Category Archives: Libros en Inglés

Libros escritos en inglés; reseñados en español.

Federico y Wilde: Readings 2017

MENIPPUS: My dear coz—for Cerberus and Cynic are surely related through the dog—I adjure you by the Styx, tell me how Socrates behaved during the descent. A God like you can doubtless articulate instead of barking, if he chooses. CERBERUS: Well, while he was some way off, he seemed quite unshaken; and I thought he was bent on letting the people outside realize the fact too. Then he passed into the opening and saw the gloom; I at the same time gave him a touch of the hemlock, and a pull by the leg, as he was rather slow. Then he squalled like a baby, whimpered about his children, and, oh, I don’t know what he didn’t do. Lucian of Samosata, Dialogues of The Dead, 4 (21)

Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis Transcribed from the 1913 Methuen & Co. edition, is a book for the living. Jesús Cotta‘s Rosas de Plomo Amistad y Muerte de Federico y Jose Antonio (February 2015) ISB: 978-84-16128-47-1 is a book of what in Spanish grammatical terms is called futuro imperfecto, An imperfect future in other Words, a book solely for speculation, a military book designed to whitewash the legacy of Franco. Succinctly put, De Profundis is about unjust laws; Rosas de Plomos a simple military apology.

The common thread between the books is quite a simple humane universal understanding of suffering and how two people describe this emotion which affected two literary stars of yore who became baptized as Christians on their own volition but only after undergoing personal distress. Or so it seems for the likes of me at this year and time. From afar It is easy to judge two giants. Oscar Wilde and Federico García Lorca. Wilde describes his ordeal in Jail in a semi-biographical form and García Lorca has Cotta to draw us the pain and suffering García had had to be subjected to as he went through the ordeal of persecution by two ideological fronts in the Spanish civil war.

Jesús Cotta’s book was a bit more of a drag because I kept questioning the speculative nature of the narrative, mind you, his speculative narrative is a well done study in the events that led to the arrest and persecution of García Lorca. His portrayal of García Lorca left loads to be desired and him speaking for him was just a drag. No pun intended. Cotta’s discussion of García Lorca’s homosexuality is rather grandiloquence. It created confusion in me since I assume, like everybody else does, that he was homosexual. But his grandiloquence knows no limit. Especially when he digs into his jail time and how his Christian credentials come into play as he is being charged by the Franco regime for being this and that. Jail time is quite a personal experience and I have no doubt García Lorca underwent a rather strenuous time as he traversed his personal calvary. The psychological roller coaster does indeed put one through a series of emotional states which all lead to a reaffirmation of the bible.

Oscar Wilde’s De profundis was more rather interesting as it was. Mind you, the book I read is in the public domain and as I scoured about the net for info on the ISBN I came across information which detailed that my read version is incomplete. It does though present the gist. The notes weren’t supposed to be released before 1960. I am guessing rather against Oscar Wilde’s wishes. My reading of the letter was more in relation to the mental suffering Oscar Wilde went through while in prison. I was particularly struck by the many biblical references and comparisons used to describe the mental agony of the prison stay. The suffering was ameliorated by using the bible and the Christ as a source of comfort and lastly to reaffirm faith in the Christ. This use of the bible to come close to one’s God in order to seek relief from the daily strain of prison life is rather interesting because it manipulates the brain to better understand the world around us. Although Oscar Wilde prefers the term humbling I suppose. It humbles one’s position in the world to better adjust us to the present realities, in this case for him, his imprisonment.

It sort of bothers me to see this in two great writers being exposed to a redemption which was not true to the nature of redemption. Would they have continued their lifestyle had they not endured the cruelties of political establishments that condone behaviors and threats the way they do? In Oscar WIlde’s time, the Victorian period and their decency laws and in García Lorca’s period, the Franco regime during the white terror purge? Does it require to be in prison or endure distress in order to come close to God? It is easy to question from a position such as mine since I don’t endure that but the mind is inquisitive as well as curious. As I read both books, I often wondered if García Lorca ever read De Profundis. It seems he did, according to Ángel Sahuquillo in Federico García Lorca y la cultura de la homosexualidad (2007) ISBN-13: 978-0-7864-2897-7 pages 34 and 35 (thanks Google!).

As much as my reading these days, I rushed the reading somewhat and only fund out much more about the books as I wrote this. I missed alot and hopefully, I will be better prepared for the next book I have recently read as well.


