Granizo, de Dayana Fraile. / Luis Guillermo Franquiz

Granizo, by Dayana Fraile.

It is a theater of varietés with continuous shows. It is a game of circus mirrors. It is a kaleidoscope ceaselessly spinning. It is also a conversation overheard from a nearby table, to which we pay attention surreptitiously. At a certain moment, eventually, we change places, sit at that adjacent table and participate in what’s being told, without shyness or shame. Dayana Fraile’s verbal magic functions as an anesthetic for social and literary conventions, it suggests, convinces, seduces. It draws the veil of narrative fantasy and until the end of the book it will find a way to walk across the tightrope without losing its balance and falling into boredom. Dayana Fraile seems to follow in the path of several contemporary authors who prefer to dispense with special effects and speak to the reader bluntly, almost abusing trust, employing a simple and direct language that leaves no room for amazement or false likenesses. She accomplishes it, and very well, offering images written like those of a carousel that spins and barely allows a glimpse, a view, appearing and fading within its own narrative scheme without adding any frivolous explanations that serve no function.

The characters described in Granizo (Caracas: Fundación Editorial El perro y la rana, 2011), winner of the short story collection prize in the I Bienal de Literatura Julián Padrón, make up a symbiotic gallery where each one takes up and offers the other, crossing lines, becoming tangential, speaking among themselves and barely letting us perceive a group energy that is only comprehensible to them. We are passersby in a reconstructed city through the youthful experiences of the protagonist, of the other characters who interact with her, and argue, and cry, and dare to dream or vomit their existentialist entrails, all by means of a language that functions according to what the author wants to tell and portray. It is a simple reading, but not because of that simple or plain. It has nuances, imperfections, wrinkles that confer an adequate credibility to what is narrated. It is a pleasure to read because there are no cardboard cut-outs, poses, pompous moments in the language. It works because the author seems to have worried about the small details, the inconsistencies, weaving well the threads that tie the pieces together using metaphors that make us smile without realizing it.

The different stories are offered as though they came with the trust of a friend’s glance, amid glasses of wine or cups of coffee, whatever might be needed. The narrative style allows for our attention to be sustained, so that one wants to know where these fictional women come from and where they’re going, who occasionally change roles. It is a very feminine book, though not one-dimensional. The characters Dayana Fraile traces are there, at the edge of a glance, names one never pronounces completely, strident colors that run through the opacity of conventional routine. They are characters from a fairy tale that has turned into a concrete reality to the sound of Venezuelan rock. Tangible. Palpable. Recognizable behind a corner, a brief glimpse, indefinite. One is left with the sensation of having arrived in the middle of the work, reaching a fragment that alludes to the rest, to the entire event, just as the day described in Mrs. Dalloway allows us to assimilate the totality of her life, the ceramic pieces scattered in the short stories of Granizo let us to reconstruct a particular universe, a shadow behind the mirror.

I keep thinking of a kaleidoscope due to the sequence of apparently disconnected scenes, although linked together, like a steel spiderweb. A succession that sustains itself through the narrator’s moves, an exchange of places that functions like a hinge, a vehicle for transitions, the bridge that lets us come and go between the various parts of the book, literally. There is also humor. A type of rancid, salubrious humor that pulls a cynical smile of acknowledgment, because the characters are well delineated, with the traits of their humanity nicely distributed and measured to concede to them the appropriate weight for narrative drama. They exist, they almost leap from the page with their complicated literary manners and their city neuroses. I am quite happy to be able to recommend this first book of short stories by a writer who promises, if she decides, to offer us more unconventional fictions. You can find the book in any of the Librerías del Sur throughout Venezuela. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

{ Luis Guillermo Franquiz, Diario, 2 May 2011 }

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