A prolific author and member of the Royal Spanish Academy, Luis Mateo Díez (Villablino, Leon, 1942; Wikipedia) recently published La soledad de los perdidos [The lost ones’ solitude], the title’s somberness very much in line with other books of his, e.g. El fulgor de la pobreza [The glare of poverty, 2005], La piedra en el corazón [The stone in the heart, 2006], or Pájaro sin vuelo [Bird without flight, 2011].
The publisher introduces La soledad de los perdidos as follows:
«There is a city where I move without being able to feel my steps. There is no schedule. The night is embedded in a kind of eternity that petrifies the fog. It is a city that could be destroyed shortly after its foundation, and noboby was interested in rebuilding it. Its antiquity has got nothing to do with time. It’s like the original weight of a mere disappearance. Now the fog justifies an extinguished memory.»
For 15 years Ambrosio Leda has lived hiding in Balma, the city of shadow, where the postwar era is an immobilized time that keeps those who live there captured by disgrace and remorse. The purification that was ordered after the war obliged him to flee his home and condemned him to roam through the city, from sundown to the morning, looking for subsistence. His nights are full of events, encounters and revelations that make his journey, the mirror of his destiny, both surprising and risky.
All is possible within the this desolate city’s fog and darkness: nonsensical requirements, mysterious adventures, voices that articulate anonymous conversations that seem to dilute. La soledad de los perdidos is a sleepwalking and grotesque incursion to the solitude and loss of those who, after the tragedy of a tragic century, saw themselves thrown into the abyss of history.
After the literary cycle dedicated to Celama, the so personal and secret world of Luis Mateo Díez, held up by a powerful and inimitable writing, reaches in this novel the limit of its force, complexity and beauty, and presents us with the heartbeat full of pathos, endearing and humorous, of some unforgettable characters.
The critics seem to like it, but it does not sound like fun reading…
SOURCE: Alfaguara (the publisher)