The Fifth Impossibility

When I bought this book I was in serious depression mode. I felt I belonged so in glee I pressed ok, buy. I live in a so called ‘foreign’ land and I ache for my ‘motherland’. The attraction was mutual. Then. Time passed.

I was vulnerable. So I forked the bucks through my Kindle tablet. Do I regret it? Sort of kinda of, not really. I really liked it. It’s juicy in details which makes my mouth water for stuff such as this. I understand the longing, the constant battle of identities because of the languages, I get it. The exasperation of the Cold War stuff as well. In my younger years there was nothing to consume but intricacies of the Cold War and the ‘Liberation’ of the nations from the yoke of the USSR. I wasn’t there with them but I saw in it on the tv and read it in the Californian papers like the very lightweight San Jose Mercury News which seemed a baby compared to the San Francisco Chronicle and a few others like the NYT or WSJ. I lived it through the lenses of the many white men who spoke on those behalfs back then, Foreign Affairs whatnot. Not to say its the same.

Although seeing live on the tv news of the fall of the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu and the drama that ensued his downfall, as we in America felt a glorious feeling of liberation that we helped the world rid itself of the commie scums, well, one can’t help but not remember their ill fate as they faced the firing squad as we felt pitty for his wife, Elena Ceausescu. It isn’t until these last years that we get a slight glimpse of those last seconds of the Socialist Republic of Romania. Paratrooper Ionel Boeru, the couple’s executioner, has come out to tell us those last seconds of that republic.

Boeru says it was the 29 bullets from his AK-47 rifle that killed the evil president and his ruthless wife Elena when they were lined up against a courtyard wall and executed by firing squad. Then an army captain, Boeru remembers how the 71-year-old tyrant was smartly dressed and smelled heavily of aftershave.

“Ceausescu’s last words were, ‘Long Live the Socialist Republic of Romania, ­independent and free’,” says Boeru. In contrast Elena Ceausescu smelled badly of body odour. And her last words were far from statesmanlike. “She yelled at a soldier, ‘You motherf****er’,” he says. Boeru, now 56, rarely talks about what happened on Christmas Day 1989.

We were told by Cold War propaganda what occurred there but not through Jewish eyes. They seem to somehow be in the wrong side of history on this side of the planet, that is, Europe. No matter where or how, place of time, it ails the Jewish lot. So to hear their voices of those persecuted by communism and the Soviet aftermath tell it, well it offers a window into the many hows which otherwise remain locked up in the silence or the few circles which roam said stories.

Where does the mesh occur indeed. Where does memory begin and where does makeup land start worst yet where does the nostalgia begin which if not careful can turn into romanticism? I do not know. But I understand their plight. Their moves. America though in its infancy is yet to suffer the lot of Europe. Not that America as a continent hasn’t suffered persecution for ideas or thinking or mass deportation, ethnic cleansing whatnot. One ought to be thankful for it not becoming a preferable habit of sorts as in much of European history would indicate it. We Americans long for Europe because it was the hell of the many.

We long to bathe in its past yet the shore is long away. Still, when we wet our feet we question the father. I, for example, wonder why does the European lot need to compare their linguistic achievements to us? We are not the same there. We are a lot that abhors the language imposed upon us. There, the European Jew has lost touch or sensibility. It, does not know, our lot. We did not ask for English, nor Spanish, nor Portuguese. We had our own languages. We still have our own languages by the miracle of persistent and rebellious attitudes towards the imposer who punishes us by infringing our rights to think and develop in those languages. And if money is poured unto said languages it is only to ‘rescue’ them from extinction though they be only left 5 old speakers whose fate and moribund souls must suffer the hell of reviving their languages through he insistence of the speech recorders. I was particularly peeved  by Ephemeridae.

