Mil cretinos: cuentos sin prisa

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Pablo Ramírez

Los cuentos tienen doble cara, tanto para el escritor, como para el lector. Todo aquél que empieza a escribir hace sus primeros intentos en este género, pero sólo los autores consagrados llegan a dominar la técnica: la precisión quirúrgica para elegir cada palabra y el absoluto control del ánimo desbordado de querer decirlo todo, cuando sólo es necesario contar lo que es verdaderamente relevante para el relato. Lo mismo sucede con el lector: para quien se inicia en la  lectura tal vez lo más recomendable sea empezar con historias breves, rápidas y contundentes. Sin embargo, el lector ya curtido sabe que un cuento no puede leerse tan rápidamente como parecería, pues lo que se dice entre líneas es igualmente importante que lo que está escrito en blanco y negro.

 Mil Cretinos, del catalán Quim Monzó, presenta diecinueve relatos cortos que buscan, con eficiencia, superar la desventaja tradicional que los libros de cuentos tienen respecto de las novelas. Y es que éstas tienen un tronco narrativo principal, con una serie de ramificaciones que se desprenden de él, lo complementan, enriquecen, ponen en diversas perspectivas y, necesariamente, se reintegran para formar una unidad. Esta unidad las hace más perdurables en la mente del lector, quien al recordar una novela ya leída, podrá decir, al menos, de qué va el argumento fundamental, quienes eran los personajes que más le hayan llamado la atención y, tal vez, algunos detalles del ir y venir narrativo que haya intentado el autor. Por el contrario, las recopilaciones de relatos breves constan de varias o muchas historias individuales que son una unidad en sí misma, de poca extensión y sin ramificaciones, de personajes que muchas veces no tienen siquiera nombre, de situaciones que son planteadas únicamente en los rasgos estrictamente indispensables para su comprensión. Por ello, el lector que recuerde el título de algún libro de cuentos, difícilmente recordará todos y cada uno de los relatos y de los personajes, tal vez dos o tres que se destaquen del resto.

 Sin embargo, la virtud de Mil Cretinos es que busca la unidad, cuando menos al interior de las dos partes en que se divide el volumen. Los cuentos de la primera parte son de extensión media, de entre doce y treinta páginas. La extensión no es fundamental, sin embargo nos plantean una serie de situaciones que cuestionan ciertas actitudes específicas que los individuos y las sociedades tenemos respecto de determinados temas. La indignidad con que muchos ancianos viven; la mezquindad que nos mueve a realizar actos que, a los ojos de los demás, parecen nobles; lo fácil que se pasa del elogio al desprecio, de la adulación al vituperio, de las muestras de amistad o amor al abandono, cuando los primeros son exagerados y, por tanto, presumiblemente falsos. Pero también, cómo de hechos aparentemente banales, como mirar por la ventana, la mente nos puede llevar a cuestionarnos a nosotros mismos la forma en que transitamos por el mundo. Mención aparte merecen el primer y el tercer relato, pues sin llegar a ser de corte fantástico, estiran la cuerda del conflicto hasta llevarla al absurdo, pero de forma tal que el cuento y el lector dan el paso al mundo de ficción de forma natural y sin sobresaltos.

 La segunda parte del libro  transcurre entre doce cuentos de mucha menor extensión y menos aliento narrativo, pero que demuestran que, para el ojo atento, un instante es suficiente para hacer literatura. Escenas que se aprecian de un solo golpe de vista, conflictos que no provocarán cambios radicales en los personajes, pero que en el preciso instante en que ocurren les exigen máxima atención, lo que provoca la tensión narrativa necesaria para que el lector siga hasta el punto final. Los príncipes azules no siempre son tan efectivos como se dice en los cuentos de hadas; la decisión libre de un individuo pudo cambiar incluso la historia de todo el mundo occidental; ciertas personas para quienes la apariencia está primero que todo lo demás; la paradoja de padecer insomnio y que, al momento preciso en que el sueño está cayendo, te impidan dormir; la insistencia de algunas personas por querer que los otros sean como ellos quieren que sean. Todo ello pasa en un tronido de dedos y si el lector no está atento el tren se irá sin que haya tomado su asiento.

 Si bien unos cuentos son mejores que otros, la unidad la logra el autor mediante el tono, ese tono pausado de quien se sienta, enciende su cigarro y da un trago a su café, para luego platicarte, con toda la calma de quien no tiene prisa por llegar a ningún lado, algo que le ocurrió ayer, antier, la semana pasada. Y como no tiene prisa, con total congruencia dosifica los sucesos, de forma tal que le permite al lector dialogar y participar en el trazo del cuadro, con lo que ejercitará un poco su imaginación y su memoria estará mejor dispuesta para recordar los detalles de la charla.

  Mil Cretinos de Quim Monzó, publicado en  Anagrama, enero 2010, Barcelona, 170 pp.

RL

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