Cosas Que Leo #181: A RUMOR OF WAR, Philip Caputo

“But the manner of dying no longer mattered. I didn’t care how death came as long as it came quickly and painlessly. I would die as casually as a beetle is crushed under a boot heel, and perhaps it was the recognition of my insect-like pettiness that had made me stop caring. I was a beetle. We were all beetles, scratching for survival in the wilderness. Those who had lost the struggle had not changed anything by dying. The deaths of Levy, Simpson, Sullivan, and the others had not made any difference. Thousands of people died each week in the war, and the sum of all their deaths did not make any difference. The war went on without them, and as it went on without them, so would go on without me. My death would not alter a thing. Walking down the trail, I could not remember having felt an emotion more sublime or liberating than that indifference toward my own death.”

A rumor of war

PHILIP CAPUTO

Picador, 1996 (publicado originalmente en 1977)

356 págs.

NAM de Mark Baker: ultrafavorito ya a la venta (con prólogo de Kiko Amat)

Contra Editorial acaba de publicar mi libro favoritísimo sobre la guerra de Vietnam, Nam: la guerra de Vietnam en palabras de los hombres y mujeres que lucharon en ella, de Mark Baker. Sí, me gusta aún más que el Despachos de guerra de Michael Herr (aunque los dos libros se complementan, y el de Herr siempre me ha encantado, claro).

Cómprenlo de inmediato. Es alucinante. Una de las más grandes historias orales jamás escritas.

La felicidad por su publicación en españa se triplica, queridos lectores, pues la editorial (sabiendo de mi fanatismo implacable) me encargó un prólogo introductorio para la obra (que me quedó rebién) y, no contentos con ello, decidieron incluir una cita mía en la que desde ahora en adelante voy a llamar LA TRÍADA DE ARTISTAS MÁS HONORABLE EN LA QUE VOY A ESTAR INCLUIDO PARA SIEMPRE JAMÁS:

«Aquí está la catastrófica tragedia que fue nuestra
intervención en Vietnam. Es imposible describir
el poder de este libro, pero te prometo que será
una de las lecturas más memorables de tu vida. No
puedo recomendarlo con mayor fervor.»
Harry Crews

«Nam fue un libro importante para mí, no solo
porque fue donde me topé por primera vez con la
palabra “fugazi”, sino también porque retrataba
vívidamente las experiencias de las personas involucradas
en ese desastre de guerra… perdón,
“acción militar”.»
Ian MacKaye (Fugazi / Minor Threat)

«Una obra tan dura como sublime, construida con
las voces reales de los chicos y chicas que combatieron
allí —voces jóvenes, violentas, aterradas,
rocanroleras—, que llenará al lector de ira, compasión
y un fiero orgullo de clase.»
Kiko Amat

Cosas Que Leo #3: THE SORROW OF WAR, Bao Ninh

Bao

“Kien read and re-read the letter. His hands trembled, tears blurred his eyes. Can was no more. The military police had found his rotten corpse. Only his skeleton was complete, like that of a frog thrown into a mudpatch. Crows had pecked away Can’s face; his mouth was full of mud and rotting leaves.

‘That damned turncoat, he really stank,’ said the military policeman who had buried Can.

His eye-sockets were hollow, like trenches. in that short time moss and slime had already grown over him. The MP had gagged, spitting at the memory.

No one spoke of Can again. No one bothered to find out why he had died, whether he was killed, or had just exhausted himself in the jungle, or whether he’d committed suicide. No one accused him, either.

The name, age and image of someone who’d been every bit as brave under fire as his comrades, who had set a fine example, suddenly disappeared without trace.

Except within the mind of Kien. Can’s image haunted him every night, returning during the night to whisper to him by his hammock, repeating the final, gloomy lines he’d spoken by the stream. The whisper would turn to a suffocating gasp, like the sound of water blocking the throat of a drowning man.

‘…my soul swims away from my body…’

Kien recalled Can’s voice. And each time Kien knelt in prayer before the platoon’s altar to the war martyrs Kien would whisper a word for Can’s soul, the soul of a mate who had died in humiliation, uncared for and misunderstood, even by Kien”.

The sorrow of war

BAO NINH

Vintage Classics 1998 (originalmente publicado por Martin Secker & Warburg, 1993. Publicado en España como El dolor de la guerra, Ediciones B, 2005)

227 págs.

Versión inglesa de Frank Palmos, de la traducción original del autor.

Kiko Amat entrevista a TIM O’BRIEN

Me gusta entrevistar a mis héroes y mis betters. Tim O’Brien es uno de mis escritores y bípedos vivos favoritos. Esta entrevista la hice hace nada con ocasión de la traducción española de Persiguiendo a Cacciato (Contra, 2017), otro de mis libros de cabecera. Vietnam (y lo que hacen los hombres en tiempo de guerra) es otra obsesión mía, así que todo encaja de perlas.

Pueden leerla en Babelia de El País. Escribir esto, y charlar con O’Brien, fue uno de los placeres del año 2017. Oh, claro: en este link.