Jacobo “Jacó” Guinsburg — (1921-2018) — Escritor e professor judaico brasileiro/Brazilian Jewish Writer and Professor — “Reforçando Forças”/”Gathering Strength” — Cuento/Short-story

Jacó Guinsburg — 97 anos

Jacobo (Jacó) Guinsburg emigrou para o Brasil com seus pais em 1924, com três anos de idade, onde, anos depois, integrou-se ao intenso processo de movimentação política e intelectual no país, acompanhando de perto a renovação do teatro brasileiro. Escreveu na imprensa de São Paulo e do Rio de Janeiro sobre literatura brasileira, judaica e internacional, tornando-se colaborador constante em revistas da comunidade judaica com artigos no campo das artes, da literatura e, inclusive, da crítica teatral. Entre suas obras encontram-se Stanislavski e o Teatro de Arte de Moscou, Aventuras de uma Língua Errante – Ensaio de Literatura e Teatro Ídiche, Leone De Sommi: Um Judeu no Teatro da Renascença Italiana, Guia Histórico da Literatura Hebraica, Dicionário do Teatro Brasileiro, Diálogos Sobre Teatro, Stanislavski, Meierhold Cia & Ensaios de Teatro Russo, Semiologia do Teatro, Da Cena em Cena e inúmeros ensaios de estética e história do teatro, traduções e edição de várias obras sobre DiderotLessingBuechner e Nietzsche. É editor das obras completas de Anatol Rosenfeld, importante crítico e teórico de teatro que viveu no Brasil depois da Segunda Guerra Mundial. Como editor participou das editoras Rampa 1946, Perspectiva (a primeira com esse nome), Difusão Européia do Livro – Difel, fundando posteriormente a atual Editora Perspectiva voltada para a edição de obras de vanguarda. Fez cursos de filosofia na Sorbonne 1962 e 1963. Sempre acompanhando o movimento inovador do teatro e das artes brasileiras é chamado pelo diretor Gerald Thomas como um ensaísta e “acadêmico de vanguarda”. Começou sua intensa carreira como professor de crítica teatral na Escola de Arte Dramática (EAD) em 1964, ingressando posteriormente – 1967 na Escola de Comunicações e Artes da Universidade de São Paulo, ECA/USP, assumindo finalmente a cadeira de estética teatral em que se tornou formador e estimulador de grande número dos principais críticos, teóricos e mestres do teatro brasileiro, tendo recebido o título de Professor Emérito. Faleceu em São Paulo em 21 de outubro de 2018 , aos 97 anos.

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Jacobo (Jacó) Guinsburg emigrated to Brazil with his parents in 1924, at the age of three, where, years later, he joined the intense process of political and intellectual movement in the country, closely following the renovation of the Brazilian theater. He wrote in the São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro press about Brazilian, Jewish and international literature, becoming a constant contributor to journals in the Jewish community with articles in the field of arts, literature and even theater criticism. Among his works are Stanislavski and the Moscow Art Theater, Adventures of a Wandering Language – Essay on Literature and Yiddish Theater, Leone De Sommi: A Jew in the Italian Renaissance Theater, Historical Guide to Hebrew Literature, Dictionary of the Brazilian Theater , Theater Dialogues, Stanislavski, Meierhold Cia & Rehearsals of Russian Theater, Theater Semiology, Da Cena em Cena and numerous essays on theater aesthetics and history, translations and editing of various works on Diderot, Lessing, Buechner and Nietzsche. He is the editor of the complete works of Anatol Rosenfeld, an important theater critic and theorist who lived in Brazil after the Second World War. As editor he participated in the publishing houses Rampa 1946, Perspectiva (the first with that name), European Book Diffusion – Difel, subsequently founding the current Editora Perspectiva dedicated to the edition of avant-garde works. He took philosophy courses at the Sorbonne 1962 and 1963. Always following the innovative movement of Brazilian theater and arts, he is called by director Gerald Thomas as an essayist and “avant-garde academic”. He began his intense career as a professor of theater criticism at the School of Dramatic Art (EAD) in 1964, later joining – 1967 at the School of Communications and Arts at the University of São Paulo, ECA / USP, finally assuming the chair of theatrical aesthetics in which he he became a trainer and stimulator of a large number of the main critics, theorists and masters of Brazilian theater, having received the title of Professor Emeritus. He died in São Paulo on October 21, 2018, at the age of 97.

