A Brief Life

A Brief Life

by Juan Carlos Onetti

In A Brief Life, Juan Carlos Onetti's protagonist, Brausen, is caring for his wife after a long illness.

He leads many lives, some real and some fantastic, in order to experience a moment of psychic weightness.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Fiction
  • Rating: 3.82
  • Pages: 300
  • Publish Date: February 15th 1993 by Serpent's Tail
  • Isbn10: 1852423013
  • Isbn13: 9781852423018

Read the Book "A Brief Life" Online

Esta novela descolla en originalidad, en primer lugar, porque Onetti crea la ciudad ficticia de Santa María, la tercera más reconocida en la literatura luego de Macondo, creada por Gabriel García Márquez, para su inmortal Cien años de soledad y para varios de sus cuentos; así también como es el caso de Yoknapatawpha, ese condado de Mississippi en el que transcurren varias de las novelas del gran autor norteamericano William Faulkner. Es tanto su desconcierto desde que crea esta ciudad, que los personajes que da a luz, como el doctor Díaz Grey se transforma en una especie de su alter ego, de la misma manera que sucede con Gertrudis con Elena Sala, la esposa del doctor creado en la ficción, a punto tal que Brausen decide cruzar ese umbral para transitar él mismo las calles de Santa María especialmente al final de la novela cuando ambas realidades se funden en una.

Si parte da un centro, per intenderci, dove si punta il compasso, e lì c'é Brausen, pubblicitario a rischio di licenziamento con moglie malata e sottoposta ad 'ablazione del seno', in una Buenos Aires torrida di palazzoni, di piccoli appartamenti di un'unica stanza, divisi da sottili pareti che nulla nascondono all'orecchio, di serate alcoliche, di donne a pagamento innamorate, di mogli non più amate e partite, di un io senza più riferimenti che si dissolve, che si rende conto di non essere mai esistito, di non essere stato scelto ma solo accettato, che dorme accanto ad una moglie considerata oramai solo come argine alla propria solitudine.

Misogyny as a postmodernist literary device. You read one postmodernist Latin American novel where the main character murders a woman to achieve transcendence and its like youve read them all. Ah, misogyny, yeah, no, well keep that, ok, thanks, bye.

Fu tra questo periodo e il periodo seguente che mi venne in mente, vaga, senza echi, ricorrente, sempre superficiale come un capriccio di primavera, l'idea di ucciderla.

Un libro volutamente oscuro che, pagina dopo pagina, procedendo per accumulazioni successive, si accresce come una valanga che rotola verso valle.

Dal pericolo di pazzia scaturirà un principio di pace e accettazione, la confessione d'esser morto di una vita e di reincarnarsi in altre, mantenendo inevitabilmente la stessa anima.

Onetti escribe como si lo hiciera su fantasma.

The parallel between the main characters attempts and Onettis own is very close, and so the novel is modernist in the sense that it is clear Onetti himself doesnt like to think much about real tragedy, unless it is delivered as a question of imagination. There are issues in Onetti, to do with the narrator's and author's sexism and limited empathy. Normally they would not present an problem for me: I don't expect morality from fiction; I don't expect fiction to make me better, or make the world better, or tell the truth about anything in particular (as de Botton does); I haven't avoided Celine (the anti-Semite), Sade, Stokoe (his novel "Cows," which I won't describe here), or even Schreber (the psychotic patient of Freud's). Another thing: there are moments of tremendous cruelty in this book, which are, I think, partly unnoticed by Onetti's narrator and by the implied author. But I also do not read novels to learn anything about the world, and I think most readers do. So I'm especially unlikely, I think, to dislike a novel because it isn't informing me reliably about the world. One reason to judge an author like Onetti negatively may be that what matters in fiction is what is compelling, persuasive, well represented. There is a problem, in Onetti's work, in the narrator's self-awareness. It's a disappointment when an author posits self-awareness as a value, but lacks it in ways that she would clearly not be happy with if they were pointed out. The author's blindnesses are not the sort that postmodern authors and readers like to agree are potentially interesting values. But there is a taste involved: postmodern literary critics have preferences for certain kinds of problems with self-awareness. There are ways that readers become aware of the sufficiency, the adequacy, of the writer's imagination.

Me pasa a menudo cuando leo que encuentro alguna forma agradable en la escritura y la diseco, la separo, la analizo y termino por detenerme, conforme, cuando siento que soy ya capaz de imitar el estilo o repeoducir esa clase de comparación, metáfora o cualquiera sea el recurso. Soy neófita como lectora de Onetti y debo decir cada comparación no puede más que ser descrita como perfecta.

Juan Carlos Onetti (July 1, 1909, Montevideo May 30, 1994, Madrid) was an Uruguayan novelist and author of short stories. Onetti left his native country (and his much-loved city of Montevideo) after being imprisoned for 6 months in Colonia Etchepare, a mental institution. A long list of world-famous writers -including Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa and Mario Benedetti - signed open letters addressed to the military government of Uruguay, which was unaware of the talented (and completely harmless) writer it had imprisoned and humiliated.