Giannina Braschi, an epiphany
It was a difficult book to read. A test at times since I can honestly say that it was all but a pleasant reading experience. Yet, once you finally understand what it is about and you finally agree to let go of your expectations - the expectations of a reader unfamiliar with postmodernist fiction -, to stop looking for a plot and for definite characters, you see how powerful and intelligent the author is. Once you agree to leave your comfort zone, you realize how great and profound is the truth that Giannina Braschi's voices (I can't call them characters) speak of.
Hence, Yo-Yo Boing! is a series of conversations with no beginning and no ending, on as various topics as metafiction, art, immigration, discrimination, multiculturalism, language, dreams, censorship, food, war and so on. When you realize you need to stop trying to name and genderise the voices, and you free yourself of all conventions, you can read the novel as a flow of thoughts that highlight the condition of humanity in contemporary society. Yet, the best way to describe the book is by quoting one of the voices from this book: “allegory of lost souls”.
I felt most at home in this book at the end of the ‘novel’ when reading a short text entitled “Canned Sardines”. It is so about my past few years that I cannot help quoting from it:
If they bring you down, put you down, keep you down in a can of sardines – my question is the following – why did you let them pack you into a can of sardines – if you are not a sardine – and your boss and other sardines who are sardines don’t realize that you are not a sardine? You’ve been so conditioned to act like a sardine – you think your canned existence is your sole existence – and you can’t tell yourself apart from the other sardines that oppress you because you’re all stuck together in one big clump […]. If you let them pack you into a sardine can, it’s because you are a sardine – just like all the rest – made of salt and oil, scales and tails, slimy and thick.