Billiard players: José Avello Flórez

billiards players

billiards players

billiards players is a contemporary novel written by the late Spanish university professor and author José Avello Flórez. The work was published for the first time in 2001 by the Alfaguara publishing house, after the journalist and also writer Juan José Millás read the manuscript for the prize of said house of letters, recommending it for its edition and launch the same year.

This is how, thanks to Millás, the second and last novel by José Avello Flórez came to light, establishing him as one of the most respected “cult” authors in Spain, despite his distance from the spotlight and the literary arena. This work It is considered a late inheritance of the social portrait captured by the famous Leopoldo Enrique García Alas. and Ureña, alias Clarín, in The Regent.

Synopsis of billiard players

What the voice of a friend says

Already from its first page, it is possible to notice that billiard players is a novel that skips all current conventions about the commercial and grotesque of language. Instead, it presents a game between the omniscient narrator and the readers. The first turns out to be one of the protagonist friends, who introduces himself with the following phrase: “I prefer not to talk about myself, because I don't dare and because I wouldn't know how to do it without lying.”

Since then, begins to relate a series of complex adventures that he and his companions—close friends since adolescence—lived and are living., making elegant leaps from the present to the past and vice versa. The title of the novel honors the game that these friendships enjoy, while functioning as a narrative resource to sustain the plot and an analogy about society, respectively.

narrative structure of billiard players

billiard players It has more than six hundred pages, which are divided into twenty-six fragments that, in turn, are sectioned into four parts. These literary pieces represent the four seasons of the year, as well as a feeling that is described in each section.

These emotions are framed in subtitles that allegorically allude to their content.: “Spring, Mirrors and Glasses”, “Summer, The Dark Side of the Street”, “Autumn, The Fourth Player”, and “Winter, Snow on the City”.

Likewise, The main plot is divided into several subplots with certain levels of drama, action, romance, crime and eroticism.. The first level occurs in the present time, where four forty-somethings suffer various sentimental and human problems.

The second and third level

While they undergo all these changes, they continue to attend billiards, a game that continues to attract them from the years of their early youth, when they were bold editors of a rebellious poetic magazine. For its part, beyond the surface is the second level, in which all the individual experiences of each person are told. These are always marked by failure or frustration.

This level is also narrated in the present tense, since it occurs at the same time as the first. Beyond this there is a third level, which is marked by bloody, vile, sordid scenes., which start from the civil war, or occur in the years of Francoism, and which end up communicating with another issue decisive for the outcome, which could be translated as a crime.

Setting of billiard players

billiard players It is set in the city of Oviedo, thus turning its back on all those works whose settings are usually Barcelona or Madrid. Being heir to Clarín, José Avello Flórez takes up the social picture that the former drew in The Regenta, and he continues to color it in his own book, which, for obvious reasons of time, has more current spaces.

However, There are some places that remain, and that are a clear reference to the apparent “symbolism” of Clarín's work.. These sites can be the ceramic factory, the object of speculative pursuits, the homes - some housing peculiar installations - the shoe store, Las Novedades, the Mercurio café, the Chipi bar, among other endearing and mysterious ancient landscapes.

A dose of realistic novel or a symbolist book at its best?

The daily lives of the characters, their hobbies, their tastes, their way of dealing with others, are highlighted with small details that make up concise and convincing portraits. Realism is shown through elements such as work, having an educator, a librarian, an office worker, a journalist and a director of a family business, in addition to other positions.

The novel It also mentions parasitic life as an excuse for artistic work, drug trafficking, porn, stimulants.. Even so, all relationships in Billiards players occur thanks to the fact that one of them fell in love with a girl, which produces a severe obsession that, at the same time, drags down all his companions. This is where some symbolism is shown.

About the Author

José Avello Flórez was born in 1943, in Cangas del Narcea, Spain. He studied Law at the University of Oviedo and the Complutense University of Madrid. Over the next ten years, He was a professor of Communication Theory and, later, of Sociology of Culture at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Madrid. At the same time, he developed his literary vocation.

Although he only published two novels, and stayed away from the media because of his love of privacy, he gained much critical recognition, both in his early days and now. His talent made him a finalist for laurels such as the National Narrative Award, as well as the so-called Villa de Madrid Award and the Asturias Critics Award.

It is easy to make a comparison between Clarín and José Avello, given the affinity that the latter felt for the former, and the way in which, in some way, he continued his work. For example, The Regenta —novel that is perceived as a Spanish version of Madame Bovaryby Gustave Flaubert is the pillar for billiard players, now for its setting, now for its narrative style and character construction.

Other books by José Avello Flórez

  • The subversion of Beti García (1983).

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