‘Austral’ by Carlos Fonseca: a field on fire

The two previous novels of Charles Fonseca (San Jose, Costa Rica, 1978), ‘Colonel Tears‘ Y ‘animal museum‘, plagued by interconnected fragmented stories in which impersonality emerged as the main narrative resource, have made him one of the most powerful voices in Latin American literature at the time. In a fragment of ‘Museo animal’ the narrator speaks of building “a novel about the history of fire: a novel where fire was the true protagonist, a novel that would begin with the chemical equation of combustion and then spread across all continents and all ages, a novel that would cross history like a field on fire.” Well here it is: ‘Austral’, a real battlefield in which he becomes aware of a world conceived as an immense network of plots that support an omnivorous writing like a vast myriad of broken glass that when assembled forms the inverted image of a world sustained by infinite deviations. For Fonseca, fiction writing is conceived as the Borgesian garden of forking paths.

In these two books appears as a constant the fascination with small stories, photographs and collectionsconstant happily repeated in ‘Southern. The idea of ​​the archive plays a decisive role in this book as a scaffolding for quotations about Fonseca’s fetish authors: Sebald and his labyrinthine -and photographic- plots, Wittgenstein and his obsession with the search for a private language that is the backbone of this book. in “the possibility of language” playing “on that border where two beings tried to discuss their sorrows & rdquor ;, Bernhard and his atavistic obsession with failed characters and drowned in their own madness or Piglia and his obsession with building novels from a fixed idea supported by the search for procedures. Southern points out “encyclopedic entries”, “family memoirs”, “anecdotes” of travel, “images” and “literary quotes” forming “a series of fragments” that “it escaped its classification & rdquor; and that if the reader is able to assemble them (not an easy thing, by the way) she will obtain as a reward the writings that Aliza Abravanel, attacked by aphasia after a stroke, struggled to finish before her death.

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Yes the center of the story is the story of Aliza the periphery is the reconstruction of a series of legacies around the rest of the characters: that of “Karl-Heinz von Mühlfeld, heir to the madness of Elisabeth Förster Nietzsche;” that of “Juvenal Suárez, heir to the fixed ideas of von Mühlfeld;” that of “Yitzhak Abravanel, heir to the solitude of Juvenal Suárez,” and that of “Aliza Abravanel” herself, heir to her father’s passions. & rdquor; The reader has in his hands, in fact, the “last link in that story & rdquor; because ‘Austral’ is the last inheritance, that of “Julio Gamboa, heir to that private language in which Aliza sighed her last wish. & rdquor; A desire that tries to go through the pain of real and symbolic losses: “the theater of a voice in battle with history & rdquor ;, “the silences of a language in struggle with its oblivion & rdquor ;, leitmotiv of this colossal fiction narrating the extinction of a ghostly world.

‘Southern’

Author: Charles Fonseca

Editorial: Anagram

240 pages. €18.90

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