Kakania is the acronym, ironic and distant, with which Robert Musil refers to the Austro-Hungarian Empire in his novel The man without attributes. A word formed from precisely the attributes of its political system (kaiserlich und königlich, imperial and royal, that is imperial by Austria and real by Hungary). We all have this information. But since the first sentence of Carlos Pardo’s book, Away from Kakania (and the first sentence is “Last night there was a thunderstorm”), a question has remained throughout my reading: who or what does the author express his distance ?, what did he want to distance himself with such a resounding title and perfect? And I say author and not narrator because although the format of the writing fits with what we understand by novel, personal experience is the axis of the book. An experience around a character named Carlos, as the author; who is a poet, the author has been; who has lived in the same places evoked in the text (Madrid, Córdoba, Granada), and, finally, that above all it poses a tear not only generational, but also own.
A great difference between our time and the previous ones, thousands of years preceding us, is the deep demoralization that characterizes our young people. They grope in search of something that gives a little firmness to their lives, but the mental confusion is of such magnitude, their lack of confidence in the future, in society, is so overwhelming that the fact of living is for many of they like being on the edge of a landfill where the best remedy is escape. Early damaged spirits that only have their room, transformed into an islet independent of the family home. There you smoke, drink, talk, do drugs, have relationships and make mistakes under the reproach of the eyes of others. Leaving the room is like going to war, and in the case at hand the war begins with the mother figure, one of the crudest portraits I have had occasion to read. Away from Kakania talk about the youth that was already with great frankness, without hot cloths and focusing autobiographical experience on the status of poet of the author. Because Pardo (Madrid, 1975) evokes the years dedicated to being a poet and to live confusedly among poets in search of their own space. Poets with their splits and hostilities. Luis García Montero and the Granada school against José Luis García Martín and the ovetenses poets. The poetry of experience as a throne of which everyone wants a part – awards, invitations, magazines, but little solidarity. However, the book can also be read as a confrontation between himself, author of Spoiled (2006), voluntarily confronted his friend Abraham Gragera, writer of a magnificent book, Goodbye to the era of great characters (2005). Two young people, then, whose poetry was not exempt, on the contrary, from a philosophical quality capable of facing the reader to the complexity of the world. That also does Carlos Pardo in Away from Kakania. And Kakania is, or I interpret it like this, a symbol of a poetic system with no way out, a mere survivor that is limited to follow thanks to an appearance under which an exhausted creativity is hidden. Away from Kakania So it means far from poetry? The poems that are a structural part of the book seem to indicate that this is not the case. Rather far from the poets, from the system configured by them. Far from a way of life and above all to understand life, and that is talked about a lot in the book. I close it with another question to which he invites me although I do not know how to answer, when and why was the human being demoralized?
Away from Kakania. Carlos Pardo. Peripheral, 2019. 496 pages. 22.90 euros.