Like Russian matryoshka dolls, The Saragossa Manuscript is an incessant parade of narratives-within-narratives-within-narratives (and still more). Minor characters overtake the role of narrator, interrupting one story in order to tell their own, which is inevitably interrupted by the start of another story from another narrator. Igniting this labyrinthine progression is the chance encounter between two soldiers of opposing sides during the Napoleanic Wars, both of whom momentarily bond over a dusty, antiquated volume that, as it turns out, recollects the adventures of one of their grandfathers, Captain Alphonse van Worden. Such is the first of many leaps back and forth through time and space.
Cullen Gallagher is a Brooklyn-based writer, musician, and curator whose work has appeared in The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Life Sentence, Moving Image Source, Bright Lights Film Journal, Beat to a Pulp, NoirCon, Crimefactory, Film Comment, The L Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, Fandor, Not Coming to a Theater Near You, Hammer to Nail, Spinetingler, Between Lavas, Reverse Shot, and Guitar Review. He records instrumental music as Modern Silent Cinema and plays in the hardcore band Night Squad.