Borrowed Time: An AIDS memoir

I first read Borrowed Time, with that jacket, yes, in the late summer of 1996. My first and only term at SDSU which is to this day, I feel, my true Alma mater. Such was the impact of it that one April the 8th of a 2015 I decided to buy it again in digital form far fetched notion indeed from the days I curled up to the book in paper format in the corridors of SDSU that 96. The memories it brings, yes, they last. So I bought it again. Only to finish it again in February 2016. The math says 22 months to read. So I took my time. Loads more than what it took in 1996. Why? What happened? There is a pain so deep which transpires time as the very breath I take now, it feels here and now. Though I fail to recollect my exact emotions when I first read the book I can recollect being taken by it in a way palpable today as then. Suffice to say, Mr. Monette weaved a tale that drew on the past as well as the now and the future which entangles one to this day. So am repetitive, only because I went against the grain towards my own myself, I do not reread for the most part. Yet I did for this volume. It is not easy to describe the aforementioned. What is it that makes a person reread a book? Take good old Virgina Woolf. She suggested to read a book ‘several’ times. But for the sake of memory? To relive? So I did it. I feel like when I got off the metro Piazza del Popolo in Rome, confronted with a past only I know because I knew where I was since I had been there before and I could imagine its world anew. A past I built on bits and pieces; facts and sheer fantasy. So I walked it alone. Admiring its beauty. Although I was more critical of Monette this time. The emotional fluctuations of the passage of time as he went through the pangs of pain and love for his dear Roger.

A reading of Monette is a delight because this is a good wordsmith. Not to mention that he weaves a series of interrelated events with the emotional load which tends to obligue one to side with the narrator on the injustices suffered by those who ended up guinea pigs for the conservative agenda of the Reagen years which linger on to this very day like a bad fart. Again, the second reading made me see a different Monette though, perhaps because so much time has passed by and am more cynical than when I was younger and more prone to the references to Greek and Roman history alluded in the text, stretched out like a thin silk line to the present, ah, yes, what imagination doesn’t fall for that? Yet the emotional decrying seems so exaggerated at times, viewed from what we now know with what we knew then, it is easy to lay blame on Paul.

Over and out.

Church of Spies The Pope’s Secret War Against Hitler

I ought to add a category for books read on my Kindle Amazon owns though I pay for it almost everyday. So I read Church of Spies – The Pope’s Secret War Against Hitler. By a dude named Mark Riebling. A lad with a many credentials. He is not your neighborhood comadre so his research seems to be legit. Regardless, the e-book read on a Kindle Amazon, was done over a period of time. Purchased the 2nd of Oct. 2015 and done with it January 2017 suffice to say, no ordinary read. 15 months. It took its time which presented a sort of reading contrary and against the flow of the day or thinking which encourages to read much and fast. I loved this method. Not that I never wanted to rip off the tonsils of my nagging little voice making me feel all guilty about letting the read sink in as the days turned into weeks and week into months. That thing has a life of its own and it ain’t little for wielding such power might I add.

Suffice to say it was a good read because I had the time to think about it as I perused the digital text at leisure. There is something about getting back to an unfinished book that allows for deeper reflection and this certainly did it. AS the reviews say it better than I do it tends to offer quite an intriguing recount of how Germans wanted to rid themselves of Hitler with the sanction and approval of the Holy See. Catholic Germans off course. Am sure a lot of the stuff that is retold in told in the book with the utmost enthralling details are fairly well researched but I imagine the sources had to be carefully authenticated. I mean, The Holy See in the WWII is not free of sin. No matter how well intentioned the characters portrayed in the book are explained with their actions and deeds to do away with Hitler. Although it is interesting to read somebody tried to do something to stop the Nazi crimes despite the hinders that that society presented at the time of the horrible episode of Germany. Just as interesting was to read how average people communicated with the Holy See as well as to get a glimpse of the mechanics of power during Nazi occupation of Rome.

All in all, the book was a juicy one for its intricate details of the cat and mouse entrapment that espionage is all about though this is no ordinary espionage since it was wartime. Good work.

Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty‑Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie on Amazon Kindle Voyage device with firmware 5.8.1

Great Britain by Jonathan Cape an Imprint av Vintage Publishing (2015) Penguin Random house

Epub ISBN: 9781473523289 Version 1.0

As is customary, the sellers want to sell. Such is the case with Salman Rushdie. This author’s prominence resides in an era all to itself, he is the poster child of the Terrorism Era we currently live.  He is a pre & a post poster child of Islam and how Islam is viewed in the West. For good or worst, he is a hated object by Islamic fanatics. Have you ever read the Satanic Verses? Well, if you’re lucky, you’ve at least heard of them. A parteaguas as one would say in Spanish, the Satanic Verses rose to fame because it offended a reader who could wield power and as such layed a bounty on the offense it arose and the author of the offense as well. Thus the Rushdie saga begins. He became a western darling because a regime who diametrically positioned itself against the West found the above-mentioned book a terrible sacrilege to the religion of the aforementioned power wielder. I ran to the newsstand to see the fuzz about the book, the hoopla always gets one, but the masses got there first. But I never read said book. Tedious, one thought, yet, the powers to be delighted in the idea that said book caused an ire in an alien society in a new world. Hence Salman’s prominence, he pissed off the wrong people by writing a book. Fair enough.

