Author: Izara Batres
- Ediciones Xorki
- ISBN: 9788494050435
- Release Date: 01-11-2012
-Reviewed by: Eduardo de Lamadrid
Confesiones al psicoanalista (Confessions to a Psychoanalyst) is a wry and comic look at the effects that modern society and our way of life can provoke in persons and minds.
In her first prose collection, Izara Batres (Madrid, 1982) assembles fourteen entertaining stories, written with intelligence, lucidity, humor, love and compassion, which raise a mirror to the spiritual malaise that plagues the “civilized” world, while shining a philosophical light on the knowledge that is occluded by appearances.
The stories in this anthology are organized in analogous fashion under one sole dynamic. All are monologues written in the first person as the utterances of a protagonist narrator, more or less unhinged or delirious, and heard by a psychoanalyst invented by the author, and heard also by the reader, the listener at the other side of the proverbial couch. As the psychoanalyst herself explains in the prologue, the testimonies do not pretend to constitute an analysis of human psychology, but are just exercises in observation of the realities that lie around the corner, and with which we may identify.
The stories, therefore, come to us in a direct manner, without limiting conditions, in a deliberately plain, colloquial and fluid language. Izara Batres uses this resource to delineate the unbalanced personalities of the characters, and in a humorous oral style that verges on the confessional, we learn about the avatars and neuroses of the outlandish beings which populate the nervous geography of this volume.
For example, with astonishment we attend the first therapy session entitled “The Movies,” in which the narrator confesses that “I’ve never been me, I’ve always been another.” And like Woody Allen’s Zelig, the protagonist of this narrative is a man without self-identity who appropriates the personalities of characters he’s seen on the big screen (Bogart’s Rick from Casablanca, Vito Corleone, and Rocky Balboa; screen idols from Gable to Dean to Pitt, among other others). And the catalogue of rara avis continues: we observe a man in love with his personal computer in “New Technologies,” a child with an inferiority complex, who overcomes any slight by sheer tenacity and willpower until he becomes a tyrant (“The Mother of the Dictator”), a man so obsessed by celebrity that he resorts to thieving underwear and leaving the victims a berry and finally becomes famous as the “maniac of the berry”, a man traumatized by Raffaella Carrá and Heidi, a pair of lovers who try to commit suicide in various ways, a millionaire in crisis, a ex- TV executive who is consumed by his own reality programs. These are characters that live asphyxiated in absurd Kafkaesque worlds governed by irrational bureaucrats or by societies in thrall to fame, fashion or the media. Worlds that turn out to be our own and that Batres shows us in an ironic and jaunty way, thus revealing the most ridiculous aspects of the human race. And by means of these brief, caustic and outrageous confessions she has been able to take an x-ray of the human condition and of the society we live in with a prose and diction stripped of unnecessary flourishes.
Implicit in these stories and confessions is a critique of the abuse of new technologies, of the sublimation of love, of bureaucratic incompetence, of trash television, of the tyranny exercised by fashion over women, of uncontrolled consumerism, and of the vacuity of the worship of popularity that is so much in vogue. There are also potshots against clichés and bromides that, disseminated as urban legends, are able to permeate our lives and become commonly accepted conventions.