“The further irony of all this was that in spite of her, he had turned out so well. In spite of going to only a third-rate college, he had, on his own initiative, come out with a first-rate education; in spite of growing up dominated by a small mind, he had ended up with a large one; in spite of all her foolish views, he was free of prejudice and unafraid to face facts. Most miraculous of all, instead of being blinded by love for her as she was for him, he had cut himself emotionally free of her and could see her with complete objectivity. He was not dominated by his mother.”
“O’Connor might have believed that the violence in [The violent bear it away] forced her characters to accept the reality in their lives, but more than that, it prepared them to accept moments of grace. In a territory ruled by the Devil, the use of violence might be the only way to seek and find the Kingdom of God.”
Flannery O’Connor and Robert Giroux; a publishing partnership
“One of the most common and saddest spectacles is that of a person of really fine sensibility and acute psychological perception trying to write fiction by using these qualities alone. This type of writer will put down one intensely emotional or keenly perceptive sentence after the other, and the result will be complete dullness. The fact is that the materials of the fiction writer are the humblest. Fiction is about everything human and we are made out of dust, and if you scorn getting yourself dusty, then you shouldn’t try to write fiction. It’s not a grand enough job for you.”
Mystery & manners
Faber & Faber 2014 (publicado originalmente en 1962)
**** El mejor libro sobre el oficio de escribir que he leído jamás. Si se leen esto + el Mientras escribo de Stephen King + las primeras diez páginas del Viure escrivint de Anne Dillard + The Elements of style de Strunk & White (un favorito de Vonnegut) ya tienen todas las directrices necesarias para empezar con esto. Solo les faltará, naturalmente, el DON.
**** Este libro será publicado en un futuro no muy lejano por la editorial catalana L’Altra.
La colección de cuentos es espectacular y vuela sola, pero conviene apuntar que Claire Vaye Watkins es hija de Paul Watkins, miembro «majo» (ejem) de la Familia Manson. Por lo que decía Dovlátov del exotismo del material biográfico, y eso.
Hablando de listas oficiales, en pocos días publicaré un videillo con mi lista alternativísima de los grandes libros del 2019, los que me encantaron y, como cada año, echo de menos del canon serio, o modesco y modoso, de la crítica institucional y prensa cultural.