For some years there has been a boom in Peru of anthologies based on the Tale, this is due to the proliferation of independent publishers that brought several young writers with them, also the digital contemporaneity makes easier to “get known” .
One of those books that made a simple but accurate marketing strategy (like other two past books of the same publishing house), taking advantage of the soccer fan of the time, like all the other trivial and nontrivial products that appear in commercials, is Selección Peruana 2000-2015 (Estruendomudo, 2015).
This book shows in the first instance the excuse of the anthology: each of the anthologized authors as album figures with their respective football positions. On the back cover is written with extreme transience a recount of what we will read inside.
Inside we will find three marked sections: “Warm up”, the tales and “Extra-times”.
In the prologue (a.k.a. “Warm-up”), the invitation made by the “technical director” Ricardo Sumalavia, aside from not being convincing, is repetitive with a section of the book called “supplementary”, besides not explaining why it should be each position as a player of each writer or why he necessarily chose those eleven. Perhaps what is closest to the concept of the book in the prologue is that final part that reads almost like an axiom depending on who reads it: “In literature writing a story is to gamble life”.
The sequence of the tales opens with In which Lazaro tells about the friendship he had with a blind story dealer and the misfortunes he lived by Carlos Yushimito, a Quixotic title too pretentious for a fable where the context does not fit.
In fact there are several pretentious tales (four in total) that revolve around an idea and sometimes do not finish closing them, Tales like those of Gabriela Wiener (A weekend with my death), Pedro Llosa Vélez (Exiles) and Dany Salvatierra (Essay for a farewell). Something similar happens with Jeremías Gamboa (The conquest of the world) where his narration is bearable, brushes the Vargaslosean style and complements it with his own skill, there is even a certain depth in the characters, but the rhythm is indistinct throughout the tale, it’s like a transition from one point to another without any change.
On the other hand among the tales with more work are The King is always above the town by Daniel Alarcón, Disobedience by Katya Adaui, Isaac by Sergio Galarza, Ice for Martians by Claudia Ulloa Donoso, A photo with Rocky Balboa by Francisco Ángeles and Máncora by Jorge Vargas Prado. The plots in these cases have been sustainable and variable in terms of the prolongation of the tales, there are even interesting turns, it highlights its depth and its rhythm. Several of them have been repeated reading even with greater pleasure.
After reading this section of stories, it is not known why they have been chosen and what relationship there is with a football team. In fact, the names of several anthologies could have been others and we would have the same question.
The section “Extra-time” is the most interesting section of the book. There we have a sort of interview that Sumalavia did to the anthologists. There are typical themes such as favorite writers, use of language and conception of characters. But there are also issues where the author tells about the post (and behind) writing. Each author tells the things that have happened to them and what they feel about the current activity of literature in Peru.
It is interesting the point of view of Yushimito and Adaui about of language, the first one says: “There is nothing more absurd than to hear a writer say: ‘In this book I have tried to work with language!'”, While the second declares: “Language is the largest organ of the book, the most vulnerable, the most willing to play, is the skin.” A whole ocean of difference. The other storytellers also give language a place on the scale of importance within a novel. The answers of Vargas Prado and Gamboa are what make understand the usefulness of language in a didactic and structural way.
“Extra-time” gives us a catalog of possibilities and ways to see the trade that a Peruvian author can have. Of course, none of them comes anywhere near the soccer theme.
As a culmination, in the book we have the lists of the authors that were mentioned when they were asked by their favorite writers followed by the number of mentions they have. A surprise. In fact, the best thing that the anthology has is in “Extra-time”.
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