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The night Maria Broto ends her role in the Lliure theater, incarnating Luiba Andreievna from The Garden of the Cherry Trees from Chekhov, never imagined the turnaround that her life would take when someone comes to remove her past.

That day, Maria’s life, in quarantine, takes a turn. It is as if suddenly there is no future for her. Everything is written in his past. María Broto is one of the protagonists of Jauja , from Use Lahoz (Barcelona, ​​1976).

In this novel it is hard to talk about a protagonist. Each character that appears puts its vital role in a gear that seems to encompass not only a remote (and fictional) town of Aragon and the city of Barcelona, ​​but almost the entire world and life. Next to Maria.

Rafael is the essential child of the village that watched the existential passing of Valdecádiar and the bearer of the portion of life that until that moment Maria ignored. Then there is, as stuck to his skin, Theodore, the man who takes care of Maria as a child. And Teodoro’s parents, engineer Pablo Peñalver, so decisive in this story, and Vidal, the current husband.

Everything takes place between Valdecádiar (which already appeared in The Lost Station, 2016) and Barcelona. Between a decrepit and hopeless rural world and the illusions that the city arouses.

Lahoz’s novel delves into the remorse of the inevitable evils that were done to those who loved or deserved more. Jauja is also the novel of sleaze and social stigmatization. And as for me Lahoz follows the Balzacian route of previous works, I would say that Jauja is ironically a book about lost illusions.

I read this novel without being able to abandon it for a moment. His narrative voice has a lot to do. It is a voice that sees, remembers, guides and takes the floor when its characters do not find it. Lahoz remains true to his poetic narrative, realism.

A realism assumed conscientiously and without complexes. I talk about Balzac, you could also quote Zola. And the best Cela. And to master Delibes. And of course, Chekhov. That life is not haha, we already knew. The question was to tell us why the convincing aesthetic maturity with which Use Lahoz tells us.

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