Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Insufferable Gaucho

Nasao sam pricu Roberta Bolanja konacno i na netu - izasla je u New Yorkeru, taman posto sam spomenuo da hocu da citam "Divlje Detektive" . Procitajte ovde odlomak , pa klik na celu pricu (prevod sa spanskog). Radi se uglavnom o argentinskoj recesiji, sjajno pripovedanoj.

The Insufferable Gaucho
(slika: New Yorker)
In the opinion of those who knew him well, Héctor Pereda had two outstanding virtues: he was a caring and affectionate father and an irreproachable lawyer with a record of honesty, in a time and place that were hardly conducive to such rectitude. As evidence of the first virtue, his son and daughter, Bebe and Cuca, whose childhood and adolescent years had been happy, later accused him of having sheltered them from the hard realities of life, focussing particularly on his handling of practical matters. Of his work as a lawyer, there is little to be said. He prospered and made more friends than enemies, which was no mean feat, and when he had the choice between becoming a judge or a candidate for a political party he chose the bench without hesitation, although it obviously meant passing up the opportunities for greater financial gain that would have been open to him in politics.

After three years, however, disappointed by his judicial career, he gave up public life and spent some time, perhaps even years, reading and travelling. Naturally, there was also a Mrs. Pereda, née Hirschmann, with whom the lawyer was, as they say, madly in love. There are photos from that era to prove it: in one of them, Pereda, in a black suit, is dancing a tango with a blond woman, almost platinum blond, who is looking at the camera and smiling while the lawyer’s eyes remain fixed on her, like the eyes of a sleepwalker or a lamb. Unfortunately, Mrs. Pereda died suddenly, when Cuca was five and Bebe was seven. The young widower never remarried, although there were various women in his social circle with whom he was known to be on friendly (never intimate) terms, and who, moreover, had all the qualities required to become the new Mrs. Pereda.

When the lawyer’s two or three close friends asked him why he remained single, his response was always that he didn’t want to impose the unbearable burden (as he put it) of a stepmother on his offspring. In Pereda’s opinion, most of Argentina’s recent problems could be traced to the figure of the stepmother. We never had a mother, as a nation, he would say; or, she was never there; or, she left us on the doorstep of the orphanage. But we’ve had plenty of stepmothers, all sorts, starting with the great Peronist stepmother. And he would conclude: Of all the countries in Latin America, we’re the experts on stepmothers.

Dalje iz New Yorkera


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