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by Kim Kent

11 months ago


Previous Pairings

Little Eyes, Samanta Schweblin & Spuma Vino Frizzante, Denny Bini


Little Eyes, by Samanta Schweblin with Spuma! Vino Frizzante by Denny Bini

by Kim Kent

11 months ago


Little Eyes, Samanta Schweblin & Spuma Vino Frizzante, Denny Bini

by Kim Kent

11 months ago


The second time I read Little Eyes by Samanta Schweblin I was sitting outside a bookstore-café in L.A., after purchasing the book though I already owned it at home. I bought the copy, my second, because I was not at home; I was not where I thought I would be on that Thursday afternoon. Around me strangers whispered loudly about other strangers: directors, producers, someone else’s manuscript; I read through the sun’s glare, hungrily, the tip of my tongue poking out between my lips. A found this feeling exceptionally freeing—being someplace I was not supposed to be, or didn’t intend to end up—a feeling akin to that of inhabiting Schweblin’s novel. The reader, another set of eyes blinking into a world we, like her many characters, are given only temporary access to, but, despite our impermanent stay there, leave irrevocably changed. 

I’ve been thinking about the process of molecular change—the power of it. The sun, for example, changes us physically, as well as on a cellular level (please stay with me on this less than scientific line of inquiry). Rage too has the power to shift, transform us cell by little cell. Little Eyes is a novel attuned to this attentive, rageful mood, and, despite the many “sharp, multitudinous” other things to love about this novel—such as its ability to obliterate time—is my favorite part. I read, and read again the last few chapters, enthralled. The wreck of it. The release. The pure furry and joy of it. It’s a bit like drinking bubbles: an overpour, an over pouring, satisfying and unsustainable. For this reason I suggest you open this month’s sparkling Lambrusco di Sorbara as you round into the second half of her novel. Warning: both will go quickly. 

There are seven different types of Lambrusco, the Sorbara varietal being one of the lighter, more floral styles made for “daily drinking.” This Spuma Vino Frizzante from Denny Bini is made Col Fondo style, meaning secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle, which creates the hazy, mild funk and unfiltered sediment that tastes like paste of dried tangerine peels. And of course, the bubbles, which are light, airy, and go flat quickly in the glass. It’s one to pour as needed, and keep handy, as you disappear into this book, leaving behind the person you thought you were.

 

Samanta Schweblin is an Argentinian novelist currently living in Berlin. She is also the author of Fever Dream and the short story collection Mouthful of Birds. I can not recommend either of these books enough. The recipient of many awards, she was chosen by Granta as one of the twenty-two best Spanish writers under thirty five. Megan McDowell has translated many of my favorite contemporary South American and Spanish novelists. She lives in Chile. 
Denny Bini makes easy-drinking lambruscos of the classic style in Emilia-Romagna, Italy. There are six, or seven depending who you ask, grapes in the lambrusco category. He is considered one of the “humble-heroes” of bringing traditional lambruscos back to this previously commercial region. The Spuma comes from a single hectare of grapes and there were only 6,000 bottles made.