07 June 2009

Ocampo: La cara en la palma & Los amantes

At this point, I'm trying to double up when I can in order to get through the remaining stories quickly. I would not normally link these two stories, though now that I have done so, I can say that they both serve as parables of romantic passion.

"La cara en la palma" translates to "The hand in the palm," and if you're mind immediately flits to Vampire Hunter D, you're on the right track. The writer of the letter always wears a glove on her left hand while in public, because she says she has a face on the palm of that hand. The hand often whispers dark things to the narrator, undermining her relationship with other people, especially her lover. (It is him that the letter that makes up this narrative is addressed.) They have broken up, but she may return to him. He'll know if she's decided to come back to him if the next time he sees her, she's happy but with her left hand gone before the elbow. Sort of a morbid reflection on relationships and psychic self-mutilation. It's left somewhat ambiguous. Would cutting off the hand be a good thing?

"Los amantes" is a more upbeat but perhaps more demented parable about relationships. A couple go out to a picnic and consume several delectable desserts. What stands out for this story is the sensual power with which Ocampo describes the consumption of the tasty treats in question, leaving little doubt as to what the feasting is a stand in for. Intimate, sensual, a little perverted even--what an odd little story.

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