Ramifications by Daniel Saldaña París

Ramifications by Daniel Saldaña París

Mexician Fiction

Original title – El nervio principal

Translator – Christina MacSweeney

Source – personal copy

I’m rather late starting this month’s Spanish lit month well I have started with another Charco press book before I get to the week one book of a perfect cemetery. I have both the books that have been translated by Daniel Saldaña París into English which is the reason I decided it was time to read one of them. He has been in the list of the best Mexican writers that came out in 2017 and the Bogota 39 list of the best writers under forty from Latin America. He started with three poetry collections and then has written four novels two of which have been translated into English. This book follows one man looking back on his childhood as he is laid confined to a bed.

Teresa walked out one Tuesday around midday. I can’t remember exactly which month, but it must have been either the end of July or the beginning of August , because ,y siter and I were still on H=holiday. I always hated being left in the care of Mariana, who systematically ignored me for the whole day, barricaded in her bedroom with the music playing at a volume that even to me a boy of ten, seemed ridiculous. So that Tues, I resented it when, Mumgot up from the table after lunch and announcecd she was going out “look after your brother, Mariana”, she said in a flat voice , that was the way shegenerally spoke, with hardly any intonation, like a computer giving instructions or someone on qutismspectrum(Even mow, when no one else is around, I sometimes imitate her, and it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility that writing this is, in some form, an effort to find an echo of that monotone voice in the written world).

The opening lines and his mother walking out in 1994

This is a novel that our unnamed Narrator traces a man’s childhood as he tries to piece together what happened in his youth when his mother Teresa  just left him and his sister and father on a Tuesday. As our narrator tries to piece together the past.why his mother just left to join the Zapatistas and left them with a father who is distant a man that struggles to cope. Our narrator becomes obsessed with origami which he did to occupy time but also made him a quiet boy as his 10-year-old mind fills the gaps, but it also meant he grew into a quiet lonely man. So in the story, as he recalls this we question what we remember as now 32 he is laid in a bed the family bed that his father had passed away from a few years earlier. It is that he is sorting through his family’s papers as he learns some truths that have struck him down. he is unable to get out of bed. So he thinks of the time in 1994 when this all happened. It is a story of growing up with a huge void in one’s life but it also questions how we remember our lives when we are so young what do we recall is it colored by what we read and saw at the time. It is a book about coming of age amidst the chaos that was Mexico at the time when a man that is a reclusive soul looks back at what may be made him that way all the years ago.

My attempts at origami grew worse by the day, or at least that was my impression. Beforethe mastering the crane and the frog, I launched unto more complex figures. The result; unrecognisable lumps of paper that had been folded and unfolded too many times (Pper has that drawback; it’s made to remember all our errors, whether it’s when writing on it, as I do noe, or when folding and unfolding it, as I did then.)

His hobby shuts him of from the world but is maybe the way he remebers the past fold by fold but are they in the right order !

This is one of those books that hasn’t a lot of plot but a lot of how the world was for one small boy as the action flicks between the action of the past and the present it is a  book about what makes our memories of these timelines twist at times as we see how the present can ooze into the past. I enjoyed the pieces where he recalled the world cup in 1994 which I remember as at the time I was living in Germany as was visiting the Uk with my German partner at a time shortly after some of the events in the book when Bulgaria that had earlier played Mexico knocked out the germans. like is origami this is trying to fold the past into a swan or something without missing the folds memories fade and get blend with what we learn after them this is what we learn here. A story of a lonely boy as a lonely man piece together his past.

Winstons score – B A strong story of childhood recalled after the space left by a mother that has gone !

July 2021
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