115th Annual Conference - Honolulu, Hawaii
Friday, November 10 - Sunday, November 12, 2017

“Taking the Dirty Game of Politics to Soccer": Phillip Butters’ Muerte súbita (2006)

Jesus Hidalgo, University of Washington

Peruvian journalist Phillip Butters’ novel Muerte súbita. La historia que los hinchas no conocen (2006) depicts a fictional world in which Peruvian soccer is a reflection of a corrupted Peruvian society. The tone of the novel is quite critical regarding the omnipresent corruption in the Peruvian soccer; however, as will be seen in this presentation, the novel itself challenges its powerful criticism against neoliberalism and consumerism as the text is ultimately motivated by the very same logic that it censors.

Proposal: 

In his article “Is Peru different than Peruvian soccer?” (2009,) Alberto Vergara proposes that the current crisis of Peruvian soccer undoubtedly reflects the crisis of the Peruvian nation and invites the reader to understand both spheres as issues "involving economy, politics and society.” As if it were an avant-la-lettre response to Vergara’ statement, Peruvian journalist Phillip Butters’ novel Muerte súbita. La historia que los hinchas no conocen (2006) depicts a fictional world in which Peruvian soccer is indeed a reflection of a corrupted Peruvian society. The tone of the novel is quite critical regarding the omnipresent corruption in the Peruvian soccer world. Wild capitalism and the desperate search for personal benefit dominate every aspect of life in this fictional world: bribery, fraud and depravation are out of control to such a degree that the narrator compares the soccer culture with Alberto Fujimori’s dictatorship, which ruled Peru in the 1990’s. Nevertheless, as will be seen in this presentation, the novel itself challenges its powerful criticism against neoliberalism and consumerism as the text is ultimately motivated by the very same logic that it censors.