Show off from the other

By: Daniel Céspedes Góngora


About the novel Don’t Ask Me When, by Arturo Arango

Having a main character and almost its entire journey would mean much more than half of a story’s content. But reading can motivate nonconformities, especially when the writing is not of your authorship. Of course, you’d write it your way, change the structure a little, and polish the writing better. Deep down, when they demand it, they know you can.
The foreign text that you are given and appropriated, you could value it before possible changes. Should it be affected if it has a successful atmosphere and course? Starting not only from a writing but narrative gain that underpins a story, you need to dock. Coupling does not mean obedience but attention.
Integrating your voice into a story that you did not begin involves listening to each other’s and, if something were missing, it would then be dialogue with the text to prolong it with attention and whims or using it as a pretext. Isn’t that what Miguel de Unamuno proposed with his Life of Don Quixote and Sancho from the Cervantine work? Saving the distances, isn’t that what Arturo Arango does now with the loose leaves of a novel project by Ernesto Camilo Miranda Bastarrechea? But he was asked face to face. But who denies that Unamuno did not do it with Cervantes by re-ousting The ingenious hidalgo Don Quixote de la Mancha?
Now, isn’t Ernesto himself an invention to advance Arturo Arango’s recent authorial proposal: Don’t ask me when (Ediciones Matanzas, 2018)? Let’s suspect it, why not?

“It’s also not about throwing away the pile of written leaves and starting over. If I do, instead of entertaining myself with the life of Ernesto Camilo Miranda Bastarrechea, I would end up getting bored of writing over and over and over again what I know at the dedillo. Anyway, just in case, these days I’m going to go back. Let’s imagine that I’m building a bridge and already when I walk for a third of the route I realize that a couple more columns are needed. I put them here.”

Arturo Arango
Arturo Arango

Place columns like raccord? between past and present to interest the left in Cuba with what is intended to conquer in Mexico. Almost the whole story should not be invented here as the teacher/narrator warns of the advice of his student and friend Mario Van de Weyer in George Santayana’s The Last Puritan. It’s more about becoming the other to (re)count it in the third person. Approaching the protagonist’s autobiographical experiences and, at one time, trying to distance himself from them, are various purposes of the narrator of Don’t ask me when.
Actor and survivor in a story about emigration? Maybe not, because Ernesto Camilo’s time is briefly enscayed in Mexico. Does it matter how long your stay will last there? Of course. She influences but does not determine the incidents presented to him, many of which are caused or examined by his vocation. He: Narrator/Ernesto/Arturo persuades us with his day-to-day life. Thus we move forward to know if any spiritual territory intends to reach.
Don’t ask me when it’s also a book that intimates with the anxiety of the act of writing. Dissecting the other and dissecting himself, the rapporteur character fluctuates between the validity and fiasco of plausible fiction. Not that we locate an exclusive and dry affection with the fictional. However, it tends to dominate when the supremacy of reality is presented to us as it is: precarious, strange and replaced. We saw that request coming that, at the right time, seems and is a care for survival: to teach to act, which is also to represent what you are not. Simulate and lie to breastfeed because the first thing is done, while the latter is said, whether in Cuba, Mexico and wherever there is no choice. Ω

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