These last two stories of the Buzon de tiempo section actually break with the format of letters from one individual to another. The first is the transcript of two voice mails left on an answering machine. (The title translates as "Answering Machine.") The messages are both from the voice (probably a ghost) of a man who was tortured by the man to whom he is leaving the messages. (The two messages are there because the machine appears to limit the time for any individual message.) Here, again, is the theme of coming to terms with the dictatorships of the 20th Century. Admittedly, except for the format, there's not really much here that hasn't already shown up earlier. (Aa in "El diecinueve.")
"Testamento" also falls back on some themes that have been pretty prevalent throughout the collection; the bittersweet acceptance of death. This document is a last will and testament, and the format does allow for a new variation on this already familiar theme, as the narrator switches between concrete and intangible items in coming to terms with his life.
Donald Hall (1928-2018)
3 weeks ago