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“Refazendo As Forças”

         Strulik acordou aquela manhã com torpor no corpo inteiro. Não conseguia sair da cama. Parecia-lhe ter o peso de um elefante. A muito custo chegou a abrir um olho, o que não quer dizer que pudesse abrir o outro. Pensou para si: Que kholerie é essa? Já deve ser tarde! E, enquanto puxava um braço para frente a fim de esticar-se, fez um esforço inaudito para erguer a segunda pálpebra. De repente, deu consigo mesmo de olho no relógio. Mas não pôde ver nada – um longo bocejo o assaltou. E foi exatamente quando estava com a boca escancarada que uma voz aguda, vinda da cozinha, lhe perfurou o tímpano:

         — Você pensa que todo dia é sábado?

         Não teve dúvida de perdera a hora. Mal pôde saltar da cama. Aos trancos foi fazer o que devia fazer para vestir-se. E, aí passar a mão cheia de água fria no rosto, com o arrepio que ela lhe causou, ocorre-lhe que algo de estravo estava acontecendo com ele.

         Não era possível que, com aquele corpo que agüentara todo o exército polaco nas costas e que sempre pronto a entrar em ação ao primeiro toque do corneteiro, estivesse ali todo quebrado de preguiça. Por que seria? Nesta semana não havia trabalhado mais do que nas outras e podia jurar que não havia tinha bebido um gole além do que do costume. Devia ser esgotamento…e lembrou-se: O Haim-Iankel teve uma coisa assim. No meia da sua, sentiu que a cabeça não era mais dele, estava zonzo. Foi ao Dr. Krekhtz que, no intervalo diagnóstico de um suspiro e um gemido, como sempre, receitou-lhe aquele xarope do anúncio no bonde, o Biotônico Fontoura. Ele tomou, e sarou, e, como não podia deixar de ser, continuou zonzo. Mas eu não estou… Ah, já sei, o que estou precisando é das férias!

         Mas logo agora? Nem pensar! É começo do mês. Tenho que fazer a cobrança. Se não, Dona Maria gasta todo o dinheiro. Isto é certo, tão certo quanto Adonai é Um. Mas o que é isso?!  A moleza não larga. Pareço um trapo. É, não da pra deixar pra depois. Preciso mesmo de férias, e pra já. Ah, sim, por que não no fim do mês? O pessoal fica sem um tostão, não compra, nem paga. Está resolvido. Só falta conversar com ela. Ih, já pensou? Vai soltar um falatório danado… Que precisamos primeiro arrumar a casa que vai ficar ainda mais cansada do que está correndo atrás das crianças… e todo o resto.

         Mas o Brodski me contou que levou a família para passar uns dias com Santos, na Pensão Flickman, sem gastar muito, e que encontrou lá uma turma toda, até gente do Farain, que foi muito agradável: as mulheres num lado, os homens no outro, as crianças no meio, ou melhor, nos dois lados ao mesmo tempo, uma comida caseira e um papo solto. Acho que é uma excelente ideia, mesmo porque eu só conheço o mar de cima, do alto do navio, e a Dvoire, nem isso, pois ela deve tê-lo posto fora de si, com é bem capaz – durante toda a sua viajem, ele só esteve com raiva, sacudiu  o vapor pra lá e pra cá, para todos os lados e botou todos os irmãos e irmãos de navio, de olhos vidrados cima e de boca aberta baixo. E de mais a mais, a praia vai lhe fazer

bem. Ela não precisa mergulhar, basta boiar. O todo é bom pros nervos y pra saúde. E como li no Der Tog (O Dia) naquele artigo Schvim in lam um Schlof in Bet (nade no mar e durma na cama). E o ar? Erma na cama. E o ar? É puro, mesmo como os navios soltando fumaça no porto. E o sol nem há de dizer! Uma delícia! Volta-se de lá outro, com as forças refeitas. Não há o que pensar. É isto mesmo – E fechou a torneira da pia.