I too was swept by said charm the western darling suddenly found, albeit, one hopes, unwillingly and yet I have to this day finished but the one book due to a suggestion my girlfriend proposed. Mutual ideas what not. Lest the reader is amiss I am not a fan of SR. I find his pedestal out of place. He is yet to gain a place in my bookshelf. I’ve read some of his works and I find his books obtuse. Two Years, Eight Months and Twenty‑Eight Nights is no different.

Allow us to expound:

To begin, the reception wasn’t that hot. At the Guardian they treat him like a God, a demigod wouldn’t deserve the detail in the review. SR belongs to a literature elite whose position in the end serves only the present and its interests thereby. He is where he is because it serves a purpose in this synchronic time of ours. He is exulted beyond the pale solely because he has rep.

Having said that, the language does have merit. I for one am impressed by the heavy use of nouns which bear the brunt of the story. Nouns carry a history because they are all male. The names and the phony names whose last names redirect to Indian artists or other historical figures can pass by unnoticed to the untrained eye. The lot of Asian Minor and Persia appear and reappear in a host of vessels as well as a cameo appearance to SR father enters the frey in which the verbose magic-realism lit appears. The fact that SR allows for the proper nouns to carry the story brought upon a host of questions which lead me to Perry Link, the Sino linguistic writer of An anatomy of Chinese. Link makes the case that Western languages are heavily nominalized, that is, noun heavy as nouns direct path. As opposed to a language which relies on verbs to direct path. Such is the case in this book. Nouns are carriers. Miss one and you are lost.

As to the tale. First of all, is it any good? The lit elite jests in the newspapers they pay to push the story to entice the reader, they praise it as a chip of the ol’ block, that is, they love it! But does it cut mustard with the average joe? Its disadvantages are its verbosity. SR rambles on and on sparing no coma, period or semicolon as if colons or hyphens were munitions to use at will. For the love of God, show that man a little Hemingway. show me a short sentence please! Not here, they are the tales of some nights if I remember right.

One can’t shake the feeling that SR wants to get back to the Mullahs of Iran. After all, the book is about pre-Islamic forces loose upon our earth. An anathema to the Persian republic which rejects its past as an offense to Allah. Are there the any good bits to salvage from the reading? Plenty, but one has to dig deep for it and therein lies its fault.




Never would Kazuo forget the flash of piercing light, which might of have been reflected from the flat of some enormous, polished, naked sword, nor the dull reverberation far away, Dodoo … which as it drew close was transformed into a sharp, painful, and finally screeching Juinn that seemed to pierce through his eardrums, and which culminiated in a sound like a thousand thunderclaps, Gwann!, that hurled him into a bottomless abyss. From this derives the Japanese word Pikadon, for pika means lightning  and don thunder.” Robert Jungk, Strahlen aus der Asche, (Children of the Ashes: The People of Hiroshima)) 1959. (p.16)

There are several reasons why I chose to read this book which I found down in the basement of my condominium. The basement serves as a dumping ground for unwanted items that the members of the condominium “donate” to the condo and this book fell there after the sudden death of a dear member who had served the condo board rather well. I was surprised to find English written books in a Swedish dominated rack of unwanted books. I picked several but the topic drew my attention. The idea of reading about Hiroshima close to the period time when Little Boy was unleashed certainly proved to also add to pique my curiosity and when I read that the author, Robert Jungk, was Jewish and one imprisoned by the Nazis well, that was just the cherry on top. I suppose the idea of a former nazi war prisoner of Jewish descent writing a book about Hiroshima victims was the final incitement which totally grasped my curiosity. The reading proved to be most delightful, intriguing, full of gold nuggets of important information and a few eye openers regarding the Japanese culture.

I also enjoyed the reading because as the blurb on the Penguin Book example I have says, Robert Jungk is a jounalist historian. He writes with a certain amount of academese format that I enjoy since the eye is moved about between footnotes, asterisks signaling separate explanations in minute subscript and language explanations in italics that just add a delicious tang to it all. There’s an epilogue, a little map of Hiroshima detailing the impact of the bomb, journals read, I mean, the list goes on.

