Carlos Zanón, Taxi, 2017, 368 p.
«We need to talk», says Lola to her husband during breakfast. He responds that they will do it in the evening, once his shift on the taxi has finished. Sandino is a melancholic man who doubts if returning home as he fears that Lola, fed up with his infidelities, will leave him. He’s not sure if he would like that to happen, as he doesn’t know either if he likes being a taxi driver, if he’s able to love somebody, or if everything consists of continuing to roll and to hit, like a ball on a pool table called Barcelona.
During seven days and its six nights Sandino roams the streets and neighborhoods like a broken doll that runs away from itself, a predator that wanders aimlessly around, from place to place, always according to a customer’s wish, or due to boredom or to the occasion to cauterize the wound in the most carnal manner. And while this particular odyssee lasts, in his mind there mix and weave the stories of passengers, friends, and enemies, a tangle of memories and ghosts of the past that draw an existential map of his life, of the life of the city and of those who live there. Thus, maybe, in his escape to the nothing, Sandino is able to get free from his bandages, from his spurious loves, and from the surroundings that pinch him, to reach a place where he has never been.
The narrative force, the hynotic rhythm imbued with musical echos, and the psychological depth of Taxi represent a qualitative jump in Carlos Zanón’s work. The avatars of Sandino configure a unique characters that will remain in the memory of those who enjoy good literature.
Carlos Zanón (Barcelona, 1966) is poet, scriptwriter, columnist and literary critic. He published his first poems in the late 1980s and has published seven volumes so far, lauded by the critics. As a narrator, he debuted in 2008 with the novel Nadie ama a un hombre [Nobody loves a man]. After that he published Tarde, mal y nunca [Late, bad and never] (2009, Premio Brigada 21 for the best first crime novel of the year), No llames a casa [Don’t call at home] (2012, Premio Valencia Negra for the best crime novel of the year), Yo fui Johnny Thunders (2013, Premio Salamanca Negra 2014, Novelpol 2015 and Dashiell Hammett [?] 2015) and the story collection Marley estaba muerto (2015). His work has been translated and published in the USA , the Netherlands, France, Italy, and Germany.
During many years, Zanón made a living as a lawyer. During an interview a critic remarked that Zanón’s characters speak a Catalanized Spanish, which is meant to render authenticity. The chapters of Taxi bear the names of The Clash songs, a kind of soundtrack in the background. When asked for his favorite Barcelona novels, Zanón answered:
Francisco Casavella, El día del Watusi [Watusi’s day]
Juan Marsé, Últimas tardes con Teresa [The last afternoons with Teresa]
Lluís-Anton Baulenas, La felicitat [Happiness]
Miqui Otero, Rayos [Rays]
Carlos Zanón has got a website. In English there is available The Barcelona Brothers.
This blogger finds it attractive that there is a Clash soundtrack and that the protagonist of Taxi likes the Chilean writer Lina Meruane, author of Seeing Red.
SOURCE: Salamandra (publisher); author interview in “Babelia“, El País, Sept. 30, 2017, pp. 8-9.