The One Before

Juan José Saer

SHORT STORIES. SEIX BARRAL, 2006. 188 PÁGINAS.

"What can you expect of a man who takes naps? Nothing but a stream of dense, raw fragments. The world might well shine brightly within them, if the world is capable of shining brightly." Thus ends the Carta a la vidente (Letter to a Clairvoyant), the tale that ends this essential book by Juan José Saer, first published in 1976. These words, taken out of context, are a worthy description of the stories in La mayor (The One Before).

Luminous fragments, snippets of life, flashes of amazement; the tiniest experience captured with rigorous fidelity in dense language that makes things and men strange, as if captured by a hidden camera, recording the darkness and splendour of the world.

"Others, them, they could before. They dipped, slowly, in the kitchen, at sunset, in winter, a cookie, soaking it and raising, then, their hand in a single movement, to their mouths, they bit and let, for a moment, the sugared pastry lie on the tip of their tongue so that its memory would dissolve there, like the dew..." writes Saer.

The Eldest presents a style that reinvents reality and is reinvented by it, writing that defies the laws of memory and recall which has been hailed by the critics as one of the valuable and innovative contributions to contemporary Spanish literature.

PUBLISHED BY: Latin America SEIX BARRAL | USA & UK OPEN LETTER

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