Abstract

In her enigmatic novel La cresta de Ilión (2002), Cristina Rivera Garza deploys a conceptual persona with which she questions traditional models of subjectivity and explores new ones. Whereas critical approaches to the novel have considered its protagonist’s identitarian trespassing in terms of gender, I follow Elizabeth Gross in suggesting that this type of inquiry leaves the category of sex unquestioned and in so doing runs the risk of reifying the very binary oppositions that it seeks to challenge. Approaching both gender and sex as discursive fields, this study reads La cresta de Ilión through the critical lens developed by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari in Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. An oneiric search for a lost manuscript sends Rivera Garza’s narrator on a line of flight—in Deleuzo-Guattarese terms—away from being, not on a journey to find out who one is but on a schizophrenic voyage of becoming. Along the way, the protagonist learns to reanimate the desires that have been calcified by society’s despotic machines. Faced with a series of paradoxes that short-circuit the machines that code and overcode polymorphous desires into normative patterns of behavior, the reader too is forced to rethink some of our most basic and constraining assumptions.

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