Álvaro Uribe: el oficio del escritor

La literatura es conflicto. Toda obra narrativa se sustenta en un conflicto que altera el orden preexistente, que se enreda y que, a final de cuentas, se resuelve, o no. Y la primera fuente de conflicto, por temporalidad y por cercanía, necesariamente es la familia. Casi todas las relaciones familiares tienen su grado de rispidez, quizás porque uno no escoge a sus padres o hermanos y porque desde el comienzo mismo de todo nos vemos obligados a convivir, disfrutar y padecer.

Al ser la fuente más inmediata y, tal vez, obvia de conflicto, muchas veces los escritores lo pasan por alto y prefieren buscar el “gran tema”, lo “trascendental”, cuando las tramas más interesantes las podemos encontrar al alcance de la mano.

En El taller del tiempo (2003), Álvaro Uribe (Ciudad de México, 1953) detecta el conflicto primigenio: la lucha eterna entre padre e hijo. Si lo observa uno bien, quienes siempre están en competencia son los hijos varones con su padre, nunca con su madre, y ésta, rara vez, con sus hijas mujeres.

Quizá sea la cultura patriarcal, quizás el vil machismo, pero el padre siempre está en conflicto con el hijo varón. Por la dominancia dentro de la familia, por la aprobación que busca el vástago, por la motivación que quiere implementar el progenitor, por la necesidad de generar y tener una personalidad autónoma y no seguir simplemente la inercia. El caso es que siempre, casi siempre, luchan y están en conflicto, y es una batalla que a todos nos marca, determinando muchos patrones de conducta.

Desde el conflicto más básico, construye una trama en la que Miguel Segundo lucha por desmarcarse de su padre, Miguel Primero, pero con esa batalla en el inconsciente, impone un régimen del terror para obligar a su propio hijo, Miguel Tercero, a que le demuestre que es merecedor del nombre y digno sucesor en la línea patriarcal. A partir de la relación personal originaria, teje una historia compleja que desde el mero principio atrapa al lector, pues poco a poco se va intensificando el seductor aroma de la tragedia. Arranca desde los orígenes y llega a lo extraordinario.

Este mismo patrón sigue la estructura de la novela: a partir de las reglas fundamentales de la narrativa, construye un andamiaje muy elaborado en el que diferentes personajes, con distintas voces y desde su propio punto de vista, cuentan su parte de la historia, para que al final, el lector la conozca completa, de principio a fin. Uribe respeta los principios básicos de la técnica, construye escenas que funcionan y se suceden tersamente una a otra. En cada secuencia va generando expectativas mediante la dosificación de la información, que al transcurrir de las páginas cumple o defrauda, pero no deja cabos sueltos: tiene un planteamiento, desarrollo, clímax y desenlace bien definidos, con sus puntos de giro bien identificados. Entre cada punto de giro introduce sucesos que impulsan la trama al abrir posibilidades de entre las cuales, los personajes tienen que elegir. Vamos, los fundamentos mismos de la narrativa están ahí.

Sin embargo, no sólo están ahí, están puestos en función de la trama, manejados con oficio, con dominio de las herramientas del orfebre. Algunos ejemplos:

El narrador –los diversos narradores– no genera sobresaltos en la lectura, se limita a contar lo que pasa. No incurre en la tentación de explicar las cosas, deja que el lector haga sus deducciones y arme el rompecabezas por su cuenta. La prosa es limpia y precisa, no hay palabras que sobren, pero tampoco se echan de menos cuando la intensidad de la historia lo requiere. El estilo acompaña y lubrica la lectura, no la dificulta, como en muchos casos de autores que quieren innovar, pero sin un sustento dramático. Estamos pues ante un escritor con el oficio bien entrenado.

Una vez dominados los aspectos técnicos, el autor siente la seguridad de diseñar una estructura narrativa compleja. Con las bases bien puestas, ejecuta un salto mortal en la temporalidad de la narración. No hay narrador único que cuente de principio a fin la saga de los Migueles, sino que en cada capítulo cambia la voz, el tono, la perspectiva, la incidencia en el devenir de los hechos, la forma de contar.

Una charla, una carta, un discurso de ultratumba. Unos en el presente, otros en el futuro inmediato, unos más varios años después, uno desde la eternidad y alguno atemporal. Uribe no le permite al lector llevarse por la inercia, pues cuando este se ha familiarizado con el devenir de la lectura, termina el capítulo y cambia la clave.

Con todo, lo realmente interesante en la construcción de la novela es que cada narrador aporta información que los demás ignoran, al tiempo que desconoce lo que otros sí saben. Así, cada uno va poniendo retazos que al final constituyen el vestido completo.

Sin embargo, la forma no es lo único relevante. El conflicto entre los Migueles desemboca en preguntas, tal vez dirigidas a la imaginación, pero que afectan el centro mismo de las personas. ¿Si pudieras regresar en el tiempo, qué cambiarías de tu vida? ¿Qué le pedirías al diablo a cambio de tu alma? La respuesta a estas dos preguntas dan movimiento al capítulo final, en el que Miguel Segundo y el Diablo negocian las condiciones de su contrato. El primero pide regresar a la media hora en que pudo cambiar el destino trágico de su familia –pero sabe, el lector sabe– que para eso debe regresar casi veinte años y quitarse de encima la carga psicológica de la lucha con su padre, Miguel Primero. Todo esto se sucede en una última escena de altísima intensidad, en la que se concentran y se agitan todos los elementos dramáticos que se esparcieron a lo largo de las páginas y que ahora resuenan, que ahora se agitan dentro de la coctelera. El resultado de ello, es una tragedia cuyo ciclo parece cerrarse en un círculo perfecto que no tiene ni principio ni fin, y que se repite una y otra vez, eternamente.

La forma y el fondo se conjugan y complementan. Aunque hay algunos detalles, en esta ocasión vale la pena ser permisivo. El taller del tiempo es un verdadero drama familiar que afecta al lector, contado con todo el oficio del sastre. En una reseña en Letras Libres, publicada en septiembre de 2003, Rafael Lemus concluye que las costuras quedan a la vista. Yo difiero, creo que las costuras están tan bien zurcidas que no se notan, no sobresaltan y son armónicas. Puro y duro oficio de buen escritor, lo cual es cada vez más difícil de encontrar.

RMM/PR

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