Jorge Enrique Lage

Jorge Enrique Lage

Una vez, hace mucho tiempo, entusiasta de la obra de tipos como Mendeléiev y Carl Sagan. Hoy, una suerte de comentarista deportivo en transmisiones literarias, de las cuales robo lo que puedo para meterlo de contrabando en ficciones propias. Condenado a ser un ilusionista amateur cuando todos a mi alrededor se van convirtiendo en contundentes profesionales. A ellos, y a los que vendrán, les deseo la mejor de las suertes.

Héctor Libertella

Keep on reading: Exchange of imaginaries

Now that hundreds of thousands of Cubans are dreaming of Barack Obama (dreams that are, should be, distressing nightmares for some), I suddenly remembered the Obama writer. The one who in ¨Los sueños de mi padre¨ said: "In the beginning, my intention was to write a very different book." The phrase is at the beginning of the book. Nearing the end of ¨La arquitectura del fantasma¨, autobiography-collage by Argentine writer Héctor Libertella, I read: "What I wanted to tell here maybe it was something else." How many things cannot be counted on the distance, on the space that opens itself like a black hole between these two sentences at first sight so similar, almost equivalent? What in the future head of the White House -those memories of himself were not even remotely presidential, but, undoubtedly those of becoming a presidential candidate- already resonates with a warm eco of seduction, openness, security and farsighted lucidity, and with the inevitable melody of the American dream behind, in the author of ¨La Libreria Argentina¨ and ¨El Arbol de Saussure, ¨ -that volume that as he tells us, some booksellers accommodated in the section of linguistics and others in the narrative one-is pure dislocation,...

Keep on reading: Wish List

To end this year’s transmission, in the frequency of this channel ("keep on reading": hopeless motto, Christmas slogan), I intend to improvise a non-exhaustive list. Let's see. For the coming 2015, I wish: -La noria, Oscar Cruz & José Ramón Sanchez’s magazine not to stop circulating. The latest issue is devoted to the naval base at Guantanamo. BTW: what relationship does the base have with the Cuban literature? It is one of the questions that we have to start to answer us. The aridity of the south coast (Our north is ...), the Telon de Cactus. -To read Librerias, by Jorge Carrion; How Life Imitates Chess, by Garry Kasparov; Every love story is a ghost story, David Foster Wallace’s biography; and Not that kind of girl, by Lena Dunham. The latter hoping is not to be as bad as I imagine, not that kind of book. -To be called from the former US Interests Section / future US embassy for them to give me the damn visa, if they finally do it. For me to be able to visit New York and once there, before taking a single picture, to remember what a character in Manhattan Transfer said on John...

Keep on reading: A vague smell of blood

It was a few weeks ago, in a Champions League match (the soccer issue seems a curse again). Commentators, the friendliest team of Fox Sports, aerate the profile of the referee. The usual: name, age, nationality and (this always seems a story) the extra-arbitral job, the "civil” profession, so to speak. The referee of that match worked in a company of graphic arts and printing or something like that, I cannot remember. What I do remember well, because it made me turn the TV up was the information that followed. In a burst of predictive enthusiasm, one commentator suggests that the referee should leave his other activities, because all printed things are about to disappear. -No... His partner (Vizcayart, the always self-confident Don Vizca) says with a tone of not overdoing ...- Books will continue to exist... -Of course books will continue to exist -the other replies. They are called e-books! I watch football for these things, essentially. When you least expect it, you are witnessing a debate on the future of the book. That's in the developed world –the defender of print culture protests (while an European ball rolls on the field completely alien to the discussion) -. In...

Keep on reading: Heraclitus in Matanzas

I am reading the poet Leymen Perez (Matanzas, 1976), who in turn gets us into a reading scene, a flow: "While reading fragments of Heraclitus of Ephesus / oppression of my blood increased and decreased / the cry of the water seller/ tasting to little fertile land. In well sealed and labeled bags the water arrived / to the dry mouths of the island. It came across the water / souls rescuers, false atoms / that fake democracy produces. The fragments of Heraclitus travelled / from a bag to another. / Like dead that feed on themselves, they travel. " The poem is called "Vendedor de Agua" (Water Seller) and is part of Heraclitus' book, published by Ediciones Union in 2012. A possible tour of this book emerges from there: the water tastes like earth, water suspension with soil. The famous ¨the whole¨ flows from the Greek philosopher, recycled and displaced. Other things, other atoms can be moved but not this water that reaches our mouths. The earth weighs. The earth does not flow, does not recirculate, and does not change. Heraclitus was wrong; the poet shoots from the very beginning, from the first of a series of texts in...

Keep on reading: The land of advertisement

The recent game between Real Madrid vs. Barcelona: ninety minutes of top quality. I'm not thinking about soccer quality, obviously; I'm thinking of that phrase from The Hobbit designating a battle: "Far and over." Over, literally, the clouds, like Qatar Airways and Fly Emirates: airlines advertised on the ¨azulgrana¨ and ¨merengue¨ super and multi-sold-shirts of Barça and Madrid, respectively. I wonder how it will be seen the ¨Clasico¨ from the offices and mansions of the executives back in Doha, Dubai. The money is neither created nor destroyed but, among other things, transforms into soccer; global and tribal at the same time (nomads from the Persian Gulf with Ray Ban and apps and whiskeys), The Clasico is, already was, a giant dance of petro-euros. And although the players seem in fact airplanes (some more than others), the ground in which they were playing was the center of the ubiquitous deployment of brands: Iberdrola, Nivea, Sanitas, Samsung, Audi, Adidas, BBVA... That is nothing new . Marketing is like the wild vegetation: it is focused on occupying the larger amount of space, growing in all directions, proliferating, becoming jungle. Apropos of this, I remember a novel by Spanish writer Antonio Orejudo where one...

