Parable of the shepherd who dreamed of fleas

The reader with listening skills will perceive the suggestive echo of the parabolic tale from the first lines of this book, a sonority projected throughout the story in the voice of Uncle Isho, a character whose presence at the beginning and at the end contributes to evidencing the circular course of life learning. It is a text with an explicit instructive intention, designed for a reader in the formative phase who will undoubtedly reach the moral.

Apart from the intention, we said to reinforce its quality as a parable, there is a euphony that marks the pulse and cadence of the text, a key that reveals the craft of writing, especially within the poetic field. Cósimo Mandrillo is a poet, essayist and specialist in children’s and youth fiction, so this work becomes a kind of creative crossroads.

‘Conspiracy in the market’ condenses the intrepid adventure of Taluha, a teenager from the Wayuu ethnic group, during his first and perhaps only foray into the world of the ‘alijunas’, that is, the world that takes place outside the original culture of The Guajira. This baptismal “tour” of recognition of the protagonist will resonate evocatively in the minds of the readers of Don Quixote -respecting the distance with the Cervantine reference-, such is its symbolic geographical journey through a relatively small perimeter but notably transforming personality.

And the fact is that if there were any point on the planet where two such dissimilar worlds could alternate, it would have to be the one that mediates between the populous city of Maracaibo and the peninsular land, a border in turn between two nations, a territory where their races meet. they resist the natural process of integration, wary of each other through the centuries.

We speak of extrapolated cultures: one reaffirmed in its original purity, another vindicating its diversity; the one self-sufficient in its simplicity, the other proud of its distinctive chaos. Why should a noble individual of the former be lured away by the illusory promises of the latter? It is just what this story recreates.

Taluha will cruelly suffer her bad fate, and through her we will understand what governs the waves of newcomers, “children torn from La Guajira, their homes and their families to take them with false promises to Maracaibo. Once there, they live in terrible conditions, forced to carry out any order they are given and to put themselves, frequently, outside the law”.

The narration will then drift towards the exposure of this criminal activity, flourished in the harsh shadows of an isolated city. As in the repeated opening of some Chinese boxes, this underworld springs from another, vast and sovereign, the realm of commercial permutation, already alluded to by the title of the book, the so-called “Mercado de las Flegas” in the capital of Zulia, an area where they operate. in turn new races, equally obstinate, but cruel and vindictive. Perhaps tempted by the exuberance of that treacherous environment, the descriptive focus of ‘Conspiracy in the market’ is slightly adjusted, concurring on the trail of victims and perpetrators, an abbreviated spectrum of characters that end up substantiating the least fictionalized part of the book.

The curve of Taluha’s adventure grows progressively over the last third of the work, in whose description the author reveals his knowledge not only of the confines where the events take place but also of the spirituality of a people for whom he feels respect and sympathy. .

Edited by Monte Ávila Latinoamericana, ‘Conspiracy in the market’ can be downloaded for free here.

Parable of the shepherd who dreamed of fleas – Últimas Noticias