Title: Historias de Aquí y de Allá
Writer: Luis Sepúlveda
Publication Date: Otra Orilla
Date of Publication: July 1st 2010
Rating: 5 stars
‘’I am the shadow of what we were, and while there is light we exist.’’
One of the most important writers of our times returns to Chile after 14 years of exile. In a country that is being reborn within the arms of democracy, following the nightmarish Pinochet dictatorship, we meet people that inspired and accompanied Sepúlveda, people that left their marks on his writings.
Sepúlveda takes us to an impossibly exciting flight to Patagonia. Along with a friend from Germany, he searches for the children that posed for a moving photo eight years ago and drinks to freedom in the birthday gathering of a former comrade. He paints an ode to the parks in Prague and Santiago and an elegy to the ones who fell, defending La Moneda. In Talagante, peaceful bakers sell their soul to the Devil and receive new recipes that result in extraordinary pastry creations. In Cartagena, an ATM ‘’robs’’ the writer on behalf of the Holy Roman Church. A young woman is practically sacrificed on the altar of money and fame, an illusionary ‘’escape’’ from the poverty of the barrios. An elderly man narrates stories of love.
The summer sun in Gijon warms the statue of Gaspar Garcia Laviana, a priest who fought and died for freedom. A writer born in a village in Asturias shows the life-changing love for reading. Sepúlveda contemplates on the futility of interviews and the decay that Literature faces in the hands of …journalists. He reminisces on the circumstances that led him to his French editor and the publishing of his first book. He lets us in the secret of a very particular dog, called Edward and the difficulties of working for television. He dedicates a story for a Chilean footballer who loved too much.
Luis Sepúlveda was taken from us. And the world of Literature has become darker…
‘’He often heard that wisdom comes with age, and he waited, trusting that this wisdom would bring him what he most wanted; that ability to guide his memories and not fall into the traps that they often set for him.’’