In his study—that had about it something of thewaiting room of a small-town dentist, with its pas-tel seascapes and its china figurines of shepherdsand dogs—there were few books, and most ofthese were dictionaries of various disciplines andtrades. Coffee and tobacco stimulated our conversa-tion. I said. I admonish—ab ovo,ab ovo! Iwanted—there was nothing out of the ordinaryabout this, really—to produce a novel of the land,straightforward, with deeply human charactersand the usual protest against absentee landowners.
I thought of Ezpeleta, my own town. Indifferentto ivory-tower aesthetics, I meant to give open-minded testimony about a limited sector of localsociety.
H. Bustos Domecq
The first problems to come up were, per-haps, just trifles. To call them by their real names mighthave exposed me to charges of libel. My lawyer,Attorney Ignacio B. Garmendia, whose office isjust around the corner, assured me, as a bit ofpreventive medicine, that the average man of Ez-peleta is prone to litigation. I could always, ofcourse, have invented names, but that might haveopened the door to imagination.
I opted for theuse of initials, with asterisks—a solution thathardly satisfied me. How was I to guess whatothers were thinking without abjuring realism? The answer was clear, but at first I could not see it. Then I considered the prospect of a novel inwhich the characters were domestic animals. Butonce again, how was I to intuit the cerebral pro-cesses of a dog, how was I to enter into a worldperhaps less visual than olfactory?
At a loss, I fellback on myself and thought that the one remain-ing possibility rested in autobiography. But evenhere lay the labyrinth. Who was I? What could be more unattainablethan the mind? If I am self-conscious as I write,self-consciousness creeps in, a new factor; if I sur-render to free association, I surrender to chance. Something similar happened to me here in Ezpe-leta.
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Not so much in search of a solution but oneday looking for something to do, I read over mynotes. And there lay the key I was after. There, inthe words limited sector. When I wrote them, I wassimply using a commonplace; when I reread them,a sudden revelation dazzled me. A limited sector. What sector could be more limited than acorner of the deal table at which I worked? I de-cided then to restrict myself to one corner, to whatthat corner might offer. To havegone on indefinitely upward would have meant toknock my head against the ceiling, then the roof,and quite soon astronomy; to have delved downwould have sunk me into the basement, out ontothe subtropical plain, if not into the very bowels ofthe globe.
The chosen corner, at least, offered nolack of interesting possibilities. The copper ash-tray, the blue-and-red pointed pencil, and so on,et cetera. You got it down so perfectlyand, thanks to your genius for compression, intoonly twenty-nine pages—pages that leave nothingto be desired by even the most insatiable appetite.
Without haste, withoutpause, he again picked up the flow of dialogue. You are steeped in my work. One refersnot to the work itself but to the scruples of its cre-ator. These objects, deliberately chosen for my descrip-tive tasks and brought from the far reaches of theroom and even from the house, would never at-tain the casualness, the spontaneity, of the firstseries.
Nevertheless, once located within theproper angles, they would become a part of realityand would demand the appropriate treatment. The marvelous grapple of the ethic and the aes-thetic!
Zanichelli, thehalf-wit in question, came to be, to use the com-mon expression, my deus ex machina. His very den-sity fitted him for the purpose. With tremblinghope, almost as if committing an act of desecration,I ordered him to place something, anything,within the now vacant corner. He laid there a rub-ber eraser, a penholder, and, once again, the ash-tray. Let it be enough to tell you that Ishut my eyes, the half-wit placed one object oranother, and then—hands to the task!
InBelgium there was recently celebrated the appear-ance of the first installment of Goldfish Bowl, awork wherein I have detected not a few het-erodoxies. In Burma, in Brazil, in Boston, inBayonne, active new centers are emerging.
Borges Jorge Luis -
May I see some of the objects recorded in thebook? Each arrangement, before its substitution by thesucceeding, was carefully photographed. In thisway, I obtained a brilliant series of slides. More painful still was the destruction ofthe objects themselves.
Tohave preserved the source material might have ex-posed it to irrelevant confrontations. Criticismmight have fallen into the snare of judging it interms of its more or less fidelity. In that way wewould have lapsed into mere scientism. You areaware, of course, that I deny my work any scien-tific value.
Chronicles of Bustos Domecq
It oc-cupies, so to speak, a plane of its own. The emo-tions awakened by it, the tears, the acclaim, thegrimaces, leave me quite indifferent. It has notbeen my intention to instruct, to uplift, to enter-tain, to gladden, or to move. My work is beyondthat. It aspires to the humblest and highest of allaims—a place in the universe. The eyes no longer saw me. I under-stood that the visit was over and left as best Icould. The rest is silence. In Search of the AbsoluteIt must be admitted, as much as it hurts, that theRiver Plate looks up to Europe and looks downon—or tends to ignore—authentic native values.
The Nierenstein Souza case leaves no doubt as tothis. His native Yiddish had opened to him thegates of Teutonic literature; Father Planes hadtaught him Latin without tears; French he hadsuckled along with culture; and his English hadbeen inherited from an uncle, who managed aBritish-owned meat-packing plant in Mercedes.
Nierenstein guessed at Dutch and had a suspicionof the lingua franca of the Brazil-Uruguayan bor-der. With a second edition of The Gomensoro Feud inthe press, Nierenstein retired to Fray Bentos,where, in the old family manor house rented himby the Medeiro family, he was at last able to dedi-cate himself fully to the painstaking compositionof a masterpiece, the manuscript of which has be-come lost and whose very title is unknown.
Six years later, the editor of the Evening News, aman whose far-ranging curiosity now and then in-cluded the world of books, assigned me the task—somewhere between literary detection and piety—of tracing the remains of that magnum opus. Uruguay River—and it was certainly welcome. InFray Bentos, the hospitality of a pharmacistfriend, Doctor Zhivago, took care of the rest. Thisexcursion, my first journey abroad, filled me—whynot admit it? Recommended to Leonardo by: Cecilia. Shelves: anthology , humour , latin-america , mystery-and-horror , novels-and-short-stories , 20th-century , crime.
En resumen, una joya poco conocida a la que vale la pena acercarse. Estos cuentos son parte de las ediciones de Bustos Domecq. Las bromas que surgieron dieron pie a los escritos de Bustos Domecq y a las investigaciones de Don Isidro Parodi. Alas, I was knee-high to a grasshopper when I read this.
Chronicles of Bustos Domecq
In fact, I was in my mother's womb. How on Earth did I smuggle the bk in? Maybe I was inside somebody else's mother's womb. Whatever the case, I'm using the time elapsed as an excuse for not remembering much about this. Nonetheless, I remember being disappointed by it. It seems that it makes fun of "modernism" in the usual kindof so-called 'conservative' way. Not that "modernism" can't stand to be deflated but it's all a matter of what one Alas, I was knee-high to a grasshopper when I read this.
Not that "modernism" can't stand to be deflated but it's all a matter of what one is posing as supposedly better to it. I don't recall being impressed by this bk's alternatives. Maybe there weren't any. Seis problemas para don Isidro Parodi es un monumento a las historias de detectives. Tuve que leer 'por encimita', con miedo a que se me escapara algo chido, pero nah. Jan 03, Thurston Hunger rated it really liked it.