Green mannets | Culture | THE COUNTRY

Green mannets | Culture | THE COUNTRY

The year 1999, Christopher Buckley, the guy who wrote the novel on which he based Thanks for smoking by Jason Reitman (Juno), published a Martian social satire – yes, with Martians, or supposed Martians – which was titled Little green men. The novel, which arrived in Spain in 2003 via Sixth Floor, was pure delirious paranoid political fiction: its protagonist was the presenter of the political program of the highest audience in the United States, one John Oliver Banion, a cocky and destructive guy who ended up, without knowing very well how, being abducted by the aliens. Or what he and the rest of American society believed were extraterrestrials. The truth of the matter? That a ridiculous error in the system made an agent of the secret Majestic 12, the government agency responsible for fueling the belief in extraterrestrials – in order to promote colossal weapons and space programs – abduct him unintentionally. What follows is a delicious unforgettable media and galactic chaos, plagued by little green men, which, however, went unnoticed. Everyone knows, or so it seems, that when the fantastic intersects with the real, the thing becomes unclassifiable and the risk of invisibility grows.

It could be said that something similar happened to Rachel Ingalls. Although she has another explanation. Rachel Ingalls was born in 1940 in the United States. At some point, he moved to England, and has not moved from there since then. It was there that he began to write. He published his first novel in 1970. But it was with the third that he became a small celebrity. The third was a domestic satire, a bitterly comic camera piece starring Dorothy, a housewife without children – nothing has been the same since she lost little Scotty – who does not ask for explanations from her unfaithful husband – Fred always has Hurry, he's always knotting his tie to get out, and he does not pay the slightest attention – and he's started to hear voices whispering things from the radio, things like "everything will be fine" and "do not worry about anything" . Hence, when he hears that a species of marine monster has escaped from the Oceanographic Institute, he believes that his sick mind is most likely inventing it. But what would happen if it were not like that? What would happen if the monster turned out to be a charming, green, friendly man? What would happen if she were to meet him one day in the kitchen and lend herself to hiding him at home and starting a small (and quite revealing) adventure with him?

Considered nothing less than one of the 20 best novels published in the United States since the Second World War, Mrs. Caliban (Minuscule), which has just been rescued now in Spanish, was originally published in 1982, and explores, from a point of view that borders on the fantastic, without surrendering completely although pretending to do it – as happens to the Little green men of Christopher Buckley -, the female psyche, psyche that the author dissects from three fronts: that of mourning for loss (or impossible motherhood); that of marital failure (and the infinite solitude of the abandoned housewife), and that of the not entirely reliable friendship between women whose world is so small that they are not able to leave it (or the cruel competition in the fight without truce for sentimental survival). Maybe in his playful approach to gender – he could be the most distant relative of The shape of the water Guillermo del Toro – is the reason for its invisibility to date, although the author extends the prejudice to the rest of his work. He thinks that what happens is that he writes books that are too short – Mrs. Caliban It barely has 120 pages – and that too short books are never taken seriously. Although it is most likely that it was a matter of the moment when the fantastic daily was published was not (or even) fashionable yet.


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