Diamela Eltit: Custody of the Eyes

Alienation and dire frustration mount as an unnamed woman—a mother—struggles to survive in the face of state repression, neighborhood surveillance, extreme weather, and familial control. Told through one side of an epistolary exchange, Custody of the Eyes (Los Vigilantes) presents letters bookended by dense ramblings by the mother’s son, who struggles to speak and write and spends most of his days in lockdown rearranging his “vessels,” hysterically laughing, drooling, writhing, and withdrawing—a state that will ultimately consume his mother as well.

This is a story that explores how power is enacted on and through the body—the physical, the social, and the political. Custody of the Eyes reconfirms the essential, constitutive nature of language and expression in power and freedom.