Sat. Mar 28th, 2020

5 +1 reasons to read ‘Memories of the future’ | Babelia


There is a time when the abolished time that kneaded and molded Elena Garro in Ixtepec, that inner city that the Mexican turned into a particular Macondo long before it did García Márquez, It becomes simple and frees itself from the weight it has been adding to the reader’s shoulders: “The enchantment broke and for the first time we had something to do, something to think about that was not misfortune.”

Thus he introduces, on page 130 of The reasons for the future, the first respite in the misfortunes that the military commanded by General Rosas have brought to the city, who lock up their prostitutes-lovers under lock and key while sowing the place awake every morning. Several of the neighbors have been excited to prepare a play that will break their routine of monitoring misfortune and for the first time they relax. It is only a parenthesis in an atmosphere of vital oppression without great resistance to resistance and where, despite everything, self-thinking opens its way.

Ixtepec is a stage and is the protagonist, speaking in the first person from the place, and is the collective voice of a town where even memory appears to us as a thick mass: “Here I am, sitting on this apparent stone. I am only memory and the memory of me ”, the city speaks at the beginning of the novel. Garro draws, thus, the blurry photo of the coexistence and collisions between the locals who remain (young people or those who can leave), the military, the darlings who must welcome them with the best face and without causing discomfort and outsiders. The principal, Julia, lover of the commanding general, is her obsession, her passion not subdued, representative of a rebellion that takes shape in her resistance to love. He may have his body, not his heart. “It escaped bright and liquid like a drop of mercury and was lost in unknown places, accompanied by hostile shadows,” Garro writes.

Characters magnified in the smallness of their lives, from a widow who still speaks in the shadow of her dead husband to the old woman who already “only knows the ways of her house”, from the man who thinks he is president to the daring son because he still ignores The fears of the place. The streets speak, the people speak in a first person who takes the life of revolutionary and violent times (the cristero war) that have led to miss the Zapatistas. The roots of servility, the abyss of inequality, the oppression of women and the quiet but throbbing resistance are key.

Elena Garro


Elena Garro

Much has been written in recent years about Elena Garro (Puebla, 1916, Cuernavaca, 1998), huge mexican writer excluded from the lights that lit up her husband, Octavio Paz, and other men writers of the country. The effort to recover it and give it its rightful place in the Latin American canon as a key voice of magical realism and the boom is great, and the last contribution is the recent edition of Alfaguara, which accompanies Guadalupe Nettel (Mexico), Gabriela Cabezón Cámara (Argentina), Isabel Mellado (Chile), Lara Moreno (Spain) and Carolina Sanín (Colombia) with their reflections.

We highlight five good reasons to read it, reread it and try to resize its figure. And we will provide one more:

one. “The memories of the future, With Pedro Paramo, it is probably the best Mexican novel written in the twentieth century, ”he writes Guadalupe Nettel. The author – also Mexican – remembers that Garro was on the edge and forced to keep part of her unpublished work. His daughter rescued from the flames the manuscript of this novel, the author’s first, which he wrote in 1952, fifteen years before García Márquez published One hundred years of loneliness. “It would be necessary to see if they ever invited her to join the Latin American boom, constituted exclusively by men, whites and heterosexuals, ”writes Nettel. “The circular story told by the people is also ours. We are the future generation mentioned here, and the future that Ixtepec remembers is nothing other than our present. ”

two. “What Garro does is exceptional, is to represent what was not yet represented, the experience of time in this subcontinent in which the Conquest never ends”, defends Gabriela Cabezón Camera. “It has been considered a precursor of magical realism in the same way as Juan Rulfo although she was ignored for decades. Why precursor? Rather, Garro should be thought of as one of the peaks of magical realism. ”

3. And it is that experience of time that stands out Carolina Sanin “Express the human discovery that time behaves in varied ways; that infinite times coexist and that, as Elena Garro says in this book, “memory contains all times and its order is unpredictable” is the most emphatic aspiration of Latin American literature. ” Sanín questions the name of “magical realism” as “unfortunate, colonialist and of sterilizing consequences” and argues that García Márquez or Garro del Baroque, de Góngora, Cervantes and Borges is no different. The future as a repetition of the past is Garro’s challenge. Sanín also looks at the figure of women, here canceled from public space and captive in the hotel (brothel) or in their homes.

Four. Like the other epiloguistas, Isabel Mellado It also underlines the breakdown of chronological time, “still, agoraphobic time, which overwhelms several places in the novel”, but also looks at the space: “Choreographer also, Garro cabrioleates time in space. The choreography is enveloping, obsessive. Again, as if it were a character, dance winding, time goes back, advances, wobbles, elongates and paralyzes, claustrophobic jumps and slips into subtle toes. A plasticity that, in Garro, owes much to the conflict between Western time and the ancient Mexican world. ”

5. Hypnotized by the book declares Lara Moreno before a narrator (that town of Ixtepec) that unleashes questions: “Who speaks to us? And this narrator, where does it come from? Where does this catacomb voice sometimes come from, this whispered relieved, this broken vocal cord worn out over the years and at the same time luminous? It is a throat full of dust and years that speaks to us and yet does not tremble even once. ”

Great works grow with great readings. The memories of the future it was worth by itself, but the five texts that accompany it in this edition bring different lights, nuances and discoveries to a treasure that did not have in its history the brightness it deserved. And this is the sixth reason to read this book.

The memories of the future, Elena Garro With texts by Gabriela Cabezón Cámara, Isabel Mellado, Lara Moreno, Guadalupe Nettel and Carolina Sanín. (Alfaguara)

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