Well into the reading I also discovered a few interesting facts of Japanese immigration to Perú. I had always been intrigued about Japanese immigration to Latin  America since I read in the New York Times, that Japanese of Brazilian descent were considered raucous by real Japanese people. But certainly the subject matter at hand was also very enlightening since the very reason the book appeard in my life was the ever thin veil of threat of eminent destruction by superpowers ready to use the button to get people to do as they will. So I read with interest the lives affected by the Pikadon. I was mostly intrigued by professor Shogo Nagaoka. The geologist’s behavior intent on documenting the effects of the pikadon on the ground and rocks was most interesting to read. Other stories of supreme interest of course, how war creates despair and how war despite its cruelty barely scathed the morals and norms of the people nearly sent to the stoneage by the atomic bomb The Enola Grey dropped on them. Institutions and orders were scrambled yet merely dispersed so that order was delegated to the lower forms of organization in society.

There are many ways to read Children of the Ashes: The People of Hiroshima. One from an institutional perspective as well. There is how the US government went about its control of information of the pikadon in Japan after they dropped the bomb on them as well as how japanese institutions began rising from the aftermath and the surrender to US forces.

I suppose that reading books as old as Robert Jungk’s is nowadays rare, so it would seem. This document whether it has readers this day or not is a powerful document that should withstand the test of time and should be required reading.


Children of the Ashes: The People of Hiroshima by Robert Jungk. Original title: Strahlen aus der Asche 1959. Translated by Constantine Fitzgibbon. Published in Pelican Books 1963.

dos autores

TS Eliot said “April is the cruelest month” 1922 & August Strindberg said “Av alla årstider är våren erkänt den mest obehagliga” 1877. Hmm. Loosely translated it means that «of all the seasons, Spring is acknowledged to be the most cruelest»

Wasteland by TS Eliot and Från Fjärdingen och Svartbäcken by August Strindberg are perhaps two works of writing which have nothing in common except these seemingly strings of texts.

I would like to think they do. This rejection of the coming of the spring in TS Eliot and Strindberg is enough for me to entertain the idea that TS Eliot might have read Strindberg. & he apparently did at some point acknowledge that he did since he purportedly wrote a letter to the Swedish newspaper Svensk Dagbladet in 1949 or says Evert Sprinchorn.

Did Eliot read Strindberg? He was in Germany in 1914 and 1915, when Strindberg was the most discussed dramatist. The younger generation regarded him as the incarnation of the modern conscience. In 1949, on the occasion of Strindberg’s centenary, Eliot sent a letter to the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, in which he said that he had got to know some of Strindberg’s plays when he was young and impressionable.

Is that sufficient evidence for it? I mean, that one of the most famous poems of the English language of recent whose byline is «April is the cruelest month» is actually influenced by Swedish author August Strindberg?

Strindberg exchanged letters with the likes of Nietzche. A CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN NIETZSCHE AND STRINDBERG


Amazing what one sentence can lead to ….

Following Hadrian

    adrianoAutor: Elizabeth Speller
Casa editorial: Oxford University Press, USA
Idioma: Inglés
Año de publicación: 2003
Páginas: 361
Peso: 454g
ISBN10:    0195176138
ISBN13:    9780195176131




Este es el segundo libro que leo de Adriano, el primero esta aquí. La verdad es que no me supo a Yourcenar. Yo quería seguir leyendo el estilo de Yourcenar y este libro de Elizabeth Speller nada más nunca supo enfrascarme, tuvo sus momentos sí, pero esos mismos momentos se vieron mañados por vicios que frecuentan a los historiadores que trabajan con agenda en mano. Speller realmente no supo distanciar el presente del pasado y en más de una ocasión sus prejuicios de estos últimos dos siglos (XX y XXI) enmarañaron la lectura. Un claro ejemplo es que usa la palabra “terrorista” para describir actos de batallas en el siglo II. En otras ocasiones toma partida con ciertos grupos étnicos favoreciéndoles en la narrativa de la historia. Aquí no me cabe duda que este libro salió a luz para satisfacer ciertas necesidades después del atentado contra las Torres Gemelas en Nueva york.

