As Geovannys Manso begins his novel The Sleepy Children of the Abyss (Editorial Letras Cubanas, 2016) with the certainty: “Today my father has died”, the reader can assume that he will face a backward journey, where filial relationships, in addition to being mediated by longing, will be the invariable. While this will happen, we will also notice that relations were always strained between the protagonist and his father, between the protagonist and his sister until they had an impact between him and his ex-wife.
Insanguinity does not strengthen affections. It’s not enough to know where it’s coming from and who’s on the road. Cohabitation is only a passer-by as long as it does not jeopardize the carelessness of self-love. Selfishness is very noticeable when we experience the death of others or personal setback. If not stimulated, restlessness and indifference conspire against the central character of The Sleepy Children of the Abyss. It has motivated the repetition of an adverb of denial (four times already mentioned by no) who, without yet being named, insists on an obsessive to himself.
As the protagonist is a constant critic of his father and the very context that surrounds him, we notice a subject of apparent indifference, for he soon has longings: “Every human being should discover absolute freedom”. Your attitude will be alarming. It will consist again and again of confronting the utopian with the ironic: “Every day can become, if I propose, an unforgettable adventure.” Opposite binomial that will go through the impulses and thoughts of those who seem to be more aware of their odd warts than of the death of their parent. By the way, in “The Long Prelude to the Night” there is both argumentative summary and aesthetic revelation (“I could tell you a life that would fit in a novel of difficult classification: sometimes dense, sometimes vain, at times slowed by certain manias of language”) and ethics (“nothing like the utopias of others – I sense – to unmask ours”). Aesthetics and ethics are in question. It is as if the author prepares the pages of why towards the second chapter.
Past and death, memory and loneliness form a novel of short syntax, where the fragmented notes or diary expands the fragmentary of existence. “Have I been plausible so far?” asks the narrator character and then answers, “Isn’t it that I intend to turn these annotations into a cult novel. Not even that the smallness of my life becomes aesthetic references for an entire generation.”
It defends itself entirely for many thoughtful moments and undeniable aesthetic and philosophical connotations. To do this, a writing body of revealed generic dependencies stands. Just Manso animates a narrative in which humor agrees with the existential. At one point it reads: “I ran and walked away so far, that then I did not know how to return”; in another: “To have enemies you have to have personality and that’s something our father never had.” Denial of fatherhood? Balance of how much did you leave? Who really was the one who couldn’t be chosen? In the later section (“Brief Notebooks of Why”) he intends to explain himself – speaking of himself in the third person – “Why does your father mistake you for a larvae, a coleopter, a failed experiment, a curse?”
Is this novel worth classifying? No, for now it should be read, even if one immediately notices that the existentialist character of The Sleepy Children of the Abyss is not of enormous pretensions. However, as we give more than that, Geovannys Manso gives us a being who, despite his human miseries, is able to examine himself to its end. Still, utopia does not want and cannot overcome the ironic – I almost write historically. Ω
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