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Felisberto Hernández (1902–1964)

Teoksen Piano Stories tekijä

52+ Works 536 Jäsentä 20 arvostelua 3 Favorited

About the Author

Tekijän teokset

Piano Stories (1993) 136 kappaletta
Lands of Memory (2002) 125 kappaletta
Nadie encendía las lámparas (1947) 33 kappaletta
Narraciones incompletas (1990) 22 kappaletta
El caballo perdido (1943) 11 kappaletta
Relatos para piano (2017) 8 kappaletta
La Casa Inundada (2012) 8 kappaletta
Nessuno accendeva le lampade (2012) 7 kappaletta
Oeuvres completes (f.hernandez) (1997) 7 kappaletta
Narrativa completa (2015) 6 kappaletta
Novelas y cuentos (1985) 5 kappaletta
Seis relatos magistrales (1999) 4 kappaletta
Los Libros sin Tapas (1925) 4 kappaletta
Le ortensie (2014) 3 kappaletta
Terre della memoria (2015) 3 kappaletta
Primeras invenciones 3 kappaletta
The Daisy Dolls 2 kappaletta
ORTANCALAR 1 kappale
Piano Stories 1 kappale
Krokodil 1 kappale
Obras completas (2002) 1 kappale
Cuentos 1 kappale

Associated Works

The Oxford Book of Latin American Short Stories (1997) — Avustaja — 101 kappaletta
The Uncanny Reader: Stories from the Shadows (2015) — Avustaja — 66 kappaletta
Two Crocodiles (New Directions Pearls) (1865) — Tekijä, eräät painokset20 kappaletta

Merkitty avainsanalla


Kanoninen nimi
Hernández, Felisberto
Uruguay (birth)
Montevideo, Uruguay



Si no hubiese leído las historias de Felisberto Hernández en 1950, hoy no sería el escritor que soy. Gabriel García Márquez No es casual que la abrumadora mayoría de sus relatos haya sido escrita en primera persona (pero Las Hortensias, gran excepción, parecería volcarlo igualmente en el personaje central del cuento en lo que toca a las pulsiones más hondas, acaso las más inconfesables dentro del contexto de su ambiente y de su tiempo). Basta iniciar la lectura de cualquiera de sus textos para que Felisberto esté allí, un hombre triste y pobre que vive de conciertos de piano en círculos de provincia, tal como él vivió siempre, tal como nos lo cuenta desde el primer párrafo. Pero apenas lo reconocemos una vez más –buenos días, Felisberto, ¿cómo te irá ahora, tendrás un poco más de dinero, las piezas de tus hoteles serán menos horribles, te aplaudirán esta vez en los teatros o los cafés, te amará esa mujer que estás mirando?–, en ese reconocimiento que sólo ha tomado unos pocos párrafos se instala ya lo otro, el salto fulgurante a lo único que vale para él: el extrañamiento, la indecible toma de contacto con lo inmediato, es decir con todo eso que continuamente ignoramos o distanciamos en nombre de lo que se llama vivir.

Julio Cortázar

Felisberto Hernández es un escritor que no se parece a ninguno: a ninguno de los europeos y a ninguno de los latinoamericanos; es un “atípico” que escapa a toda clasificación y encasillamiento pero se presenta como inconfundible con sólo abrir la página.

Ítalo Calvino
… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
MaEugenia | 1 muu arvostelu | Aug 19, 2020 |

Gabriel García Márquez, Italo Calvino and Julio Cortázar all acknowledge Felisberto Hernández (1902-1964) as a major influence. Not bad for a writer from the city of Montevideo, Uruguay who was a self-taught pianist and who earned his living playing in cafés and silent screen theaters. His writing is so dreamlike and surreal, so lush, aesthetically refined and artistically polished, I’m hard-pressed to characterize it other than observing on a scale of one to ten for the above literary qualities, I would place Henry James at nine and place Felisberto Hernández at ten since Hernández possesses much of Henry James' aesthetic polish and adds his own generous helpings of the dreamy surreal.

I must say, having authored over 400 book reviews to date, composing this review was one of the most challenging I've faced. I feel my words only touch the surface; it’s as if I’m attempting to describe the paintings of Salvador Dali for someone unacquainted with the great Spaniard's art. With this in mind, in order to share a glimpse of what a reader will encounter in this sixty-page, ten chapter novella, I will focus exclusively on the first chapter. And please note, The Daisy Dolls is available as a PDF (second website down) using this link: https://www.google.com/#q=the daisy dolls by felisberto hernandez

The Really Odd Couple: The novella’s first lines: “Next to the garden was a factory, and the noise of the machines seeped through the plants and trees. And deep in the garden was a dark weathered house. The owner of the “black house” was a tall man.” The tall man living in this black house is an extremely wealthy eccentric by the name of Horace who lives with his nearly equally eccentric wife, a lady by the name of Daisy Mary. Also, we are well to bear in mind how the rumbling from the factory machines next-door rumble relentlessly, twenty-four-seven, a rumbling not only seeping through the plants and trees by also through Horace’s waking and sleeping hours.

