21 June 2009

Ocampo: Ulises & Los grifos

For some reason "Ulises" appears to end abruptly. Considering that there is no break in the page numbers, I'd guess that only a few lines are lost. If so, this story ends on a rather abrupt or fatalistic tone. This story incorporates Ocampo's frequent theme of childhood, though with fantasy elements incorporated. The story concerns the narrators' childhood and her friendship with a strange classmate named Ulises. Ulises has a reputation for telling outlandish stories, as well as a face that strikes most people as being that of an old man. He is also an orphan, living with three elderly and rather eccentric aunts. He and the narrator sneak out one day to visit a fortune teller, who offers Ulises his youth. That's when things take a decidedly supernatural turn, which is quickly reversed and at which point the story cut off. Intriguing, though I'm not really sure where it was going.

"Los grifos" is a pretty Borgesian, not least of all because Borges himself makes a few appearances. Grifos are faucets, and the story concerns a set of faucets which drip onto a basin and create a musical, almost mystical sound. Ocampo seeks out the wider meaning of faucets, suggesting a bizarre mythology of faucets. The story climaxes with a mysterious story of how the basin came into her hands. Interesting, but as can be expected from a Borgesian story, there's not much in the way of conventional plot.

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