Presence of Absence | Culture

Presence of Absence | Culture

On November 27, 1983 – that is, today thirty-five years ago – the Mexican writer Jorge Ibargüengoitia said goodbye from the doorway at number 66 bis on rue Saint Didier, heart of Paris, looking up, where his wife, the painter Joy Laville leaned on the railing framed between white clouds. The immense literary agent Carmen Balcells and Joy herself had managed to convince Jorge for the trip that would be the last, at the invitation of Gabriel García Márquez to meet again with a host of friends writers in Bogotá. In the flight that left from Paris with Ibargüengoitia were also the authors Martha Traba, Ángel Rama, Manuel Scorza and in the Mexican popular imagination the name of the actress Fanny Cano is always added; all of them, many more passengers and except for a few survivors died when the plane fell engulfed in flames on a plain in Mejorada del Campo, an anteroom near the tracks of the Madrid-Barajas airport.

Jorge would be ninety years old and in this year his muse Joy Laville has reached him on that trip that awaits us all, they are the emotional reason to return to mourn his absences, but also to underline his keen presence. I imagine what it would be like for us, all your known and potential readers, to have had all the books that were left to us. Jorge: he had in his suitcase a novel that was unpublished and had lived until the ninth decade of age with ingenuity, intelligence and sarcasm the pathetic parades of banal and cheap politics and politicking that flooded us during the past years. To imagine an example: having attended only one FIL in Guadalajara, it is likely that Ibargüengoitia would add valuable pages pointing with irony to the annual tedium of the political speeches that impede the inauguration (where the assistants, almost in their majority, only wait for the speaker to speak). writer awarded with the Juan Rulfo Award (which from a foolish time to date is called differently) and I think that would also be jeered Jorge and throw elegies by the bars or bars at dawn that have gradually been closing their doors , without considering that they were alternative salons to the presentations of books or write about the moving ranks of the FIL where there is no shortage of readers who have never read the author to whom they are about to ask for a signature or about the upcoming cultural debate in around the spectacular stardom of the hostesses in a world where it is assumed that you no longer have to promote the neckline and miniskirt as attractive marketing or bi in, the anxious expectation that the publishing world incorporates transsexual beauties (as in the beauty contests) or perhaps it would write about the mariachi that never fails in the bursting of any of the stands or the shameless resurrection of some plague of five years ago or the pardon of the small republic of letters to the plagiarists who have already returned to the spotlight, or what if Ibargüengoitia in ghost was encouraged to publish a rancid diatribe against the mud type Harvey Weinstein, who has been so much involved in the round of dictations, awards, scholarships, presentations, reprints and other sexist alleys of the editorial world?

Over all the dreams, the FIL will never forget the firecracker with which the chronicle of an announced imbecility exploded in public, the nefarious day when a candidate for the Presidency of Mexico did not know how to murmur with minimal intelligence the immense dilemma of trying to invent the titles of three books that no one doubts that he has never read, the same one that has disappeared for months, vanished and unpunished, in a painful absence without precedent that contrasts markedly with the incandescent presence of the authors who will continue to fill with paragraphs the FIL of all the years . Among them, Jorge who flies almost every day on flights of eternity between clouds, now accompanied, reading from the air the ridiculous comedy of the tiny and writing in his notebooks the chronicle of his greatness, the paragraph in gerund of a new novel , the plot of the story where he himself laughs at the filthy presentations, the speakers who scream in public, the presenter who forgot to read the book he presents, the questions as essays of the readers who travel to FIL to show their own trajectories or the daily chronicle of the tasty evolution of the world of letters where each year a new novel that hypnotizes emerges, a young poet who levitates, an unusual storyteller or the hopeful editor who just opens his wings with the first title of a stamp that is in ink all the confirmed illusion that the writers are really nothing more and nothing less than immortal.


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