The dancers | Culture | THE COUNTRY

I know I will die without reading many books that would have saved my life. They will be lost, buried, hidden, in the chaos of my library or other libraries. Hundreds of exceptional books will never be read by exceptional human beings. That is why I smile when the editors of magazines, or newspapers, or books, ask me for unpublished texts. I think: Cervantes is an unpublished writer for 90% of Spaniards. The whole history of literature is unprecedented for millions and millions of human beings who do not read. For millions of human beings "I can write the saddest verses tonight" could be a verse written right now.

I have many novels of Galdós to read. I have not read everything Dostoevsky. I'm missing pages and pages of Dickens. I'm forgetting the tragedies of Shakespeare I read when I was 20 years old. I forget what I read and I remember the loins barely seen in the books that I will never read. There is no melancholy in this. There is fascination. I can invent the moral pleasure and the dazzling that those extraordinary books that I will not know will cause me, because my life is mortal. I will not be able to reread Kafka never again, because if I reread it I will not read the latest novels of Álvaro Enrigue or of Rosella Pastorino or Carlos Zanón, who are now in front of me, at my table, and they ask me to read them and I want to read them. I will die without knowing the great Russian literature of the Middle Ages. Because I will never learn Russian. I will die without knowing how the verses of Homer. I will die without knowing what thousands and thousands of characters in novels who talk about death thought of death and that I will not have time to read because death will prevent me from doing so.

Also on the street lights a winter sun, we are in February. Madrid is a city full of life. No human being, after fifty years, can devote to reading the entire days. Don Quixote himself, when he was fifty, stopped reading and chose to live. I also close the books, as Don Quixote did, and I get up from the table, and go out into the street. And then I discover the beauty of life. And I get very nervous, because everything is fiercely intense: the people, the streets, the trees, the houses, the traffic lights, the clouds, the stores. And then I return to my house. And I do not want anything to be lost. And I open the computer. And I write, as hundreds of human beings wrote before me, with the same intention that the beauty of life does not vanish. We are a chain of ghosts in love. Let us celebrate the pages that men and women wrote in the service and dictation of life and that we will never read. Never read those pages is beauty too. Ah, literature and death, two great dancers in the dark.


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