Bizarre Obsession: Horace is a collector of lifelike dolls a bit taller than real women. In one of the larger rooms of his mansion, he has fashioned a showroom with three glass cases, cases especially built for the purpose of having men come in to invent scenes for his dolls, set designers and costume makers as well as caption writers who compose a caption describing each scene. Horace will read the caption, usually placed on a piece of paper in a drawer, after he has had an opportunity to mentally create his own story of what the scene is all about. Sound crazy? It is crazy, and this is only the beginning as the novella's constant crescendo of craziness will keep you turning the pages in near disbelief of what Horace and Daisy Mary dream up next.

Prelude: One evening after dinner in the dining room, Horace is drinking wine with Daisy Mary (Filesberto almost comically repeats ‘wine from France’ throughout the novella). Their butler Alex enters to inform Horace that Walter, the pianist, has arrived. Horace tells Alex to let Walter know he should play the first piano piece on the program repeatedly until a light flashes and under no circumstances speak or ask questions. At this point, Horace rises, walks over and kisses Daisy Mary, then moves to a chair in the little parlor next to the showroom where he begins to sip his coffee, smoke and collect himself until he feels completely isolated in preparation for his entrée into the showroom.

Soundtrack: Horace hears both the piano and the factory machines as if through water, as if he is submerged and wearing a diver’s helmet, but when he tries to concentrate on the sounds, “they scattered like frightened mice.” Being a piano player himself, in all likelihood Filesberto particularly enjoyed including a piano player – piano music along with the sound of the factory machines are a constant presence, either directly or indirectly, so much so I can imagine a film adaptation of the novella with piano music and the rumbling from those factory machines comprising the entire soundtrack.

Showtime, One: Horace opens the door and moves toward the first glass case. He switches a light on in the case and through a thin green curtain scans the scene: there’s a doll sprawled on bed. Inside the case there is also a small rolling platform with a chair and little table; Horace mounts the platform and takes a seat for a better view. He ponders: Is the doll dead or is she dreaming? She’s dressed as a bride, eyes wide open, starring at the ceiling and her arms are spread in either abandon or despair. Is she a bride waiting for her groom who will never arrive, having jilted her just before the wedding? Or is she a widow remembering her wedding day? Or, perhaps, just a girl simply dressed up as a bride? Sidebar: The author’s depiction of this scene and setting of mood is so stunning and surreal, it’s as if we step into a René Magritte painting to imagine for ourselves what the scene entails.

Showtime, Two: Horace opens the drawer of the little table and reads: “A moment before marrying the man she doesn’t love, she locks herself up, wearing the dress she was to have worn to her wedding with the man she loved, who is gone forever, and poisons herself. She dies with her eyes open and no one has come in yet to shut them.” Horace reflects that she really was a lovely bride and savors the feeling of being alive when the bride is not. He then opens a glass door and enters the scene itself in order to have a closer look, but right then he thinks he hears a door slam. He leaves the case and sees a piece of his wife’s dress caught in the door leading to the parlor. Horace rips open the door and Daisy Mary’s body falls on him. But wait . . . Daisy Mary’s body is so light. Ah, Horace recognizes the body he is holding isn’t his wife’s but Daisy, the doll who resembles her. His wife has played a little joke on him.

Deep, Dreamy Surreal: This chapter continues with Horace conversing with Mary (yes, his wife retains the name Mary while bestowing the name Daisy on the lookalike doll) before retreating to his bedroom to pen an entry in his diary and then returning to the showroom to view the scene with the doll in the second glass case, which, as it turns out, really rattles and unnerves him. And, again, this is only the first of ten chapters with mounting surreal weirdness. We feel as if not only have we entered a René Magritte painting, but the paint begins to drip down the canvas and occasionally morph, twist and magnify, all to the sound of those rumbling factory machines and piano music, sound turning visual and the visual turning into sounds. Synesthesia, anyone?

… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
Glenn_Russell | 1 muu arvostelu | Nov 13, 2018 |

Felisberto Hernández - "My stories have no logical structures. Even the consciousness undeviatingly watching over them is unknown to me. At any given moment I think a plant is about to be born in some corner of me. Aware of something strange going on, I begin to watch for it, sensing that it may have artistic promise. All I have is the feeling or hope that it will grow leaves of poetry or of something that could become poetry when seen by certain eyes."

