Loser's Guide to Life
I have been reading an extraordinary book by Antonio Muñoz Molina, En Ausencia de Blanca. It's a short novella, the moment described in the first and last chapters—the replacement of the narrator's wife by a woman who resembles her exactly, yet cannot really be her—spans an explanation of how this situation came to be. The narrator sees Blanca, his wife, as a person with social and artistic ambitions. The narrator, because of his origin and upbringing, is cautious and grateful for the very modest success that he has had. The result of this conflict has been to cause Blanca to appear to be “Not Blanca” by contrast.
I should say the review of the translation in the Washington Post by Brigitte Weeks is pretty much crap. The narrator is not “aggressively dull”; he's not aggressively anything, which is important. Nor is he, in the book I read at least, an “increasingly disturbed human being”. It's all one quick view of a situation and the reader can take it as he likes, yet it's a bit of a stretch (and a boring one) to see it as pure delusion.
You can read more by and about Molina in El País here.
Labels: Aggressively Dull Critics