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This essay considers Arturo Islas’s posthumously published novel, La Mollie and the King of Tears (1996), arguing that an examination of its “archival remains”—its drafted and rejected material found in Islas’s archive—offers compelling evidence of the text’s anxious resistances to bodily, narrative, and cultural annihilation. Drawing on textual scholarship that prioritizes notions of texts as “fluid” or “in process” as well as on theories of queer and asycnhronous temporalities, I argue for a reading of the novel as haunted by its erasures and absences, and for a reading practice that more purposefully imagines the role of the body—of the author, of the text, and of the reader— in constituting and reconstituting the narrative.

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