         Enquanto enxugava o rosto, mobilizando as forças para ir à luta e estudando os seus possíveis desdobramentos bem como as táticas que deveria adotar para sair são e salvo a casa e chegar inteiro a praia, tanto mais quanto no íntimo não deixava  de concordar que sua mulher, quanto calada, era até uma boa cabeça, e ele precisava guarnecer seus motivos de razões à prova de choros, gritos e astúcias de Eva, deu-se conta de que corria real perigo. Pois, recordou ele, tomando posição de combate, como lhe haviam ensinado os mestres para um argumento só um contra-argumento.

         De fato, ela vai repetir que nós não temos condições, mas outro dia veio com a história de que a Ester-Malke foi pra aquela stantzie, como se chama? Ah, Poços de Caldas…e contou maravilhas: hotel com mármores e escadarias, candelabros de cristal e ouro em todo quarto, jardins cheios de flores, restaurante com piano, garção que leva e traz comida platzground para crianças brincar e correr, banhos quentes, banhos frios, águas com cheiro, com bolinha, com rádio, uma verdadeira vesserbod, um lugar por madames, uma Karlsbad, disse ela como quem não diz nada…E o que sabe ela de Karlsbad? De onde, da taberna do pai dela? Da mikve, da casa de banhos do schtetl?… E Santos é logo ali, basta descer a serra, enquanto esse kurort, esse paraíso das águas, fica onde nem o demônio chega. Um dia inteiro de chacoalharão de ônibus e poeira de estrada. A gente vai sujo, toma banho e volta sujo. Isto é coisa que entre na cabeça de uma pessoa? E como se não fosse pouco, é preciso levar pra de manhã, de tarde e de noite, e roupões pra entra na banheira e sair de banheira, ainda bem que fornecem as toalhas de graça. E haja malas para pôr carregar toda essa tralha. Vai ser um tal de mala, maleta, bolsa, bolsinha, é meu descanso? Vai por água abaixo, pro ralo. Nem pensar! Pra que eu preciso de tudo isso? No Flickmann fica-se com em casa, a gente atravessa a rua e já está no mar. E para entrar n’agua, não precisa de roupa nenhuma, e só cobrir as vergonhas. Um pedaço de pano chega…um maiô o que pode custar? Era estocada final. Srulik pendurou a toalha.

              Foi quando, transpondo as alturas, se fez ouvir de novo a convocação: — Onde você se meteu? Belo exemplo, você dá para os seus filhos! –E Srulik com a certeza de haver alcançado a luz de verdade que somete os mestres alcançam em seus sábios conselhos, caminhou impávido para o campo de gloria.

14 de outubro de 2000

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“Restoring Strength”

Strulik woke up that morning with a torpor in his entire body. He wasn’t able to get out of bed. It seemed to him that he had the weight of an elephant. With great effort, he succeeded in opening an eye, which doesn’t mean to say that he could open the other. He thought to himself: What cholerie is that? It must be late already. And, while he pulled an arm forward to stretch it out, he made an extraordinary effort to raise a second eyelid. Suddenly, he glanced at the clock. But he can’t see anything—a long yawn assaulted him. And it was exactly then with his mouth wide-open, that a shrill voice, coming from the kitchen, perforated his ear drum:

         “Do you think every day is Saturday?”

He didn’t doubt that he lost track of time. He barely could get out of bed. With jerking motions, he did what he needed to do to dress himself.  And, there, splash a handful of cold water on his face. With the shiver that it caused him made him think that something strange was happening to him.

         It wasn’t possible that, with that body that had toughed out  being in the Polish army without trouble, was always quick to go into action at the first blast from the bugler, could be there all bound up by sloth. Why would that be? This week, he hadn’t worked more than in others, and he could swear that the hadn’t drunk alcohol a slug more than usual. It must be exhaustion. . . , and he remembered: Haim-Yankel had something like that. In the middle of the street, he felt that his head was no longer his; he was dizzy. He went to Dr Krekhtz, who, in the diagnostic interval between a sigh and a moan, as always, prescribed that syrup advertised on the streetcars, Biotonic. He took it, and was cured, and he as couldn’t stop being who he was, he remained dizzy. But, I’m not . . . , what I need is a few days of rest!

