#AMREADING CESAR AIRA, DINNER. PIVOTING BETWEEN THE REAL AND THE FANTASTIC.
A novella of the absurd and yet familiar.
My parents used to pass evenings reminiscing about the early years of their marriage. Their talk consisted of a string of names loosely connected by events – like this:
The daughter of…what was her name? Miganne, who lived in front of Cabanillas’ office…the Cabanillas who married Artola’s daughter. And my mother continued in this vein. Each name was a knot of meaning into which many other chains of names converged.
My parents had no use for antiques or objets d’art – they were just second-hand stuff.
Mother found them inexplicable, useless, and therefore unwholesome.
The narrator is a failure in his own eyes:
Unemployment, the anachronistic relationship between a sixty-year-old man living with his mother, my long-since confirmed bachelorhood, all of it had enveloped me in the typical melancholy of dead days.
But his mother blames it on the environment:
If anything bad had happened to me, the fault lay in those degenerate and evil others who surrounded us. But she also didn’t admit that anything bad had happened to me: I was just fine where I was, things in my life had turned out well and would get even better in the future. In short, a complete denial of reality was in play.
He intends to ask a friend to finance his next venture, but it would do no good to explain his hopeless situation. It was better to let him experience it. There are things that are impossible not to understand if you experience them, or at least if you inhale their atmosphere, because then, even if you don’t grasp them with your understanding, you grasp them with your being and you register them deeply.
But this is an absurd story, and so there can be no understanding.