Delights at the 2023 Book Fair

Inventing a world is the talent of the literary writer; fill it with events limited to his imagination; inhabit it with scenarios, conflicts and characters to which the reader is linked as if they were real; play with his words to fully capture the reader’s attention and if he succeeds, win the game.

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The Bible says that we were created in the divine image and likeness. I once asked the poet Álvaro Mutis that, if this statement were true, which of all human ingenuities, in the dimension of art, would be, in his opinion, the one that best fits that postulate of Genesis.

Sympathetically, he counter-questioned my opinion. Without hesitation I told him that the art of writers. He did not agree. He chose the musicians, who only with the immediacy of sound and without the intermediation of words know and can make the soul of those who listen to them vibrate.

I maintain my opinion and I confirm it when I enjoy the richness of those who have this talented ability to involve me as a reader of their stories.

I maintain my opinion and I confirm it when I enjoy the richness of those who have this talented ability to involve me as a reader of their stories.

In Filbo, the latest work by Héctor Abad Faciolince stood out, in which the kind priest Luis Córdoba and his heart are the main protagonists. Every time he was asked about his state of mind, he responded with the last sentence of the sonnet with a caveatby the poet Eduardo Carranza: except my hearteverything is fine, title of the novel, edited by Alfaguara.

El Gordo, as his closest friends call him, is faithful to “the mysteries of friendship.” He wants to be loved as a father, a man, and a husband. With love, art, sadness and joy, he fervently preaches Christianity. He declares that he has the cinema as his spouse and the opera as the lover who led him to sell his own blood in order to buy theater tickets in Vienna.

Inspired by a real priest, he is a literary character that remains alive in the reader’s memory. His life takes place above all in Medellín, with real and fictional co-stars.

The encounter between a child, an atheist, and Lalo, his great priest friend, is surprising. They have a conversation about the existence of God.

The final homily is of a peculiar spirituality in defense of people who come together to live under the same roof and thus become families. “Coming together not to suffer, but to reduce fragility, and, if possible, increase happiness.”

A coincidence produces a certain chill. The author, while writing this novel starring the heart “that place where body and soul converge”, underwent surgery, fortunately successfully, on his own.

Also in the Filbo was The goalkeeper’s whistle (Random House 2015), an illuminated short novel that denotes the passion that the award-winning Spanish novelist Irene Vallejo has for the classics.

With his careful poetic prose –well known in his successful work infinity in a reed–, the author walks the reader through Troy, Carthage and Rome. She shows a moment of humanity in which myths and adventures meet with wars, power and an impossible romance.

Aeneas and Queen Elisa of Carthage, called Dido in Purcell’s baroque opera, appear, whom Eros wounds with his arrow. Virgil, who, with his invincible epic spirit, is commissioned by Augustus to immortalize Rome. Death, torture and defeats. The heroic protagonist of the Aeneid says goodbye: “I ascend the steps of the wind to my home in lazy eternity.”

Ana María Matute’s statement about the victories that are neither glorious nor remembered and the defeats that become legends become victories is worth it.


(Read all the columns by Martha Senn in EL TIEMPO, here)

Delights at the 2023 Book Fair