La narrativa de Gustavo Valle se sitúa en los lugares abandonados / Humberto Sánchez Amaya

Gustavo Valle’s Fiction Is Situated in Abandoned Places

Álex Kantor is sick of it. He decides to escape the city that’s been the stage for all his failures. He can’t find himself there. He needs to exile himself from his frustrations, including his family.

This is the leitmotiv of Happening, the most recent book by Gustavo Valle which won the XIII Annual Transgenre Contest sponsored by the Sociedad de Amigos de la Cultura Urbana.

“It’s a fantasy everyone has, to slam the door, take off to an unknown place and start over. These are traumatic decisions that many people never make,” expresses the novelist who recently came to Venezuela to present his work at the Kalathos bookstore and the International Book Fair of Carabobo University.

Desperation is the fuel for the protagonist and his only attachment, at the beginning, is the 1976 Range Rover that will take him to a place where he expects to find some peace. He takes the trip at night with darkness as his accomplice, until an involuntary homicide adds other motives to the anguish of the character, who ends up hiding in the Gulf of Cariaco alongside others who are also waiting for redemption.

Caracas is seen from a distance by the author, specifically from Buenos Aires, where he has lived since 2005. He left Venezuela in 1997, for Spain. “I spent a long time over there. In 2003 I returned to Venezuela for a while, until I left again,” he details.

Unlike the protagonist of his book, Valle assures us that his departure from the country doesn’t have anything to do with any particular torment. He only did it, he affirms, to expand his horizons.

“My imaginary universe is situated here in Venezuela, which means that I work with memory a great deal. I write non-fiction about the place where I live and my fiction is based on the zones I’ve abandoned,” notes the novelist, who is already back in Argentina.

Memory can be deceitful, he admits, but that doesn’t bother him. “The writer is an impostor of memories. He’s permanently placing masks on them. That’s his job. When we evoke the past we always corrupt ourselves and transform ourselves. What occurs is reconfigured and becomes a viscous, unreachable matter.”

He indicates that the escape and the journey are themes in all literatures, but that in Venezuela there’s a particularity that is difficult to ignore. “The most recent Venezuelan circumstances speak of a migratory process that grows more immense each day. There are writers who are placing a magnifying glass to this situation. There’s a discussion about concepts such as flight, exile, escape, none of which were on the menu of terms for Venezuelan literature and for daily occurrences,” affirms Valle, who is now concentrating on a novel about sexual initiation.

{ Humberto Sánchez Amaya, El Nacional, 7 November 2014 }

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