But right now? Unthinkable. It’s the beginning of the month. I have to make my collections. If not, Doña Maria will spend all the money. That’s for sure, as sure as Adam and Eve. But what is this? Weakness won’t let me. It seems like a trap. And, it can’t be left for later. I need those days off, right now. Ah, yes, why wait until the end of the month? The people will still have no money, they don’t buy, they don’t pay. It’s settled. It’s only necessary to talk with her. Has it occurred to her already? She’ll let out a damn stream of babbling… That we first need to clean up the house, that she will then be more tired than she already is, running after the children…, and all the rest.

         But Brodski told me that he took his family to spend a few days near Santos, in the Flickmann Guest House, without spending much, and that he found there a gang of folks; even people from Farain, who were very pleasant; women on one side, men on the other, the children in the middle, or better yet, on both sides at the same time, a home-cooked meal and a lot of chit-chat. I think that it is a great idea, precisely because I only know the sea from above, from the height of a ship, and Dvoire, my daughter, not even that, since she should be in the water—as she is well able—during the entire vacation. Only he was angry, shook at the hot air this way and everyway and put all the brothers and the sisters from the ship, with glassed-over eyes above and open mouths, below. And more and more, the coast made him feel good. It wasn’t necessary to dive in, it was enough to float. And all of it is good for the nerves and for health. And as he read in Der Tog (The Day) in that article Schvim in lam um Schlof in Bet (Swim in the Sea and sleep in Bed). And the air? It’s pure, just like the ships letting out smoke in the port. And about the sun, what can you say? A pleasure! You return from there a new person, with strength restored. There is nothing to think about. It’s exactly this – And he turned off a sink faucet.

While he dried his face, mobilizing the strength to go to battle and studying his possible explanations well and the tactics that he ought to adopt to come out safe and sound at home and arrive whole at the shore, as down deep, he didn’t stop believing that his wife, when quiet, was even a good thinker, and she needed to adorn her motives behind reasons, the proof with crying, yelling and the astuteness of Eve. He understood that he faced a true danger. Therefore, he remembered, taking on a combat position, as his teachers had, taught him to beat an argument with a counter-argument.

In fact, she was going to say again that we don’t have the money, but just the other day, she learned that Ester-Malke went to that stanzie, what’s it called? Ah, Poços de Caldas. . . And she told of marvels: hotel with marble and staircases, candelabras of crystal and gold in every room, gardens packed full of flowers, a garcon who brings and takes the food, a platzground for the children to jump and run, hot baths, cold baths, scented water, with a ball, with radio, a true vesserbod, a place for ladies, a Karlsbad, she says as if it were nothing unusual. . . And what does she know about Karlsbad? From where, from her father’s tavern? From the mikve, the bathhouse in the schtetl?. . .  And Santos is already there, just descend the mountain range, as for that kurot, that paradise of waters, it is set where even the devil won’t go. An entire day shaking in the bus in the highway dust. The people go there dirty, take their baths and return dirty. Do people even think of that? And as if that were nothing. It is necessary to bring clothing for the morning, the afternoon and evening, clothes to enter the baths, and there have to be bags in which to carry all this junk. It’s going to be a valise, a suitcase, a bag, a purse, and my rest? What do I need with all of this? Do they go under water, to the drain? Unthinkable! What do I need all of this for? At Flickmann’s, you are at home, the people cross the road, and right there is the sea. To get into the water, you don’t need any clothes at all, only to cover your private parts. A piece of cloth is enough… a bathing suit, what could that cost? It was a last thrust. Strulik hung up the towel.

         It was when, crossing the heavens, a convocation was newly opened:  What were you involved in? Good example! You give to your children! And Strulik, with the certainty of reached the light of truth that only the masters reach in their wise advice, walked undaunted toward the field of glory.                           

