Some complete stories is the title of the new book by Domingo Villar, which is illustrated with linocuts of his friend Carlos Baonza. It is just released in a very neat edition and can be read in mid-afternoon, or less. It is a compilation of 10 stories or short stories and I was lucky that the author dedicated it to me at the last Madrid Book Fair. This is my review.
In January 2020 I attended a meeting with Domingo organized by Cultural Scope in Madrid and moderated by Rafael Caunedo. We were about 20 people and we had a great time chatting with him about his books starring the inspector from Vigo Leo Caldas. Three novels, Water eyes, The beach of the drowned y The last ship that, although with a long time between his publications, they have brought him a success and, above all, a prestige that many others with 20 titles would already like.
In the final part of the Sunday meeting he told us about these stories and he read us one. We were so delighted and encouraged so much that he published them that if he could already have the idea to do so, we may be totally convinced. In addition, it could also be a way of "paying" ourselves for the patience because of the long waits between novels and novels to which we are accustomed to the many readers who are his. So, it was a privilege.
Now, after reading the stories, I identify the story: it is about Don Andrés the handsome. And it has made me smile again. Well, all actually.
By way of Foreword, the author tells us a little about how has always written stories with no other claim than to share or count them in family or friends gatherings. Also, that some had already been published and that whenever they encouraged him to give them the form of a book, he pretended that he wanted to leave them for that more intimate and close environment.
At the same time, and for his friendship with the artist Carlos Baonza, who began to illustrate them on the fly as he read them. But then comes an argument as fantastic as the reality of a pandemic that locks the world at home. And you have to try to recreate those best moments that you can neither have nor share. So it was time to bring these tales to light.
Humor, nostalgia, magic, mystery
The titles are:
- Eliška and the moon
- La Maruxaina and Mr. Guillet
- The spiritist of O Grove
- The Saint of Bella Union
- Philip the Messiah
- Mabel and the talkies
- Don Andrés the Handsome
- Michael «Chico» Cruz
- The fifteen years of Isabel Daponte
- Commodore Ledesma
And all, to a greater or lesser extent, have touches of nostalgia, back to past, magic, mystery and, of course, of humor, but of that so of the Galician land of which Villar is. The longest is the last, a short story rather than a story. And what also share is the musical tone of this writer's prose, which is as exquisite as it is beautiful and almost lyrical.
For those of us who know a little about the most aseptic and functional part of the language, in addition to the sensitivity that can be transmitted, reading Domingo Villar is a double pleasure. Both in his novels and in these stories, in which perhaps even more stands out, the handling he has of him and the cadence and rhythm narrative that prints the content are second to none. And that is appreciated in a panorama of literature that is so easy or easily digestible.
These tales read like songs and they leave an echo and trace, of the sea, of the stars, of myths and legends, of miracles or ghosts, of war and peace. They get a smile from those soft and they always refer you to that magical background that distills such a particular land.
Stay with one? I could not. AND a but? That they are few and they finish right away. That's the problem with Domingo Villar: it doesn't matter if he writes 640-page novels or 1-word stories. It always leaves you wanting more.