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Cristina Fernández Cubas, as seen by Juan Antonio Masoliver

The embroiderer of histories

If the word singularity has ended up being meaningless due to an excessive use, it regains full prestige when speaking about Cristina Fernández Cubas. Author of novels, short novels, tales, and theatre, all of her writing has the essentiality and narrative of tales, but without losing each genre's  own characteristics. But not only do we identify her with the tales due to these two peculiar traits and her will to write a book that is a life, but also because she is one of its most brilliant practitioners, in a country where -in opposition to Latin America- the short story has little prestige. This explains another trait of her singularity: it is difficult to find references, either generational or in the kind of writing -no other voice- with which she could be identified. But of course, she has not come from nowhere. She follows a narrative vocation like Sherezade's, or an embroiderer vocation like Penelope's. She also comes from her own vital experiences going from her childhood in Arenys to the traveling that has marked her so much, as well as from other experiences that the reader can find in Cosas que ya no existen (2001), her "singular" memories that act as the starting point of a writing conceived as a path, and which is at the same time timeless due to its classical nature.

When reading Fernández de Cubas, it is easy to think about Agatha Christie or Edgar Allan Poe. But even without them, she would exist the same. Whatever definitions have been attempted to explain her narrative, they are probably right, though at the same time, limited. Her writing is born from terror, but it is a terror that goes beyond the limits of the genre. On one hand, it is an ancestral fear, and on the other a fear born out of one's own terrors but exacerbated by the imagination. This explains why her world is totally, and even dearly, familiar, but also endangered in a way that fragility and loneliness of the real world appear intensified by the imagination to the point of mixing the real and imaginary world. The more calm that real life is, the more traumatic that the transformation will be. And the reader, who starts being a confortable witness, ends up trapped in the net of terror or absurdity.