Diamela Eltit

Diamela Eltit is a Chilean writer and artist. She began producing works during the Pinochet dictatorship, staging actions as part of the artist collective CADA and publishing her first novels, Lumpérica and El Cuarto Mundo. She has received many literary prizes, including Chile's National Prize for Literature in 2018. She is a Distinguished Global Professor of Creative Writing in Spanish at New York University.

  • Custody of the Eyes

    Custody of the Eyes

    Diamela Eltit

    An unnamed woman—a mother—struggles to survive in the face of state repression, neighborhood surveillance, extreme weather, and familial control.

    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, Custody of the Eyes (Los Vigilantes) presents letters 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, and 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 reconfirms the essential, constitutive nature of language and expression in power and freedom.

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