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Maya Cover Image

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Paperback, Published in Jan 1992 by Fiction Collective 2

ISBN10: 0932511597 | ISBN13: 9780932511591

Page count: 138

Maya is an overlapping palimpsest of media violence and real violence placed ambiguously in the studios of Hollywood, the jungles of Vietnam, and the myth-saturated backlands of Mexico. It projects a dense atmosphere of sexual violations echoing ancient sacrifice, decadent Western interlopers, a pernicious exoticism. Above all, a confusion of the real and the make-believe, leading one to question distinctions between the two and to speculate on the influences of the one on the other. Taut, script-like paragraphs generate a tension reinforced by an acute awareness of local flora and fauna, weapons, the glitz of movie-making against a background of poverty. How, finally, can we tell the camera from what it shoots? Three actors - two aging men in the twilight of their careers and a blonde, perennial starlet - journey to a distant tropical country to perform in a film. The film apparently depicts the Mayan people of Yucatan, and their brutalization at the hands of European invaders. While waiting for the production to begin, the three actors are caught between opposing forces in a war - and abandoned in the large church-cum-museum that serves as the film's set. At the same time a crew films a movie on a sound stage in Hollywood. It is about three actors left to their fate in a large church-cum-museum that may be located in South Vietnam, Laos, or even Cambodia. A brutalizing invasion rages around them. The forests are defoliated. Helicopter gunships howl in the air. Napalm flows brilliantly over the earth, which itself shudders at the assault. In an apocalyptic scene every plane from the Vietnam war passes overhead, unloading ordnance. The church-cum-museum, wherever it is, is obliterated. In Maya, Stuefloten focuses on an America fascinated with violence and fearful of fertility. Invasions, whether military, sexual, or cultural, occur and recur. The fecundity of nature vaguely threatens. Vegetation rots; the earth swells. Bomb blasts resemble flowers bursting open

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