Fiction: ENC o El sueño del pez luciérnaga

Author: Izara Batres
-Ediciones Xorki
-US Release Date: 01-01-2014
-Reviewed by:Cristina de la Torre, PhD
-Review Release:April 11, 2015

Batres´ novel begins with an intriguing chapter about an episode in what appears to be grammar school. It is original, clever, crisply told. It sets up the multitude of voices, the contrasts between past-present, adult-child, powerful-powerless, dialog-stream of consciousness, etc. In other words, it presents all the threads that will be used to weave the text. What follows in the book, however, does not--in my opinion--live up to the anticipated expectations. Once it gets into depicting the current crisis in Spain and its effects on the lives of the young generation the narrative stays in familiar grounds when representing the hopelessness. Ie. transcribing only one side of a phone conversation to convey miscommunication and loneliness, conversations that do not go anywhere, meaningless sex scenes where the characters use each other for immediate gratification. The writing relies heavily on commonplace observations and familiar formulations. It is sprinkled with foreign words, not infrequently misspelled. In other words, it neither surprises nor reveals anything new about the condition of these confused youngsters, paralyzed by the dire circumstances of the country. While I am not measuring it against Don Quijote, I do expect a book to shed some clear light on a particular situation, to help us understand, to stir our sympathies, or our disgust.