-of-consciousness, unexpected song lyrics, and sudden dialogue.'

– Booklist

'An unhinged novel about three childhood friends contemplating a presidential run against the crooked Ecuadorian president Abdalá "El Loco" Bucaram. This is double-black-diamond high modernism, so do some warm-up stretches before you crack this baby.'

– Shelf Awareness

'The novel veers toward the nonlinear and the fragmentary, gesturing at the brokenness and inadequacy of available narratives and their inability to represent the tangled, messy realities of lives caught in the snare of failed neoliberalism. From this brokenness emerges an exuberant, virtuosic language that encompasses song, colloquial speech in English and Spanish, rapid-fire dialogues, fragmentary, elegiac interior monologues, narrative in verse form, and two chapters written exclusively in Spanish.'

– Guernica

'This dazzling debut by Mauro Javier Cardenas reads like António Lobo Antunes having a cup of coffee (or a beer) with Garcia Marquez.'

– LitHub

'What begins as an Ecuadorian political farce in Mauro Javier Cardenas’s The Revolutionaries Try Again quickly becomes the most exciting experimental novel in years?a vision so uncompromising in form and sensation that readers will leave sighing, swearing, and returning to page one.'

– Tony Tulathimutte, author of Private Citizen