Hay buenas pepitas de oro en todo esto. Una de ellas es que se puede apreciar un poco los últimos esfuerzos académicos entorno a Adriano y lo que se ha descubierto entorno al imperio romano desde que la novela de Yourcenar salió a luz en 1951. Trozos de Julia Babilla forman parte de la lectura y en gran parte compré el tomo por ello. Este tomo es más académico que el de Yourcenar y como acusamos, nace a partir de una necesidad de saciar las necesidades de ciertos círculos de lectores que imaginaron una tarea de emprender una campaña bélica en contra del mundo musulmán el cual se vio de nuevo frente a frente al Oeste. Por ello mismo es de particular interés leer las fuentes de las cual Speller se valió para recontar los pasos de Adriano.

Para recontarnos los acontecimientos de aquellos ayeres la imaginación de Speller se vale de esos documentos o fuentes cuyas ciencias abarcan la arqueología, la arquitectura, la numismática y de seguro el estudio de viejos documentos mejor conocido como paleografía.  Basado en ello, podemos recorrer los pasos de Adriano en sus recorridos imperiales. Podemos ver su corte y todo lo que ello significaba y la imaginación y el poder de ver al emperador y como su palabra era la ley del imperio se dejan sentir como pompa y honor. Vemos también a un Adriano humano que sufre las mismas cosas que un ser humano, vergüenza, pena, amor, frío, cobardía, valentía, venganzas inseguridad, en fin, un hombre cualquiera. Lo interesante que no se toca mucho es la logística de ser un gobierno que gobierna recorriendo sus dominios siempre y cuando se estaba al tanto de las patrañas de los políticos en Roma.

Por último, Speller pintá un Adriano muy homosexual y afinado a lo griego que quizá los que estén más adentrados en la historia de Adriano sabrán si el sobrepeso en ello es exagerado o verdadero. En lo particular a mi no me importa si era más homosexual que otros o cómo es que las normas que regían los comportamientos sexuales de aquellos tiempos ya venían presagiando la persecución de homosexuales tanto por la iglesia cristiana o la sociedad. Y sí es verdad que se enamoró de Antonio pues venga, es una historia de amor interesante de gente que movió sociedades enteras. Tampoco estamos para juzgar con valores del siglo XXI algo que aconteció en el siglo II. A mí lo que me importa es que era hispano, un emperador español y que nació en Itálica.

De hecho estaré en Sevilla este verano que viene y nada me va a alegrar más que ver el lugar en que nació Adriano.


In Sunshine or in Shadow: Stories by Irish Women

In Sunshine or in Shadow: Stories by Irish Women
Edited by Kate Cruise O’Brien and Mary Maher
Delta Trade Paperbacks, a division of Random House, Inc. February 1999
ISBN:0-385 33335-8

No es que sea una recensión. A mi lo que me importa relatar es cómo adquirí el presunto tomo y cómo lo leí, esa es la historia de mis libros. Cada uno con su historia. El egoísmo primero y después lo demás. Venga pues. Recuerdo sin duda alguna que iba a algún destino cuya puerta de partida me llevó a Estocolmo. Recuerdo subir unas escaleras con maleta en mano, una de esas que llevan una manga larga, la maleta que no la escalera. Entré a una Akademibokhandeln, que es una tienda de libros de esas de cadena y que existen por doquier por estas tierras y busqué algo que leer y pues lo compré. Las emociones y las sensaciones por lo cual lo compré son tan efímeras como las sensaciones que me llevaron a consumir literatura como la presente. De seguro pensé que lo leería en una sentadita por ahí, así como cuando compro tomos por aquí y allá con esa ilusión de que los leeré tan rápido que los podré consumir bien pronto cuando la realidad es otra, o sea, la fantasía es mi consumidor preferido de libros.

Pues no, el libro lo acabé leyendo en mis visitas al WC en casa. Y no hasta este 2013. Digo, lo compré hace más de 7 años atrás, por lo menos. Y así, empecé este libro. Un libro que se jacta de relatar en historietas cortas cómo es que legislación introducida a Irlanda afectó a las mujeres, a eso va el libro, relatar en ficción, el drama de un pueblo católico y (el proceso democrático) de rechazar la prohibición del divorcio, cuyas víctimas, a juzgar por las historias, fueron las mujeres. Y no que no es que no lo crea, venga, el patriarcalismo en las sociedades católicas le han hecho la vida a las mujeres de cuadritos, como bien dicen en mi tierra. Lo que pasa con la literatura y las historias que de ahí se derivan, es que suelen contarse por personas adineradas, que cuyo pasado, no por minimizarlo, ni nada, deja un sabor a afluencia que ni los que hoy en día sufren del patriarquismo rudo del catolicismo sabrían saber cómo identificarse con él. Por ende, el prejuicio. Quizá los hombres también sufrieron. Pero venga, libros para alimentar ideologías nacieron en la Guerra Fría. Y este último no es la excepción a no ser que se trata de una lucha, una batalla, en ese marasmo frontal que se denomina Feminismo.

