22 June 2009

Ocampo: Paradela & Keif

So, we come to the last two stories in the anthology, both of which incorporate fantasy elements. Paradela is the name of a furniture salesman who helps the narrator's cousin with furnishing a house she has bought. There is a fair amount of humor in the interaction between Paradela, who seems like something of a Porteño-type, and the cousin, who is something more of a humorless society woman. The odd events take place when Paradela comes into contact with furniture, although this is only revealed with two different pieces. One is an antique bed where a Russian prince died. When Paradela lies down on it, he begins to get weaker and appears to be dying himself. The other is a simple-looking piano bench which was once owned by Gardel, and which allows Paradela to sing like Gardel when he is sitting or kneeling on it. It's overall an amusing story, though lacking much in the way of punch.

The second story, Keif, is a little subtler in its use of fantastic elements, and more somber. Keif is the name of a tiger, which is the pet of a woman whom the narrator becomes friends with. Beyond having a tiger as a pet, the woman is rather eccentric in other ways. She decides that she has become tired of life and decides to walk into the sea to do away with herself, leaving the narrator to take care of Keif. The supernatural element doesn't really come until the final twist, which takes some of the melancholy off what should be a fairly depressing story.

And with that, I have read and blogged on all the short stories in La continuación y otras páginas. It was a fun experience, and I'm only sorry that it's taken me so long to finish. Although I don't think Ocampo will anyone forget Borges or Cortazar, she writes some pretty interesting stories. I'll be looking to read more of her works in the future. (And I'll try to spend some time with her poetry in the near-future.)

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