words by Francisco López Sacha
One thinks the days of
a tree are all the same,
especially if it is an old tree.
No. One day of an old tree
is a day of the world.
I wouldn’t know how to start, I will only say that we are at the doors of a revelation, a procedure so impeccable and simple that turns into complex this book of quotes, texts, narrations, this space that grows between us with the poetic force of metaphor, allegory, parable and interrogation.
Lebensraum is not a book, but a summa. It is not even a summary of riddles, epigrams or small stories. It is a parable in the full sense of our lives, the concise and tight writing of almost every desire of a thinker, a complex artist who needs plenty of vital space to express himself.
Lebensraum is a call to simplicity and coherence, a method of conviction and texture, the crystallization level of a way of writing that can get to be a dialogue with many interlocutors at the same time: the possible reader, the one who is reading the book, the reader who lives inside the author, the one who will live and wait for it hoping for an answer.
I think that Jesus Lara materializes a dream in this volume in an honest conversation with himself and the others. At first he invites us in; he imposes us a thematic line, a sort of initial support to carry out an idea later, an action or an event, a process of determination that will end in anxiety, discovery or a new enigma. Sometimes the result is so incredible that puts us on hold as in a metaphysic doubt, similar to the waiting of Vladimiro and Estragon. The level of conversation is as elementary as the production of Esperando a Godot: a solitary tree, a yard, the illusion of two characters and someone that will come to give sense to their existence.
This adventure—this deceitful seduction of words—is the simplest and cleverest way to put us in, to participate with his voice and his style in a continuation, an attraction towards the artistic tracing of a mentioned problem, whether it is the completion of a story, the revelation of truth or the distressing creation of a problem. This waybill turns Lebensraum into a small pocket universe, something that can be read in one go with an urgent speed, or slowly, something that goes to the heart of hundreds of interrogations, something that is offered in diverse ways; the parable, the idea conceived and developed as an argument, the difficult analogical construction, the direct shot and to the center.
Any of the stories in this collection—organized in appearance as a hodgepodge, but really meditated and exhibited like a concert of random music—allows the reader—or the actors—to be placed in the center of the author’s concerns. By this I mean that any of the texts can be the thematic center of the volume and what we do with the reading is to go from one center of gravity to another. El mar en la cabeza or Mística del adelanto shows the imaginative capacity developed to the full within human subjectivity, as Soledades or Hambre—this last one is outlined as a masterpiece, a rare concision of poem, story and meditation—talks about the hard condition of living. The transit through these epigrams, mini-stories, monologues can be a fantastic reading inside a voice made of sparks, lightenings, associations, lines that always lead us to proximity or to the certainty of a truth. The method is a resource of proven efficiency, at least in Spanish: to lure us with a first well-oriented sentence, to create that feeling of ambiguity and intrigue later, and finally, strike to knock us out.
On top of it all, Lara resorts also to a hidden critic machine, to the indiscretion of an enviable humanistic culture. In a quiet and subtle way he talks about theater, Greek myths, the conflict of Uranus, the agon, the pathos, Strindberg’s craziness and Beckett’s loneliness, the minotaur of Crete transformed into a satyr, the count of sexual protection in a spiral elevator, the invisible snail of dreams, the music of Wagner or the unprecedented capacity of the narrator/author to smell the birth of a supernova.
Then we go from one topic to another, to one sense core to a storyline core, keeping the coherence of a method and the wisdom of writing. In this trip we move from one sense to the other, from one idea to the other, from a space that expands to another one that tightens. We have been traveling through the texts like the fantasies of a contortionist artist, who can widen or reduce his body according to the specific will of synthesis. Lebensraum grows in a rhizomatic mode; it comes back to itself, moves forwards, then goes back again and compresses that vital energy that allows to place its center everywhere, to change the topic, the construction or the style without affecting its structure, its keenness, its gravity.
I don’t know how much we owe to the will of the author or how much to chance. I insist again that once the path is discovered, the author can walk through it with full freedom, by using his multiple disguises he can ran, walk, stop, restart the march again because the mark of every text throughout the volume will be indelible.
All of Jesus Lara’s work is an incitement to break the encyclopedia and Lebensraum is much more because the conscious will of the author forces us to a dilemma, an alternative. This truth undresses the nature of an art that requires the reader’s special attention because his criteria should constantly change before each suggested remark. We are like that, willing prisoners of those ubiquitous looks the narrator, or the lyrical subject, throws at all the possible readers.
Of all the volumes written by Lara until this day, this one has a much nicer face, almost bright and which helps to a symmetric, ordered and rich in polemic shades reading. Only for a reading, not for its results, not for its deed and sometimes painful impact. Here I reserve my best praises for the audacity of criteria and the viewpoints taken by this narrator, this author that goes after and inside that dark and beautiful symbiosis of narration, essay and poetry. I maintain my opinion that they are possible thanks to the energetic charge and the revitalization of several registers at the same time, by that direct and parabolic writing while it is also new, daring and still original in its aesthetic presentations. Lara never forgets beauty, and that is perhaps his fundamental lesson.
In Turbulencias the author talks with the fish. It is an innocent act of great contained emotion because it invites us to think of mercy, in the all-inclusive aspects, in the necessary ability to love that we human beings have displayed towards any creature. Love, and only love, and it doesn’t matter if is for a stone, a cloud, the sky, the vastness of the sea, the air, the tree and its shade, the vital space that should grow in a syncope, a melody, those who are voiceless, the poets, whoever listens to us, the line of time, sinuous, several times mutating, to the surprise of living in a present that chases the past and the future.
Havana, April 1, 2016