In a new review of Hagar Peeters’ Malva in the literary magazine Full Stop, Hester Velmans discusses themes of fame, masculinity, and neglect.
“The writing is lyrical, sensuous, animated by Latin passion and flights of the imagination. […] This style sets Malva apart. [… Malva] is a spy ensconced inside [Neruda’s] brain, rounding out what we know of him with her own interpretation of his thoughts and motivations, occasionally erupting in anger, more often hurt, yet forgiving.
Much as we may love Neruda’s poetry, it is chastening to find out that the idol has feet of clay. There are too many men […] whose conduct, once exposed, makes us think twice about our admiration of their work. Does their genius absolve them of their bad behavior, or should the two things be kept carefully apart?
It was inevitable that in the #MeToo era, the legacy of Pablo Neruda, like that of so many ‘great men’, would come to be reassessed.”
Read the full review here.