From here, we move to the last section, which works off a seasonal motif. The first story is "Primaveras de otros" (Other people's springs), which is about a man living a hermit-like wandering experience. He has been driven to solitude by despair over all the terrible things happening in the world, which have robbed life of meaning. As he watches a couple make love on a beach, he finds new meaning in life and calls the wife he left behind. I have to admit at this point, my feelings are a bit torn. Benedetti is returning to the theme of solitude and alienation, and I'm not sure the new variation on it adds anything new. While it can be fascinating to see an author work on a theme from multiple angles, this one bordered on cliche. (Both for the world-weariness of the narrator and the lovemaking as epiphany moment.)
"Nubes de verano" is the story of fifteen-year-old boy left alone with his cousin, while his parents go away for a weekend. Since he has little to do, he spends a lot of time thinking about his life and writing in his diary. His sister killed herself several years ago, and he has been unable to cry since then. He wonders what this says about him, if other people find him strange. He sits down to watch television, flips through channels. As he gets to an ad for aid, which features an African boy suffering from malnutrition, he begins to cry. Though the ending here also borders on cliche, I think it was stronger than the former story. For one, the cloud/rainstorm imagery as stand-in for emotional build-up/release is pretty effective. For another, the protagonist's dilemma feels a little more genuine.
Donald Hall (1928-2018)
3 weeks ago