A few months before he died, a victim of lung cancer, in August 2015, Rafael Chirbes sent his good friend and editor Jorge Herralde the novel manuscripts Paris-Austerlitz and of his personal diaries. Paris-Austerlitzwhich appeared in 2016, supposed, as he did Luis Cernuda in Eclogue, elegy and ode, the public recognition of his homosexuality through the love story between two men, from different social classes and tastes, in a bohemian and cosmopolitan Paris over which the shadow of the AIDS virus hovers. For their part, the newspapers, which carry the suggestive subtitle of At lost times, They have been published by Anagrama in three installments between 2021 and 2023.
The last one covers the years from 2007 to a few months before his death. These are, precisely, the years of greatest literary success, when the most demanding scholars surrender to novels of the quality of Crematorium and, above all, On the shore, which earn him numerous recognitions and important awards such as the Critics’ Award or the National Narrative Award, but they are also the years of living with illnesses, with emotional and physical wear and tear, with the awareness that life is coming to an end. its end.
As happened in the first two installments, Rafael Chirbes, who in public life passed for a modest man, little friend of social relations and interviews, of the movement of the literary world (perhaps, for this reason, the recognition came to him late), he expresses himself openly to us, giving his opinion on the most varied topics, from everyday affairs to national politics and, above all, that of his land, where he shows a very critical attitude towards the corruption of public powers in the terrible years of the urban planning blow.
There is also room for value judgments about colleagues (these are, perhaps, the episodes that arouse the greatest morbid interest) and, especially, for literary criticism because Chirbes reveals himself to us as a compulsive reader, a highly cultured man and with a deep knowledge of the best classical and contemporary literature. However, the most beautiful and emotional moments of this book are found in the passages where Rafael appears simply, that fragile and tired man who observes the inexorable passage of life from the window of his room, who contemplates the agony of his cat. , unable to call the veterinarian to perform euthanasia, and who accepts his tragic fate, although he later incurs human regret.
Read At lost times It does not precisely mean, for the reader, that delving into them is a waste of time, but rather the joyful adventure of delving into the thoughts and experiences of one of the most lucid and upright writers of recent years that, with this great posthumous work, elevates and dignifies a genre that is rarely cultivated in our country.
Author: Rafael Chirbes
Title: ‘Diary. At times lost 5 and 6’.
Place of publication: Barcelona