Argentina's like a novel, he said, a lie, or make-believe at best. Buenos Aires is full of crooks and loudmouths, a hellish place, with nothing to recommend it except the women, and some of the writers, but only a few. Ah, but the pampas—the pampas are eternal. A limitless cemetery, that's what they're like.
After that moment, reality for Pelletier and Espinoza seemed to tear like paper scenery, and when it was stripped away it revealed what was behind it: a smoking landscape, as if someone, an angel, maybe, was tending hundreds of barbecue pits for a crowd of invisible beings.
I ate sitting in the kitchen in silence, thinking about future. I saw tornadoes, hurricanes, tidal waves, fire. Then I washed the frying pan, plate and silverware, brushed away the crumbs and unbolted the door to the courtyard. Before I left, I turned out the light.
The truth is we never stop being children, terrible children covered in sores and knotty veins and tumors and age spots, but ultimately children, in other words we never stop clinging to life because we are life.
These weren't comforting nights, much less pleasant ones, but Espinoza discovered two things that helped him mightily in the early days: he would never be a fiction writer, and, in his own way, he was brave.
People see what they want to see and what people want to see never has anything to do with the truth. People are cowards to the last breath. I'm telling you between you and me: the human being, broadly speaking, is the closest thing there is to a rat.
He turned his back on the window, not knowing why he had gone to it, not knowing what he hoped to see, and just at that moment, when there was no one at the window any more and only a little lamp of colored glass at the back of the room flickering, it appeared.
Then he went out without touching anything and put his arm around Ingeborg, and like that, with their arms around each other, they returned to the village while the whole past of the universe fell on their heads.
The pain, or the memory of pain, that here was literally sucked away by something nameless until only a void was left. The knowledge that this question was possible: pain that turns finally into emptiness. The knowledge that the same equation applied to everything, more or less.
I began to tremble and he noticed. Why do I have to like the worst ones? I thought, why do I have to be attracted to the most brooding, least cultured, most desperate ones? It's a question I ask myself twice a year. I still haven't found an answer.
Ivanov's breath smelled of vodka and sewers, sour and heavy, like something rotting, reminiscent of empty houses near swamps, nightfall at four in the afternoon, vapors rising from the sickly grass and fogging the dark windows. A horror film, thought Ansky. Where everything has come to a halt, and it comes to a halt because it knows it's lost.
We play at believing ourselves imortal. We delude oursleves in the appraisal of our own works and in our perpetual misappraisal of the works of others. See you at the Nobel, writers say, as one might say: see you in hell.
If it was true that all effort led to a vast abyss, she had two recommendations to begin with, first, not to cheat people, and, second, to treat them properly. Beyond that, there was room for discussion.
They told me that Arturo Belano once gave a lecture at the Casa del Lago and when it was his turn to talk he forgot everything. I think the lecture was supposed to be on Chilean poetry and Belano improvised a talk about horror movies.