La hoja en blanco de Josefina Vicens

¿Qué sucede cuando la vida no es suficiente, cuándo ser padre, esposo y profesional no basta para sentirse pleno? ¿Cómo se puede superar la mediocridad del día a día? Talvez el sentimiento de pequeñez e insignificancia sea inherente al ser humano, talvez sea aquel sentimiento que nos impulsa a seguir adelante, a vivir. Es el terror abismal de enfrentarse a una hoja en blanco, ese lienzo que puede llegar a albergar obras maestras y palabras inmortales, un lienzo que nos invita a desdoblarnos, a descubrir los recovecos de la condición humana. Es también un lienzo que se nos puede presentar como una muralla impenetrable, un espejo que nos obliga a observarnos, a reconocer una verdad oculta que preferiríamos mantener en la obscuridad. La hoja en blanco es un lienzo que nos enfrenta a la muerte como condición de vida.

Josefina Vicens (1911–1988) describe este abismo con gran magistralidad en El libro vacío (1958), donde se narra la historia de un hombre atrapado en la cotidianidad que decide escribir una novela para poder liberarse de ella. El proceso de escritura de este personaje, cuyo nombre es igual de mediocre José García, se divide en dos cuadernos: uno donde vacía el contenido de su día a día, de sus reflexiones diarias, del cual pretende extraer ideas para el segundo cuaderno: el borrador de la novela, el cuaderno vacío, el que espera a ser escrito. El resultado es una historia sencilla, una prosa clara, una novela excepcional en su género y en la literatura mexicana. Continue reading “La hoja en blanco de Josefina Vicens”

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Lucky Boy, a story about motherhood, migration, and love

A young Mexican, Soli Castro-Valdez, decides to leave her family to venture to a better life in the United States. A young married couple of Indian descent wants to take the next step in their marriage: start a family. These stories intertwine in a world of emotions that Shanthi Sekaran created for his second novel, Lucky Boy.

I sat with Shanthi Sekaran, the author of Lucky Boy, to talk about the world she created, one where migration, motherhood, hope, and love are presented as traits of Mexican and Indian culture as well. A book that will expand our understanding of the world and make us feel truly fortunate.tumblr_inline_p7cooiTM6K1qa4o5c_540.jpg Continue reading “Lucky Boy, a story about motherhood, migration, and love”

What comes after reality? James Joyce’s Ulysses

Writing, as well as reading, takes place in a constant tension between the real and the imaginary. It is a string that unites two extremes: creation and death, writing and reading, start and end. But this string is more of a thin chain of fragile words that by themselves lose all meaning, words that join one another to form ideas.

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All words are indispensable, they carry a weight, a meaning, a sound, an irreplaceable aura. Therefore, language is the inherent rumor of words that abandon their state of inertia to fulfill their need for communication. Hence, the work of a writer is to condense this murmur and make the words speak to each other, but also speak what the author wants and speak something to the reader.

At the beginning of the 20th century, along with the great technological, social, and literary innovations, one of the most important figures of literature emerges in Dublin. James Joyce became the legend he is today by not only writing stories that generated a large number of admirers but by creating a new narrative dimension that broke with the traditional norms and where voices were fragmented into different characters, styles, and forms.

If needed to condense Joyce’s contribution to literature is the welcoming of an expansive voice that comes and goes, turns and falls. A voice with cubist overtones that generates a depth that allows a sincere expressiveness of reality.

Continue reading “What comes after reality? James Joyce’s Ulysses”

Some stories start with a goodbye

tumblr_p7cctzVTnt1w5eqi2o1_1280.jpgAdiós a los padres (2014), the novel that ends the 7 years’ silence of Mexican novelist Héctor Aguilar Camín, is not an autobiography but a work of introspection intended to figure out why he is who he is.

Although it starts with a picture of his newly married parents, the novel doesn’t redeem his obstinate and alcoholic father or his tragically devoted mother. It is not a thank you note to his aunt Luisa, nor it wants to condemn his grandfather, who more than a patriarch was a dictator. It is a puzzle of his own life, a family photo album with petrified moments unfamiliar to the reality of the present.
Continue reading “Some stories start with a goodbye”

A life of poetry

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The poet Rodolfo Naró, from Tequila, Jalisco, has been writing poetry for 30 years. From a young age, he realized words always meant more for him than to others. Thanks to poetry he relates and understands the reality that surrounds him.

After eight books, the author presents his latest book Lo que dejó tu adiós (2016), published by Editorial Planeta, a collection of poems of love and longing. I sat with him to chat about language and life. Continue reading “A life of poetry”

Una chucharada de ramen en Chiapas

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Tras entrar por la puerta corrediza, finalmente llegas a otro lugar. Un lugar acogedor donde mesas, paredes, pisos y lámparas parecen recortes de un collage del álbum familiar con el que pretendes recordar el hogar de infancia.

Lámparas de papel con siluetas japonesas, tablones de madera que recorren las paredes, fotografías de maestros del té, pinturas trazadas a mano y un shodō perfecto convierten a este lugar en un capullo donde todos son bienvenidos.

Entre las piernas de los comensales atraviesa una pequeña cara redonda con los hoyuelos de la sonrisa bien marcados sobre los rosados cachetes. No tendrá más de 4 años. Ataviada con un vestido rosa, recorre el restaurante con propiedad, como diciendo “Bienvenidos a mi casa”, luego sonríe y esconde la mirada. Continue reading “Una chucharada de ramen en Chiapas”

National Museum of Anthropology and History in CDMX

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Living in Mexico City is chaotic and overwhelming, but always exciting. One essential spot to visit is the National Museum of Anthropology, which has the world’s largest collection of ancient and indigenous Mexican art.

Aztec, Mayan, Zapotec, Mixtec, Purépecha, Olmec, and many other cultures have lived in Mexican territory for centuries. And neither conquest nor time has been able to erase the splendor of the pre-Hispanic history.

Even before Mexico reached its independence, there was an awareness of the value of this precious heritage and the need for it to be recognized by both Mexicans and foreigners.

To pay tribute to them and spread its knowledge, in 1964, in the Bosque de Chapultepec, the museum was inaugurated in the heart of Mexico City.

Continue reading “National Museum of Anthropology and History in CDMX”