¿Son buenas las historietas? Sí. ¿Vale la pena leer el libro? Sí. Es gente que ha sido educada a tocar el corazón con sus letras. ¿Es eso malo? No.

Aquí habrá que recorrer calles en un taxi, subir paredes para ver lo que hace el vecino, soportar la soledad de la ama de la casa, la espera del marido, la traición del marido que no sabe ser fiel, la aceptación y subyugación del diario devenir para poder salir adelante en esas broncas y normas femeninas que ellas solo entienden, seguirle el hilo a las eternas discusiones entre un hombre y una mujer o la curiosidad de una niña en ciernes a ser mujer.

Poder. De eso trata el libro, del suspenso que marca la vida cuando esta última se ve rígida por leyes injustas que no comprenden lo que pasa en la vida de los sexos. Unas historietas valen más que otras pero lo que sí hace el libro y lo hace muy bien es enganchar al lector. Siempre es interesante leer sobre los problemas que las mujeres afrentan y por ende la satisfacción de poder haber leído el libro, si tan solo para ver desde ese marco visual, cómo es que la mujeres resuelven sus problemas con ese otro sexo del cual yo pertenezco. Es importante relacionarse con el sexo opuesto y lo que ellas sufren o disfrutan para poder así comprendernos mucho más mejor.

City Alessandro Baricco


City by Alessandro Baricco. Translated by Ann Goldstein. Publisher: Hamish Hamilton an imprint of Penguin Books ISBN 0-241-14010-x Set in 12/14.75 Monotype Dante.

I’ve read this book since I purchased it earlier this year in Gothemburg, Sweden, at a local second hand store in an area of Gothemburg known as Majorna. The store is called Ebbes Hörna and it supplies rather decent clothing and a myriad of hand-me-downs which include everything from flower bases to good reads like the present book for a rather reasonable price for those in need to make ends meet.

I got a hold of the book because the first time I came across Baricco was at my loca library here in the Swedish Highlands. The other book was as interesting as this one though I can not take credit for having read the whole book. That book was translated to  Spanish. Or maybe it was just the title of the book that snatched my eye, who knows.

I cannot fathom having read City in any other language other than English. At times a translation goes beyond the original and I believe this translation has managed to surpass the original though I cannot with certainty claim a comparison since I haven’t read the original in Italian. Then why do I state such a claim? Well, it’s easy. The language in the translation does a great service to the narrative in such a way that it makes it feel as if it belongs in that language. The language carries a cultural baggage that feels as if it were written in that specific language. Way to go Ann Goldstein. The thing about the book is that you get that sensation about the forties in the USA and smacks like a Bazooka Joe bubble gum wrapper all the fucking way. You can even smell the wrapper and imagine the cartoons being played before your eyes as you feel the wax paper being unfolded. The series opens up and the curiosity to read the cartoon builds up such an ecstasy that the gum, as you chew it, explodes with a super sweet flavor as one reads.

Though City gives a whiff of middle of the II World War in Dodge there is more to it. The scene is set before the Internet hit the scene. Comics ruled and editors got crap.

I like that air of noir and even more the muck in the language that gives way to philosophical observations about Monet’s Lilly’s to the short life of an idea and all its ramifications during its inception. The heteroglossia as described by Bakhtin is quite present though this is moreso in the thought patterns than speech as uttered by the characters in the novel.

This is a good read and merits all the time and care in it and I don’t say that lightly. Baricco is found of onomatopoeia. He sprinkles his language with synaesthetic symbolism. An example of such a use in the reading of the book occurs during a boxing match and the reader is made to imagine photographers taking pictures left and right. To produce this image, Baricco uses the word FLASH profusely. Furthermore, he has a way with language rules that render the reading a bit chaotic at times but this technique allows the reader to think beyond the letters on the page as imagination is triggered to visualize the actions at hand.