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Reich-Ranicki era sin duda un hombre apasionado. Reich-Ranicki es una de las personas a las que estoy completamente seguro de deberles mucho. Aquellas palabras no fueron vehementes ni jactanciosas, todo lo contrario. Eso es exactamente lo que era Reich-Ranicki: un verdadero hombre de letras, de los que ya casi no quedan.
Esta tarde a las 19 horas. Muy poca cosa en conjunto. Algo significativo y de peso, quiero decir. Pero esto sucede en democracias aparentes, viejas o nuevas. No cae sobre ellos la furia, sino que el actual Gobierno la descarga sobre quienes lamentan y denuncian sus atropellos. Su gancho no puede ser los precios necesariamente muy superiores a los de Amazon o las grandes cadenas , sino su papel como elementos tradicionales del paisaje social de cada comunidad.
Ya ven, no todo son derrotas. Los Angeles Times. Nothing more than a man stabbed 16 times on the streets of Madrid by a homeless psychopath. Nothing more than his wife left husbandless, his children left fatherless. In the drip, drip, drip of passing days, death looms as the all-encompassing future: elemental, inexorable, irresistible.
But today, Miguel Desvern — or is it Deverne? They are quite wrong to try. Yet they cling to the living, asserting rights they no longer have. They do not realize that death is nothing more than fate, than the workings of chance, than the misery of being mortal. Every morning like clockwork, Maria Dolz eats breakfast in the same cafe in Madrid, admiring the lively, laughing Perfect Couple of Miguel Desvern and his wife, Luisa.
They notice her, too, of course, but not as obsessively, dubbing her the Prudent Young Woman. After Miguel is stabbed to death not far from the cafe, Maria gingerly approaches Luisa to offer her condolences, then comes to her house for an eventful evening, during which she meets Javier. But Javier dissembles as much as he resembles the ideal lover. This Maria learns much later in the novel, and in her smitten state — needing to be needed — she chooses not to act on what she knows.
No, by having it taken. No, yet again: by having someone else have it taken. Even when you get to the bottom of it. Thus, the truth of the novel: We are caught not so much in a stream of consciousness as in a double helix of fiction, its DNA. Hypnotic in its strange but familiar movements, fostering infatuations of our own. Infatuations with his narrative drive, pushing ever onward.
Here, he hangs a taut metaphysical thriller on the frame of a straightforward murder mystery. The result? A luminous performance full of literary allusions — to Balzac, Dumas and Shakespeare — and wry portrayals of undesirable characters. The book also teems with patterns of repetition: phrases, descriptions, emotions, situations.
For Marias, repetition is the aesthetic counterpart of infinity, shot through with uncertainty and ambiguity. But the dead resist all fictions; they insist on joining all factions of the living. They desperately want to return. Maria Dolz sits in the same Madrid cafe every morning and watches an attractive couple, clearly in love, have breakfast there every day.
The routine gives her pleasure and some kind of small daily mooring. One day the couple, Luisa and Miguel Deverne, are no longer there and Maria discovers that the gruesome newspaper photo of the fatally stabbed businessman on the pavement, lying in a pool of blood, is none other than Miguel.
Several months later, Maria sees Luisa come in to the cafe with her children and goes up to her to offer her condolences. It is at this point that any sensible reviewer has to stop talking about elements of the plot, leaving readers to discover the fiendish corkscrew turns of the narrative.
The skin of appearances is peeled back, time after time, to show us what lies beneath; yet, this layer too turns out to be another kind of skin, a mask, not the real tangle of nerves and muscles and arteries that you expected to be exposed. But this is not all that the prose achieves.
The novel as epistemological enquiry—how do we know what we know? The Infatuations. Book recomendations from Green Apple Books. Against the grain. Great art often emerges from breaking…or at least tweaking…rules. A work that transcends its conventions can produce special results.
Plot advancement takes a back seat. His priorities as a writer differ from others; his narrator channels him in saying:. That passage, along with various others sprinkled throughout, presumably refers to the book itself. He makes his intentions quite clear early on, lulling the reader with hypnotic prose after providing some context for his musings.
Count the commas—nine. One sentence runs a page and a half. He has since translated countless other literary classics and also written plenty of short stories to go along with this 12th novel. He first published a novel in , at a precocious age The author lives in Madrid, his native city, where this novel also takes place.
One day, the pair remains notably absent. We learn that a homeless man has stabbed the male member of the couple violently to death in broad daylight. Please note: These are not spoilers—the author makes this all quite clear in the first few pages.
The widow, in turn, introduces Maria to two friends at her house. To speak of any further plot at this point will risk tearing away a tangled web of mystery. The author uses breaks in plot to infuse his narrator with his views, plenty of them, particularly on death. The musings cover not only the passing of a loved one, but also perceptions of the deaths of non-relatives or complete strangers.
The news surrounds us with a constant atmosphere of death. If hundreds die here and thousands there, what is one mere ambulance rushing to one scene? Perhaps cold, it holds truth. Sure, we may sometimes wonder where that ambulance goes, but certainly not every time. How often do people put a conversation on hold or stop in traffic for a siren, then eagerly wait to resume their interrupted task? How long should someone contemplate the wailing before getting back to their lives normally?
Even if we do stop to contemplate, what does it accomplish? What can we do for the person? What could they have done for themselves? How, then, do people go on day-to-day, knowing the inevitable end could await us around the next corner? How often do people think of these things in their daily lives?
How often does this come up in other books? The style cannot entirely escape criticism. For some, even an appreciation for introspective searching cannot mask a burning desire to know what happens next in a snail-paced plot. Backtracking to reveal the source of the thoughts becomes a regular…and sometimes tiresome…act. He toys with a reader, mixing clouded memories and theories with actual monologues or discussions with characters. A reader must always remember the difference between what our somewhat intentionally unreliable narrator has proven and what she has assumed.
They start out loving and end up hating, of shifting from indifference to adoration. We can never be sure of what is going to be vital to us and who we will consider to be important. Our convictions are transient and fragile, even the ones we believe to be the strongest. In that aspect—arguably the most relevant aspect—he succeeds tremendously. Lo ven. La coherencia.
De literatura, intimidad y brisa marina. The New York Times. San Francisco Chronicle. Con la memoria como telar de fondo. Doble enhorabuena. Nostalgia literaria. El premio, dotado con El escritor recibe el Premio Formentor por su trayectoria y por contribuir a definir la gran literatura europea. A nosotros nos permitieron evolucionar. Nadie lo sabe.
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Reich-Ranicki era sin duda un hombre apasionado. Reich-Ranicki es una de las personas a las que estoy completamente seguro de deberles mucho. Aquellas palabras no fueron vehementes ni jactanciosas, todo lo contrario. Eso es exactamente lo que era Reich-Ranicki: un verdadero hombre de letras, de los que ya casi no quedan. Esta tarde a las 19 horas. Muy poca cosa en conjunto. Algo significativo y de peso, quiero decir.