A review of
by Juan Filloy
When Op Oloop was first published, in 1934, two things happened: first, the book earned the praise of Sigmund Freud, who sent Filloy a letter of congratulations on his accomplishment; and second, it was eventually banned by the Buenos Aires public administration, which condemned it as “pornographic and offensive to morals and good habits.”
“As has already been stated,” Op Oloop reminds us, “some people’s brains border their anal regions.”
Fittingly, our hero is happily settled in the anal stage; order and self-control motivate his behavior. Part Pnin and part Werther, Op Oloop’s fragile sanity is held together by a “lucid imbalance.” A professional statistician, he processes the world with academic rigor, yet colors this view with a bizarre brand of romanticism. “Using censuses, diagrams, and rows and columns of figures, the static history of humanity can be described and synthesized,” Op Oloop rhapsodizes. “Plywood was my point of departure.” (He first found his calling working at the Aabo Timber Emporium Inspection Office.)
We hope you enjoy this excerpt.To read the full piece, please purchase a copy of the magazine from The McSweeney’s Store.