Original language: castellano
Year of publication: 2023
Valuation: Can be read
Although it may seem otherwise to someone, I have no prejudices against short stories. It is not what attracts me the most but there are extraordinary examples in this genre that we all know. But there is no doubt that the format has its own codes, which are not the same as those for the novel, and force us to value different things, those that the masters of the genre, in my opinion a very small handful, master perfectly. Without these decisive attributes, difficult to formulate but easily detectable when they are not present, the story or short story remains inconsequential and forgettable. And so, although something useful can be obtained from almost everything, in most cases we only detect it in small doses.
With this I have already said almost everything, I think. Jon López de Viñaspre (from Bilbao of Alava origin, which is almost an oxymoron) is the promoter of the interesting Lapislàtzuli publishing house, and the author of at least one novel, in addition to the collection of stories that constitutes The clan of the incredibles. Specifically, here we are talking about seven texts of medium length, heterogeneous although with quite recognizable characters: a good dose of imagination, simple language although with a certain taste for embellishment, a few drops of something that we could relate to magical realism, characters with an extravagant touch. , rather timeless and exotic environments. The stories are rather of little development and are used to present situations in which life tests the individual, or it is he who puts them on trial. Thus, the unlikely circus lovers of The incredible bullet manthe sailor of The legend of Inverglass, or the eventual hermit of The stone.
The beginning of this last story, The stone, It’s one of the most powerful moments in the book, when Joaquindecided to seek ‘all the uncertainties of this world’, climbs to one of the highest rocks of the Montserrat massif to remain there, alone, for an indefinite period of time, in an image that recalls Simon of the Desert on his column. The thing has a certain tone of a biblical parable with touches of Zen, without forgetting quotes from Queen and Lou Reed, certainly a somewhat strange cocktail. Another thing is that that initial impact becomes diluted in the story as a good idea that lacks continuity. We see this same inconsistency in all the other titles, always with an attractive, more or less original core, around which too many turns are made without ever having a development that leads anywhere. They are like small novels in which decisive things never end up happening.
From this narrative point of view, perhaps the most complete of the stories is the last one, Los formidables Rocktabour, where some characters introduced earlier meet, and through which old glories of the circus parade for one last performance. So, although well written and full of imagination, the book would have to look for qualities in those flashes of brilliance that illuminate the stories, like the illness of Kantutawho cannot help but read one book after another without pause (take note, reviewers and blog readers), or the poet’s crazy suicide attempts Octavio. They are moments that capture attention, that surprise, but that unfortunately are almost always wrapped in a litter of names, places and characters that confuse more than they contribute, a jumble of fantasy that ends up swallowing what could have been an interesting development.
I don’t think that the author, apart from the novel I referred to at the beginning, has written much else. It may be what it lacks, that point of maturity to build a solid narrative itinerary. We will have to wait to see what he is capable of doing later, because he does not lack imagination, he has the capacity to surprise and he is not shy when it comes to exhibiting heterogeneous materials. The knowledge you acquire and the fruit of your work as a writer will have to be demonstrated.
And in case anyone is interested in listening to the author talking about the book, you can spend a few minutes watching the interview shown at this link.