from Jose Donoso

The fact remains that Wenceslao, like my other children, is an emblematic figure: the most memorable, perhaps, of a number of boys and girls who, as in a Poussin painting, caper in the foreground, untraceable to any model because they are not portraits, their features unconstrained by any but the most formal lineaments of individuality or passion. They and their games are little more than a pretext for the painting to have a name, because what it expresses does not reside in those quaint games which merely provide a focal point: no, a higher place in the artist’s intent has been given to the interaction between these figures and the landscape of rocks and valleys and trees that stretches toward the horizon, where, in golden proportion, it gives way to the beautiful, stirring, intangible sky, creating that unabashedly unreal space which is the true protagonist of the painting, as pure narrative is the protagonist in a novel that sets out to grind up characters, time, space, psychology, and sociology in one great tide of language.

A House in the Country (tr. Pritchard/Levine)

A weird quote from a weird book by a weird genius of an author. This is one of his typically oblique attacks on “realism” in fiction, which (he says elsewhere) comes naturally to him, but is a lie. I will have more to say after I finish reading the book.

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