Idioma original: French

Original title: One

Translation: Vanesa García Cazorla

Year of publication: 1969

Valuation: Between recommended and okay

Barbara Molinard destroyed almost everything she wrote. Marguerite Duras, a friend of his, explains it this way in the preface to Anxietythe only anthology published by the author.
The volume, published in Spanish by Sexto Piso, consists of twelve stories, a collection of micro-stories and an interview that Duras conducts with Molinard. It also includes monochrome reproductions of some of Molinard’s abstract paintings, which in my opinion are rather insipid.

Much more interesting than these paintings are the twelve Molinard stories compiled here. Written with functional but somewhat flat prose, they successfully configure a subjective microcosm full of anguish, grief and despair crossed by multiple symbolisms, clouded by a dreamlike tone and governed by the logic of dreams.

Broadly speaking, we can separate Molinard’s stories into two categories, although both overlap from time to time (as happens in “The Taxi”).

In those of the first category, the psychological portrait of a female character predominates; for example, “The Plane from Santa Rosa”, “The Cage” or “Happiness”. Of these, my favorite is “The Cage”, whose generally realistic register is abruptly interrupted by a fateful, almost supernatural element; tells the existence of a young woman who longs for love whose happiness is eclipsed when she finally finds it because of the gloomy vision of a boa.

In the second category we find metaphorical stories with a clear abstract vocation. Although the message they convey is at least vague, they are very suggestive. In them, a male protagonist wanders through an undefined space with some vague objective to achieve (this would be the case of “The Cut Hand” or “The Date”) or finds himself stuck in a place at the mercy of external whims (as happens in “The Father’s Apartments” or “I’m Alone and It’s Night”).

The protagonist of “The Father’s Apartments” encapsulates how the main characters in the stories in this second category feel. On page 87 he confesses that “The meaning of this work and my life here sometimes escapes me, and if I thought about it too much I would go mad at the end.” On page 88, he feels that “I was the plaything of some dark mystery.” And on page 89, that “I had embarked on an absurd adventure that was beyond my understanding.”

I liked most of the stories. Even those that are weak in certain areas (“The Severed Hand”, for example, lacks focus) have redeemable aspects. And the best ones, like the aforementioned “The Cage”, the disturbing “The Appointment” or the nightmarish “The Father’s Apartments”, seem to me to be extremely well done.

Anxiety It is, therefore, a recommendable anthology. Although Molinard’s literary universe is not as complex and memorable as that of Franz Kafka, nor as creative and plastic as that of Leonora Carrington, it will seduce lovers of both authors. It also reminded me of that exhibited by certain fictions of Mario Levrero, which speaks positively of Molinard’s level.


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