Keep on reading: On the left (II)

I continue with this kind of Leftist Literature coverage. I open again Damien Tabarovsky´s essay and find the following sentence by Wittgenstein (not the one that many quoted at every opportunity and against all logic-logic was Wittgenstein’s field- but another, which perfectly fits to these columns): How do I know what I'm talking about, how can I know what I mean? I read: "Not really knowing it ever, that might be good advice for novice writers. Much of the contemporary Argentine literature is so clear in what it narrates that sometimes it is more interesting to watch television. " Could we put Cuban instead of Argentine? I do not know: I think that we don’t even have on our side that defect, that clarity. (In any case, instead of TV we should put Weekly Package, which is like the new ration card). Tabarovsky continues: "This literature is at the service of efficiency; assumes that language can be efficient, that must provide it its dramatic effects, its targets. It fails because it treats language as a kind of domestic servant, and loses sight that language is not the employee, but the employer and against the employer there is always a single...

Keep on Reading: On the left

The short, provocative and controversial book of essays entitled “Literatura de izquierda” (Leftist’s Literature), rescued by Spanish Periférica publishing house in 2010, is now celebrating ten years of being published in Argentina. It is probably the most resounding critical hit in Latin America by novelist, editor, and sociologist Damian Tabarovsky (Buenos Aires, 1967). First, the two explanations of the title. Literature does not cover its broad sense: Tabarovsky mainly referred to narrative practice, to fiction. But he could not be more explicit on the other term. Let us read: " ... Leftist’s literature does not refer to the literature written by leftist writers who underwent that policy or who say they still belong to it. Much of such literature is conservative, reductive, and simplistic. But not even their relationship with the market is closer to the left. From the boom, the vast majority of leftist writers adopt the most meritocratic and less questioning positions of the established order. Just like conservative writers, those from the left get linked to the market through the same way as they do with the texts: normative, conventional, full of low blows manner. In contrast, the situation is the other way around for the leftist’s...

Keep on reading: Of sports and literature

A new baseball season starts in Cuba. To say "new" is just a phrase. Everyone knows that the National Series sooner or later will eventually become (there will be nothing to prevent it) a Caribbean's professional league, with private clubs, sponsors, ads for mobile telephony over the stands and beer advertising in uniforms, but for now we continue with this Series dragging the worst part of the National qualifier: not that it is old and outdated, but that seems to be developing into another dimension. In a time bubble. Now, if somebody asked to me, which fortunately nobody does, where I want the baseball to move to in the island, I would answer that in the late nineteenth century. To the time that there were magazines like The Pitcher (1887), The Score (1888), The Petit Havana (1900), The Petit Almendares and La Cancha Habanera (1902), among others. Towards those publications that were announced, each as sports and literature Weekly. Anything more modern than that? (In Cuba we have forgotten what it is a weekly.) And my favorite, the one that I think we should bail immediately, print it in the present without renaming it: The Comiquito. Journal of theaters, literature,...

Juan Carlos Flores

Keep on reading: Save me another plastic bag

An old science-fiction argument states that when someone takes a time travel to the past and changes something, anything, it will trigger further changes and on his way back will find an alternative unrecognizable present. I have given this idea some thought while waiting for the finals of the FIFA World Cup. I went back two decades to recall (which doesn’t mean relive) the final of the World Cup in the United States in 1994. The score in the clash between Brazil and Italy was 0-0 so they moved to penalty. It is Roberto Baggio’s turn –he is the Italian crack, the Cristiano Ronaldo of that time but with a 10 on his back, the number of stars like Maradona, Zidane, Messi… “El numero 10” (The number 10) is the title of a poem by Juan Carlos Flores, included in his book El Contragolpe(y otros poemas horizontales) (LetrasCubanas, 2009), dedicated to the precise moment Roberto Baggio missed the final penalty. The ball ended up in the Rose Bowl’s stand in Pasadena, Brazil became world champion for the fourth time and Juan Carlos Flores wrote: …sé lo que significa pertenecer a un equipo de fútbol, sé lo que significa acertar y...

Ahmel Hechevarría

Keep on reading

Ahmel Echevarría’s (La Habana, 1974) first three books—Inventario, Esquirlas y Días de entrenamiento— makes up what he calls his Cycle of Memory. Let’s hope, for the sake of his readers, this cycle is not over yet; especially after Días de entrenamiento, a novel that hasn’t been published in Cuba (and is still non-publishable). For now, Ahmel is traveling in the past to the Quinquenio Gris / Decenio Negro, to explore foreign memories. Jorge Fornet has also recently travelled to that same period, to his newspaper and documents. The result is entitled El 71. Anatomía de una crisis (Letras Cubanas, 2013). Essayists and researchers would radiograph a year, while narrators would make it last till present day. From their journeys Fornet brings us an anatomy and Ahmel comes back with a living and breathing body. The body of an old writer. Here is the main character of the novel La noria (Unión, 2013), which received the Italo Calvino Award despite the strong resistance by one of the members of the jury (Leonardo Acosta, like a ghost from that year so much reviewed by Jorge Fornet, argued this story by AhmelEchevarria was harmful for the Revolution. Thus, repeating, unintentionally? A text outlined...

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