The title seems like a bit of a macabre joke. As the story starts, there are people gathered together in a small building and some musicians readying their instruments, so it would appear that the story will feature some sort of festivities, including dancing. Instead it turns out that the people are there for the velorio (memorial) of a dead child. The royalist forces show up, so the men run and hide in the woods. The soldiers then rape the remaining women, until the men come back, attacking with knives. As the fight proceeds, the women pick up the weapons of the fallen men and join in the attack on the royalist forces.
Like "Alerta" this story involves rape and the death of a child, though it otherwise different. (I'm reminded of Lugones' use of the idea of converting sound into other forms of energy in two different stories in Strange Forces.) Again, maybe I'm just getting more into Lugones, but the stories seem to be getting somewhat better. I still feel that the stories lack much in the way of actual conflict, especially since this is the second story in a row where the guerilla fighters are placed on the defensive.
Strange Forces seemed to sacrifice dramatic impact for some rather heavy "tecnoparloteo" (a term I owe to Evelyn Leeper), but La Guerra Gaucha leaves me wishing Lugones got a little more into the technical, or at least practical, aspects of a force of gauchos waging guerilla warfare in the mountains of Salta province.
Donald Hall (1928-2018)
3 weeks ago