October 14, 2000

Translation by Stephen A. Sadow

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Estudios

  • Antropologia Aplicada
  • Aventuras de uma Língua Errante: Ensaios de Literatura e Teatro Ídiche, 1996, reelaboração e desenvolvimento de sua tese de doutorado com o mesmo título, de 1973;
  • Buchner – Na Pena e Na Cena
  • Cabala, Cabalismo e Cabalistas
  • Cacilda Becker: A Face e a Máscara, 1983, ao lado de Maria Thereza Vargas, ensaio que consta do livro: Uma Atriz: Cacilda Becker, de Nanci Fernandes e Maria Thereza Vargas.
  • Círculo Linguístico De Praga
  • Classicismo
  • Contos De I. L. Peretz
  • Conto Ídiche
  • Da Cena em Cena: Ensaios de Teatro, 2001, livro que aborda aspectos relevantes de concepções e correntes estéticas no teatro.
  • Diálogo sobre a Natureza do Teatro
  • Dicionário do Teatro Brasileiro
  • Diderot – Obras
  • Encenador De Si Mesmo
  • Evreinov: o Teatro da Vida
  • Expressionismo
  • Filosofia Do Judaismo
  • Guia Histórico da Literatura Hebraica
  • Ideia do Teatro
  • Judeu e a Modernidade
  • Leone de’Sommi, Homem de Teatro do Renascimento, 1989, com a tradução da primeira comédia hebraica de autoria de Leone de’Sommi
  • Linguagem e Mito
  • Meierhold e Grotowski
  • Nascimento da Tragédia
  • Nova e Velha Patria
  • Patriota, R. (org.) Jaco Guinsburg. A Cena em Aula. Itinerários de um Professor em Devir. SP: Edusp, 2009. Transcrição de aulas do professor e artigos de especialistas sobre o mestre.
  • Paz Perpétua
  • Pequena Estética
  • Pós-Dramático
  • Pós-Modernismo
  • Prazer do Texto
  • Quarenta anos de Habima.
  • Quatro Mil Anos de Poesia
  • Que Aconteceu, Aconteceu
  • Romantismo
  • Semiologia do Teatro, 1986, de cuja organização também participam Teixeira Coelho e Reni Chaves Cardoso
  • Sobre Anatol Rosenfeld
  • Stanislávski e o Teatro de Arte de Moscou, 1985, baseado na sua tese de Livre-Docência, pela Editora Perspectiva
  • Stanislavski, Meierhold & Cia
  • Surrealismo.
  • Teatro-Studio
  • Tairov: Notas para um Teatro de Síntese
  • Vanguarda e Absurdo, uma Cena de Nosso Tempo

Traduçãos

  • História da Sociologia, de Gaston Bouthoul, volume 3 da Coleção Saber Atual, da Difel, tradução de “Histoire de la sociologie”, lançado em 1954.[2]
  • As Sociedades Secretas, de Serge Hutin, volume 7 da Coleção Saber Atual, da Difel, tradução de “Les sociétés secrètes”, 1954.[3]
  • As Doutrinas Econômicas, de Joseph Lajugie, volume 12 da Coleção Saber Atual, da Difel, tradução de “Les doctrines économiques”, 1955.[3]
  • O Marxismo, de Henri Lefebvre, volume 19 da Coleção Saber Atual, da Difel, tradução de “Le marxisme“, 1955.[2][4]
  • O Existencialismo, de Paul Foulquié, volume 20 da Coleção Saber Atual, da Difel, tradução de “L’Existentialisme”. Teve 3 edições, a primeira em 1955,[2][5] e a última em 1975.
  • A Estética, de Denis Huisman, volume 21 da Coleção Saber Atual, da Difel, tradução de “L’esthétique“, 1955.[2]
  • A Literatura Russa, de Marcelle Ehrhard volume 32 da Coleção Saber Atual, da Difel, 1ª edição 1956.
  • A Magia, de Jérome Antoine Rony, volume 43 da Coleção Saber Atual, da Difel, tradução de “La magie”, 1957.[3]
  • Crimes e Crimes, de Strindberg, em 1952, publicado pela Edusp, em 1999
  • O Dibuk, de Sch. Ans-ki, publicado em 1952, reeditado em 1965 pela Brasiliense e, em 1988, pela Perspectiva
  • Pirandello: do Teatro no Teatro, Perspectiva, 1999.
  • República – Platão

Prêmios

  • Aos 87 anos e em plena atividade, Jacó Guinsburg recebe o Prêmio Shell de Teatro (2009) por sua contribuição ao pensamento crítico do teatro no Brasil.