“If I hadn’t read the stories of Felisberto Hernández in 1950, I wouldn’t be thee writer I am today.” Such a telling quote from Gabriel Garcia Marquez highlights the extraordinariness of this little known author from Uruguay. Also included with the collection's fifteen stories is a preface by Francine Prose and Introduction by Italo Calvino, both illuminating, and Calvino concludes his essay with, “Felisberto Hernández is a writer like no other; like no European, nor any Latin American. He is an “irregular” who eludes all classification and labeling, yet is unmistakable on any page to which one might randomly open one of his books.” As a way of sharing how irregular, I will focus on one of my favorites from the collection. Here goes:

Piano Man: On his piano concert tour, the first-person narrator visits a town, virtually deserted since the population has migrated to a nearby resort. “The theater where I was giving my concerts was also half empty and invaded by silence: I could see it growing on the black top of the piano. The silence liked to listen to the music; slowly taking it in and thinking it over before venturing an opinion.” This passage is vintage Felisberto Hernández: objects, space and even silence possess hidden vitality and aliveness, oblique personalities with an uncanny ability, for those attuned to their subtle vibrations, to slide sideways into human awareness.

The Meeting: One evening, after his concert, a timid old man comes up to him to shake his hand, an old man who has sore, swollen bags under his eyes and “had a huge lower lip that bulged out like the rim of a theater box.” Likening the old man’s bottom lip to the rim of a theater box serves as a premonition for an object granted a major role in the story: his daughter’s balcony. Such poetic, clear, visual images function for the author very much like a brass section sounding a few minor cords picked up by the entire orchestra later in a symphony – again, vintage Felisberto Hernández.

Living on the Balcony: The old man apologizes for his daughter not being able to hear his music. The narrator (in the spirit of the author’s poetic prose and picking up on the first two syllables of Felisberto, let’s call him Felix) muses on the possible reason why this is the case: Is she blind? Is she deaf, or, perhaps out of town? The old man senses Felix’s groping for the cause and explains how his daughter simply cannot go outside, but since everyone needs entertainment, he bought a big old house with a balcony overlooking a garden and fountain, a balcony where she spends nearly all of her waking hours. A few more words are exchanged and the old man invites Felix to come have dinner whenever he would like. Sidebar: Nowadays we refer to his daughter’s condition as agoraphobia. And with this narrative turn, we have yet again another major Felisberto Hernández theme: a writer or musician invited to the mansion of a wealthy eccentric.

The Mansion: Upon entering through a large gate on one side opening onto a garden with a fountain and a number of statuettes hidden in the weeds, Felix walks up a flight of steps leading into the house and is surprised to see a large number of open parasols of different colors that look like huge hothouse plants. The old man informs Felix he gave his daughter most of the parasols and she likes to keep them open to see the colors. If this sounds a bit odd there is good reason – it is odd! And such oddities, even, on occasion screwball oddities, add a distinctive charm and memorability to Felisberto’s telling.

The Color Yellow: Felix is lead by the old man to his daughter's room on the second floor where she is standing in the center of the balcony. She comes forward to meet them and Felix observes, “Backed against the darkest wall of the room was a small open piano. Its big yellowing smile looked innocent.” The innocence of the piano echoes his daughter’s innocence; the instrument’s big yellow smile echoes the color of those open parasols. Indeed, through the author’s dreamy surrealism and unique way of infusing object with human emotion, similar to a repeated passage in a piano sonata or the repetition of those soft, floppy clocks in Salvador Dalí’s ‘Persistence of Memory,’ the piano’s yellowing smile echoes off the walls, down the corridors and through the mindstreams of not only characters in the story but readers of the story. Perhaps this is one key reason Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Italo Calvino and Julio Cortázar, among others, cite Felisberto Hernández as such a major influence.

Finale: What I have referenced so far covers only the first five of the story’s thirty pages. Rather than continuing with events as they unfold, I will leave you in the grand old house, overlooking the balcony with a snatch of Felix’s after-dinner reflection: “A while back, when we were in the girl’s bedroom and she had not yet turned on the light – she wanted to enjoy every last bit of the evening glow coming from the balcony – we had spoken about the objects. As the light faded we could feel them nestling in the shadows as if they had feathers and were preparing for sleep. She said they developed souls as they came in touch with people. Some had once been something else and had another soul (the ones with legs had once had branches, the piano key had been tusks). But her balcony had first gained a soul when she started to live in it.”

… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
Glenn_Russell | 6 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Nov 13, 2018 |
Merkitty asiattomaksi
Vincenzop. | Mar 7, 2018 |


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