Intertwined Worlds: A Journey through Books, Identity, and Empathy

Intertwined Worlds: A Journey through Books, Identity, and Empathy

Lucio is 50 years old, he works in the maintenance of a wind farm in the Moroccan city of Fez, surrounded by robotic arms. He does not speak Arabic, he does not have valuable relationships beyond a bookseller, Azucena Gualdabar, who runs a bookstore where he is dedicated to selling books that are collages from other books. Lucio is a “reverse” migrant in a dystopian and utopian city at the same time where those who have less, read. The Internet has become a bunch of ruinous non-places, with links that don’t work like dead alleys. Nobody writes anymore, everyone copy-pastea. So sometimes the books can be read like someone who reads the tarot, and sometimes like the I Ching, but above all they are doors… to where? Towards ourselves and others. So when Azucena gives Lucio three works copy-pasted very mysterious, whose plots are inexplicably intertwined, Lucio is no longer simply a precarious migrant who spends his salary on joints in a spiral of poverty and infinite lethargy, but also, and as the stories progress, he is the repository of something eternal. Then, the windmills are no longer windmills, nor giants like the ones Don Quixote thought he saw, but dancing dervishes.. And the books are no longer books, but magical sigils. Seals. Mirrors. Bodies. The only thing to hold on to when we are so alone and lost that we feel like foreigners in our own skin.

A wild, poetic and political exercise in empathy; a meditation on reading to read(yourself) and read the world, and in reality a damned esoteric and beautiful book, that’s right From the black light (Aristas Martínez, 2023), the latest and very special novel by the Barcelona native Manuela Buriel. A work that, in a somewhat mediocre way on my part, could be described as The Neverending Story meets Foucault’s Pendulum meets El Aleph by Borges meets The thousand and one nights meets Burroughs, and all linked through Sufi mysticism and spirituality. But it is also a reworking of the story of Marsha P. Johnson, the African-American trans activist who lit the Stonewall flameand a fable about memory and sometimes imposed identity, about dreaming the dreams of others, literature as a form of penetration or erotic fog, and an infinite source of radical ideas:

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“Just as we pay attention to dreams because they come from within, we could do the same with vomit,” writes Buriel. And also: “A book that is not being read is as if it were outside our universe. Like an eternal and inconceivable object. Just like a still river. Instead, those markers between its pages give it meaning, a temporal current.”

Buriel’s previous novels The Dancing y Fierce animalsin addition to those written as part of Colectivo Juan de Madre (The unusual meeting of the nine Ricardo Zacarías, New mInd y The barber and the superman), have made her stand out as one of the most prominent writers of that other Barcelona literature that does not need marquees on Paseo de Gracia to be read, invisibly visible, political because it has no agenda other than its own concerns that, being Manuela Buriel who it is, they are usually those of a part of society that is more underground than underground. But the light, although black, shines. And damn if she does.


Author: Manuela Buriel. Title: From the black light. Editorial: Arista Martínez. Sale: Todostuslibros, Amazon, Fnac y House of the book.

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2023-09-22 04:28:28
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