divendres, 31 d’octubre de 2014

"Hoy hubiera preferido no encontrarme a mí misma", Hertha Müller

Heute wär ich mir lieber nicht begegnet
Hertha Müller, 1997
Traducció de Juan José del Solar
Siruela, 196 pàgines

Una dona, de la qual no en sabem ni tan sols el nom, té una cita. Una cita que la terroritza, la incomoda i en cert sentit la obsessiona; una cita amb el coronel Albu, dels serveis d'informació de la Romania de Ceaucescu. En el camí cap a la seva cita, enmig d'una precisa observació dels viatgers del tramvia que és una radiografia del país (decaigut, trist, desangelat, atrotinat), fa un repàs de la seva vida, des d'episodis de la seva infantesa fins al seu passat més recent. Coneixem així que el seu pecat, allò que la fa sospitós de ser enemiga del poble romanès, foren unes petites notes a l'interior de les americanes que la fàbrica on treballava exportava a Itàlia, en les quals proposava matrimoni a qui l'anàs a cercar.

És aquesta una noveŀla que es fa difícil, costa avesar-se al ritme lent i gairebé diria que llòbrec de la narració. Es podria dir que el to de la narració s'adapta al de la realitat històrica en la que s'emmarca la història. Müller ens introdueix en la ment d'una persona desencantada, que ha patit molt al llarg de la seva vida i que ja no n'espera gaire res més que una certa tranquiŀlitat, passar els dies sense haver-se d'enfrontar a més problemes. És una narració pausada, amb cert lirisme en determinats passatges, que ens va captivant, com qui navega a favor de la corrent.

Hertha Müller (premi Nobel de literatura 2009) representa una de les literatures més singulars d'Europa, la dels alemanys de Romania, una minoria ignorada. Müller va créixer en època de la Romania comunista, sota el tirànic govern de Nicolae Ceaucescu, i en l'obra que ens ocupa mostra aquest passat històric. La Romania de l'època era un país marcat per la corrupció i la manca d'una administració eficient, un país de lladres a tots els nivells sota l'atenta supervisió d'un estat més preocupat per mantenir l'aparador de les ortodòxies comunistes que per atendre les necessitats dels seus camarades. D'això escriu Müller, del que conegué.

divendres, 3 d’octubre de 2014

"Prague Fatale", Philip Kerr

Prague Fatale
Philip Kerr, 2011
Quercus, 413 pàgines

Berlin, 1941. After the dramatic experience he suffered in the Eastern front, Bernie Gunther resumes his work at the Police Praesidium at the Berlin's Alexanderplatz. The massive killing of Jews he has witnessed has left him with very few interesting for life, so he plays with the idea of suicide. However, his work at the Kripo will led him to meet Arianne Tauber, for whom he falls in love. The girl seems to be involved in some kind of spying game, but Gunther believes her when she says that she did not know anything about spying, that she just delivered envelopes to make some money. Later on, Gunther is called to Prague by his "protector" Reinhard Heydrich. The ruler of Bohemia wants him to become his bodyguard, since he suspects someone tried to poison him. After a celebration in the Panenske Brezany castle, one of Heydrich's adjutants, Kuttner, is found dead, and Gunther is committed to conduct the investigation, which will involve interrogating some of the most powerful men in the III Reich. Anyway, as usual, things take strange turns, and what was going to be more or less conventional investigation will led to one of the most tragical episodes in the history of Czechoslovakia, in which Gunther will be involuntarily involved.

In this novel, Kerr has created a very classical-styled crime and mistery novel, which I say with satisfaction. We find all the ingredients of any top-rated crime novel: the candid investigator, tortured by his past; the beautiful and dangerous girl; the powerful man with hidden intentions; the enigmatic victim; etc. In addition to all that, we find a very attractive historical background: the occupied Prague during WWII. The result is a captivating novel, intense and even breathtaking. Once again Gunther is a victim of the manipulation and the lies of the powerful ones, and once again he tries to cope with it the most honestly he can.

In some way, I feel that this novel is the return of the genuine Gunther. After his "world tour" through Austria, Argentina and Cuba, we recover the Kripo investigator that does what he was born to do: conduct difficult investigation in a rough but honest way. To me, it reconnects with the first novels of the series, March Violets and The Pale Criminal. Given the fact that these novels do not keep a cronological order, I would recommend any of them to anyone who was interested in the Philip Kerr's Bernie Gunther's series. I have enjoyed this novel a lot, both for the story itself and for the historical background. It is also a good novel to make a first approach to the figure of Reinhard Heydrich, one of the more poweful and darkest leaders of the III Reich. An absolut gem, fully recommended.