The fireproof Juan Carlos Onetti, together with Mario Benedetti y Eduardo galeano, make up a literary triumvirate from their common Uruguay to the Olympus of letters in Spanish. Because between the three they cover everything, any genre in prose, verse or on the stage.
Although each one offers that particular imprint and narrative restlessness (beyond the turn labels that feed on the most superficial coincidences of space or time to try to unify or standardize), it is also true that the shared circumstances of a twentieth century subjected here and there to political and economic ups and downs of all kinds in a world that pointed to globalization and the generalized replication of every crisis, it sometimes served for a natural thematic harmony.
The Uruguayan miracle that made the country of these three geniuses stand as the most prosperous until the middle of the 29th century, began to suffer with the crisis of XNUMX and ended up collapsing with the two subsequent world wars.
The military dictatorship of the 70s found in these three authors three great critical voices, censored on many occasions and exiled as the only option. Shared vital notes that reflect in his books the disparate impressions of his great creative gifts towards criticism and uprooting.
But Onetti points to a certain casuistic exceptionality. Because he was much more prolific even before the Boldaberry coup. It is from 1939 to the 70s the period in which Onetti managed to write his most intense works, with that existential brilliance between fascinating allegories from his invented city, Santa María, where characters arrive from other very real spaces, in a game of mirrors that few authors would repeat with similar mastery.
Top 3 recommended books by Juan Carlos Onetti
The short life
All Onetti readers assume the greatness of the masterpiece, of that sky brushed by the storyteller. Although I do not like to generalize, I believe that I am not mistaken in aiming at that level no longer reached in previous or later works.
Juan María Brausen and Stein face the task of closing a film script. The commissioned story will take place in Santa María. And there Juan María is locating the characters who have to come to life to finally trace the knot of their history.
And little by little Brausen incorporates the narrative into his life while projecting his life into the narrative. The writer's bipolarity made a complex and complete scenario.
Santa María's excuse to hide guilt, heartbreak and fear among its invented streets. Characters that seem to have the keys that open the doors to the reality of Brausen and a Brausen that extends his dreams and the imaginary overturned in the script to get to inhabit scenarios and lives, like that old dream of seeing for others to live and enjoy the happiness of others, parking your own affairs in a reality turned fiction.
When you talk to someone about Onetti, and despite the above about the more than possible masterpiece, many other readers quote this other novel first. It will be one of his most manageable scenarios for our gray world.
In a way, it seems desperate to travel to a fictional place like Santa María, which could shine between opulence or happiness and end up discovering the same sadness.
But it is that, as many authors comment on occasions, sadness is the greatest source of inspiration. Decay and nostalgia keep you in a creative frenzy as long as they don't bring you down. And Onetti was a master in that meeting of a fiction mimicked of the saddest sensations in our world.
Characters moved by unproductive inertia in a worn world. Shipyards with echoes of prosperity that pierce consciences sunk in defeat.
Once Onetti has been discovered, it is worth stopping at this short novel that has something of a statement of all truth, a stark testimony of the author. Onetti himself described this work as his favorite, even on occasion. There must be a reason.
The point is that the protagonist of the story could be Onetti himself, disguised as a former sports star arrived in a mountain town famous for its curative qualities of tuberculosis.
His particular figure, presence and strange behavior soon caught the attention of the person in charge of the post for the town. To make matters worse, strange letters come to the main character which, as they pass through the hands of the particular postman of the town, are writing in their imagination the deepest possible story of a character finally taking refuge in that quiet valley.
The brevity of this novel, its tempered tempo, however, and the notion of the postman transforming the existence of everything around him make up a fatalistic mosaic about the protagonist's retirement and the stagnation of life at the foot of the mountains.