Poets have an intimate agreement with heaven. César Vallejo announced that he would die under a downpour and Fernando del Paso died on a rainy Tuesday since Monday, fifty years after the student movement of '68, an essential episode of his novel Palinuro of Mexico.
In 1996, in his speech to the National College, Del Paso defined his totalizing conception of writing: "I call a poet, to be said once and for all, to every writer, whether his job is not only the making of poems, but also of dramas, comedies, stories or novels, to the way that Walter Muschg did in his History of literature, that wonderful study that, like few others, presents us with the multiple avatars in which the poet has incarnated over the centuries, for his happiness or his misery: seer, magician, prophet, demigod, outcast, accused, victim, hero, fallen Angel".
For Dante, imagination is the place where the poet breaks the limits of reality and modifies the climate; consequently, it is a place where it rains. It is no accident that Vallejo longed for a burial under a broken sky or that Del Paso died under the storm. No novelist deserved as much as he did the magical attributes of the poet, a fate he occasionally fulfilled in verse and almost always in a torrential and electric prose, charged with a sense of humor.
Born in 1935, he became the first novelist to be published by the nascent Siglo XXI publishing house. With an infallible sense of smell, the editor Arnaldo Orfila decided that José Trigo outside the flagship of a catalog yet to be defined. And he was not wrong. Del Paso received in 1966 the Xavier Villaurrutia Prize for his recreation of the railway world that had been sung in the corridos and still awaited a story as long as the roads that decided the Revolution, the Cristero War and the railroad movement of 1959.
With joyceano pulse, Del Paso reinvented speech, dived into the consciousness of his characters and exercised a "dynamic of the exhaustive." He only dealt with one subject if he could exhaust it. In 1977, Palinuro took him to the avatars of a medical student and minutely reviewed the mysteries of the human body. Treaty of eroticism and pathology, recovery of the Plaza de Santo Domingo, home of the Inquisition and the Faculty of Medicine, the novel was compared by Severo Sarduy with the Venus de Dalí, which has drawers in the body and can be opened by many parts.
Ten years later, Del Paso built another cathedral, News of the empire, about the historical misfortunes of Maximiliano de Habsburgo and the mental misfortunes of his wife Carlota.
In addition to these long-winded pieces, Del Paso practiced drawing and sculpture, wrote luminous essays on the Quixote, a reasoned cookbook of Mexican cuisine, poems for children, a drama about the death of García Lorca, a police novel and hundreds of pages of news stories. He covered the World Cup in Spain in 1982 and condemned the Pinochet dictatorship and the abuses of the PRI with an accurate pulse.
Born in 1935, he left Mexico after the Tlatelolco massacre. He participated in the writers program of Iowa, where he began a voluntary exile that would last until 1992. In London and Paris he found the time to write works whose extension competed with eternity. When he returned to Mexico, he settled in Guadalajara, where he achieved a strange miracle. Juan José Arreola had retired from written literature to exercise the evanescent prodigies of orality. For years he promised a book about his life, Memory and forgetting. Del Paso put it in front of a tape recorder and became an amanuensis of the author of Confabular. This act of generosity produced an instant classic.
Each time he received a prize, Del Paso referred to the losses of the "soft homeland" of Mexico. He did so in Mérida, upon receiving the José Emilio Pacheco Prize, and in Alcalá de Henares, upon receiving the Cervantes. In moments of acceptance, he endorsed his disagreement.
To overcome the difficulties of the blank page, he wore a worn-out garment, the shirt he inherited from the poet José Carlos Becerra, who died at thirty-three. After the drafts were over, he appeared in public with a red tie and a yellow shirt. No Mexican writer has dressed in more colors.
Fernando del Paso was the great character of our comedy of art, capable of defeating the miseries of reality with the dissident resources of laughter, inventiveness and sensuality.