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Ana María Matute, as seen by Juana Salabert

Owner of a prodigious writing, creator from an early age of a bewitching, complex, and disturbing personal universe that has captured and pinned the imagination of countless readers, and Nobel candidate in several occasions (how much will we have to wait until she is granted the Cervantes?), Ana María Matute is one of the most important voices in Spanish and European literature. And if I refer to the fact; obvious in the great occidental writers (because as Étiemble brightly pointed out, the novel, genre or anti-genre of modernity, is impossible in theocratic societies) that have emerged from the cross-border territory of La Mancha that Carlos Fuentes invoked; that she posses "a" personal universe, it is because I have never noticed in her work the supposed dichotomy, so frequently mentioned by many -falsely and in haste if you ask me-, between the fantasy and marvel topics versus the "realist" ones. That which is wrongly tagged as "realist" if we stick to the concept of "realism" that neither Proust of Musil needed to come to grief, because after all, the text is no more than another "reality" also occurring in the world... This way, a detailed read of the novels, tales and stories from this extraordinary storyteller, who already as a child played to fill  with life the margins beyond the limits of her notebooks, reveals a unitarian fundamental symbology (front and forward, light and darkness, memory and oblivion, ground and sky, childhood as paradise stolen more than lost), a permanent game, very baudelarian, of correspondences covering decades of writing under the modern and impossible, yet unavoidably cathartic, sign of clairvoyance that everything dark, hidden and secret holds... That which Freud named Familienroman, this is, the tale that each of us builds and plans within our childish unconsciousness to explain our place in a world that belongs "to others". A tale that everybody mistakingly believes that is left behind once we reach the age of reason..., everybody but the artists, the writers, and of course, those affected by neurosis, which is after all only an extreme and medical term for those with distressed curiosity towards questions without answers, or with too many answers.

In the very cervantian kingdom of the story of Gudús stories, the cold ruler of all the omissions and all memories, where some flowering girls surround the primeval tree of games "playing never to forget", in the same way that Adri, the narrator from the exquisitely beautiful Paraíso Inhabitado and owner, in words of her aunt Eduarda, of "another language", will learn sooner or later that "the unicorn never returns", while logically and paradoxically it is nevertheless the time of eternal return. A circular time that is the same of Matia in Primera memoria, the orphans and losers of Los hijos muertos, or the loving and dispossessed antiheroes of La torre vigía and the short story Los de la tienda... Disconfort is the way of being for many children and youngsters of Ana María Matute (an author within which Andersen, Proust, Rilke and Carson McCullers live in celebrated harmony), while restlessness is their fatality stigma and fate. In cervantian fashion, they move apart knowing that they began "being what they should" too early, as goethian Wilhem Meister would say. Too early for the convenience of the an order ruled by greed and brutality where beauty is is the tear of a chandelier that houses other worlds and microcosms that are invisible to those who voluntarily decided to forget. 

Onetti once said "there are women who never completely kill the girl they have inside". Well, Ana María Matute did not even begin to do it, the reason why she is not only a brilliant writer, but also a marvelous person.

Fundación Juan March
Castelló, 77 – 28006 MADRID – Spain
+34 91 435 42 40 – Fax: +34 91 576 34 20