Book Notes: Manuel Vilas’s Ordesa

This is supposed to be the mega important crisis novel everybody is going crazy about right now, but God, how I hated it. Vilas is this very stereotypical postmodern writer whose novels are like Seinfeld without the jokes. You know the kind of thing. Everything is meaningless, we are all going to die, there won’t be any hint of a plot, the narrative is aggressively fragmented, etc. I don’t like this kind of literature but I used to like Vilas. I think there are some reviews of his previous novels on the blog somewhere.

This novel, though, just stank. The sentence “we will all die anyway” is repeated at least a hundred times. The whole thing is beyond soppy. Here are a few quotes to give you, folks, a taste:

“My son was born the same day his grandparents got married. Coincidence? If coincidence is the same thing as love, then sure.”

“Victims are always irredeemable. That is, contemptible. People love heroes, not victims.” And I’m like, move to the US, you boring sumbitch, and you’ll get all the victim appreciation you’ll ever need.

“Cookies that are past their expiration date are like dead bodies.”

“It was never easy to smell clean. Historically, it was never easy. Don’t forget that if you smell clean, that’s because others don’t.”

“If I caress my kitchen, that’s like caressing my mother’s soul. If I caress all of the kitchens in the world, it’s like caressing the slavery of millions of women whose names were erased and are now music.”

“Life’s complexity doesn’t exist. It’s a lie. All that exists are the people you love. There’s nothing but love.”

“The only meaningful thing in life is to know that somewhere somebody is waiting for you. That’s the only real achievement.”

Four hundred pages of this shit. Everything is meaningless. We are all going to die. There is an economic crisis but who cares if we are all going to die anyway. It’s all meaningless. Except love. Because love is so lovely. Until you die. And then everything is meaningless. Except love. Which is very lovely. I like love. But I don’t like death. Because it’s not lovely.

The novel is enjoying great success because it’s like a litany of Facebook posts. It’s soothing in its absolute inanity.

I urgently need to read something smart because I feel like my IQ has dropped to below 100 while I was reading this novel.

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