Saturday, February 23, 2008

"Bedside manners"- novel by Luisa Valenzuela

This is the second novel of the Argentine writer Luisa Valenzuela that I have read. The first one" Clara" was a simple and straightforward story but this one is " magical realism".

It is the story of an Argentine woman who flees military dictatorship, lives in USA for ten years and returns home after the restoration of democracy. Her friend advises her to take rest in a country club outside the city of Buenos Aires to prepare herself to the new realities of the city. But her rest is constantly disturbed by a wicked maid, who takes advantage of the woman who had been out of touch with the country for ten years. The maid increases the amount to be paid for purchases she makes for the senora every five minutes ,attributing the increase to inflation. An army regiment uses the country club premises including her king size bed for exercises. A sergeant is hiding under her bed as part of the exercise and the poor starving guy steals the food supplies of the senora. The captain is planning a coup to overthrow the civilian government. He belongs to the typial Latino military school of thought which is cocky and confident that it alone knows how to govern and has contempt for the civilians. But the army detachment is mocked and teased by the slum dwellers who have nothing to look for and nothing to fear. The senora calls for a doctor and finds that the doctor doubles up as a taxi driver to supplement his income. He seduces the senora to have sex but as soon as it is over, he starts commanding her like a macho.

The story is quintessential Latin America... Argentina. It has been the reality not very long ago. Luisa has weaved magic into this reality. She has made it funny and satirical.

It is a pity that Luisa has made it as a short novel of just 120 pages, after having elaborately opened the themes of the story on all sides and raising readers' expectations.

After reading this book, I started another novel of Luisa called as " He who searches- como en la guerra"It is about a psycho analyst in Madrid who goes to study his subject, an Argentine woman, after midnight. The woman says "she awakens in men a love so intense and real that afterward they cannot bear it and abandon her".

Another typical Argentine theme.. they say Buenos Aires has more psychoanalysts per capita than any other capital!

But the novel drifts into all directions and unconnected digressions... I have now abandoned it after reading about 100 pages. It became heavy like the works of Borghes !

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Goa Carnival - Brazilian touch

This year's carnival in Goa was given a Brazilian Samba touch by the Brazilian consul general in Mumbai Paulo Pinto, who has sent me these fotos.

Here he is proudly waving the Brazilian flag and singing,

"Eram mais de mil mulheres belas, e eu só pra todas elas!!"
means- there were thousand pretty women.. and I was the only one for all of them"

I am not going to write about carnival, since it is more for seeing......
Of course, my readers would be disappointed that these Carnival fotos are not upto their expectations ! Who knows? Paulo Pinto might succeed in Brazilianising the Goa carnaval with more samba and less Clothes......