I am in mourning. My chilean writer favorite, Luis Sepúlveda, died on the 16th of April last, seventy years ago, in the aftermath of the COVID-19, this virus is a treacherous and insidious that mowing currently thousands of lives.
He was returning from a literary festival near Lisbon, capital of Portugal, in which he participated every year in the company of other writers friends. Hospitalized and plunged into a coma caused for seven weeks in a university hospital in Oviedo, in the Asturias region of northern Spain, where it was established, a territory recognized for the struggles of the workers, after a long run in South America and Europe, so we can say that he died in battle. His DNA was of color red liked to tell this son of a militant of the communist Party of chile and a mother nurse original mapuche.
Luis Sepúlveda has published thirty books, stories, novels, collections of short stories, tales for children and stories which I have often reported in the pages of the Journal de Montréal. All are worthy of mention, the first of which was made known, The Old man who read love novels, translated into French in the 1990s, after mixed success in its original language − while the exile of the Latin american knew its apogee in France − until his last, the Story of a white whale, all published in French translation in the publisher Anne-Marie Métailié.
Right to pleasure
In a book with a promising title, Two ideas of happiness, Sepúlveda talks with Carlo Petrini, the inventor of the ” slow food “. This book is a pure enjoyment. Both claim the right to pleasure and denounce some left for that campaign to change the world is to enter in religion or in any of the sect, “the left, which resounds almost like the religious message that promised paradise after death because our world is a world of suffering,” says the author of the chilean.
Search for jouissance, that of the chilean wine, among other pleasures, in The shadow of what we have been, while the four old revolutionary bedonnants, grizzled or bald, returned from exile or out of prison, get together for a last operation, in spite of age and fatigue. Or in The nephew of America where there is a question of an old promise to an eleven year old boy to his grandfather, an anarchist Spanish exiled to Chile to visit his native village, in Andalusia, in order to find his ancestors. After a thousand and one detours, the young boy became an adult ultimately in the native village of Martos, a brother of her grandfather, who can not help but exclaim at the sight of the woman : “Woman, bring wine, my nephew from America has just arrived. ”
If you like detective stories twisted about politics, you will be served with Diary of a killer sentimental writing at a pace fizzle, or with a name of A bullfighter, a crazy race between Berlin and to the bottom of the Patagonia to search for a treasure stolen by the nazis.
We cannot speak of Sepulveda without mentioning its activities in Greenpeace and his novels to the obvious ecological concerns, as in running around The world to the end of the world, or the Story of a snail who discovered the importance of the slow, or the Story of the white whale.
But the one that touched me the most, it is the collection of stories entitled Les roses d Atacama, these ephemeral flowers of the most arid desert in the world. Sepúlveda explains, in thirty of” marginal stories “, the tragic destiny of these opponents of the anonymous dictatorships, men and women, who often have sacrificed all, including their lives, to save humanity. The themes that are dear to Sepúlveda keep coming back like a leitmotiv haunting : the deforestation, the pollution, the extermination of the whales, the dictatorships bloodthirsty in Latin America, the solidarity and the fraternity. These stories have their origins in this sentence is engraved on a stone at the concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen : “what is it that I can do me, that this does not happen again ? “Just the opposite of these ex-militants who today adopt the pose of a” cynical which is income of all “.
Thank you Luis Sepúlveda, your writings will always be calls to resistance, and an ode to the beauty of the world.
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