Isabel Balla (1898-1980) — Novelista y poeta judío-húngara-argentina /Hungarian Argentine Jewish Novelist and Poet — ¡Vuelve a casa, Mabel!/ “Come home, Mabel!” — Cuento/Short-story

Isabel Balla

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Isabel Balla nació en Budapest, Hungría, en 1898. Su primer volumen de poesía, publicado en Hungría, irradiaba un sentimiento de amor y alegría de vivir. Ella y su esposo sobrevivieron al Holocausto que siguió en su país, pero muchos de los miembros de su familia fueron víctimas de la catástrofe, y esta tragedia alteró drásticamente el tono de su escritura. En 1954 se mudó con su esposo a Argentina, donde habían enviado a sus dos hijos. Allí se sumergió en numerosas actividades literarias y culturales y publicó obras tanto en español como en húngaro. Su poesía y artículos críticos aparecieron en Canadá e Israel, además de Argentina. In 1989, apareció her testimonial Avenida Jószef 79. She died in 1980.

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Isabel Balla was born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1898. Her first volume of poetry, published in Hungary, radiated a sense of love and joie de vivre. She and her husband survived the ensuing Holocaust in their country, but many of her family members were victims of the catastrophe, and this tragedy drastically altered the tone of her writing. In 1954 she moved with her husband to Argentina, where their two children had been sent. There she immersed herself in many literary and cultural activities and published works both in Spanish and Hungarian. Her poetry and critical articles appeared in Canada and Israel, as well as Argentina. In 1989 appeared her testimonial novel Avenida Jószef 79. She died in 1980.

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Cuento de:/Story from: Isabel Balla. Aaron, el flautista. Buenos Aires: Editorial Milá, 1992, 23-28.

“¡Vuelve a casa, Mabel!”

Querida Mabel:

         El tubo de ventilación de la chimenea está tapado, el humo invade la habitación y el aire se toma irrespirable. Si abro la ventana, entran las emanaciones de la fábrica acompañadas con el estruendo de las nuevas máquinas, Todo es desagradable pero ¡no has más remedio! Debo acostumbrarme y, además ¡estar contento! Vivo en un departamento, inmediato a la fábrica, que me corresponde por mi jubilación y ¡sobre todo! No pago alquiler.

         Me extraña que puedas permanecer tanto tiempo lejos y que la conciencia no te obligue a regresar a casa. Nadie te niega el derecho a dedicarte a la pintura, pero dejar la familia para buscar nuevos horizontes en un país lejano es una locura!

         Podrías pintar aquí. En Londres no todos los días hay niebla y, muchas veces, en las primeras horas de la tarde, se asoma el sol. Pienso que malgastas tu tiempo, y el dinero pues, que yo sepa, no has vendido no un solo cuadro.

         Jeff me roba en las cuentas de los gastos. ¡Sí, ya lo sé!, pero no pretenderías que me ocupe también de las compras. Me basta y sobra con el trabajo de la casa, no olvides que sufro de lumbago—todas las noches me pongo una bolsa de agua caliente.

         Tu hija me escribe muy raras veces. Cuando se digna hacerlo, alude sin disimulo que le gustaría recibir regalos. Tu hijo es tan irresponsable como siempre. ¿A quién saldrá?

         No me convence el argumento con el que pretendes justificar que te sacrificaste por la familia durante treinta años; que educaste a nuestros hijos y ahora quiere vivir tu propia vida; que tiene talento; que siempre quisiste pintar y nunca pudiste hacerlo. ¿Cómo puedes hablar así? ¿Cómo se te ocurrió abandonarme por un lumbago, con Jeff y los quehaceres de la casa? Me resigno: ¡pinta! Pero aquí, a pesar de que detesto el caballete manchado. ¿No ves que se rompe la simetría y trastorna el orden del living?

         Estoy asombrado. Encontré dos cuadros tuyos. Esas manchas que flotan, ¿Son pájaros? ¿Son pico y pluma? No hay precisión ni disciplina, todo es borroso e ininteligible. Muy tuyo. Pero no importa, pinta si quieres.

         Te declaro una vez más que no te doy el divorcio. Vuelve a casa, Mabel.

                                                                                          Jonathan

Querida Mabel:

         Ya sabes que “mamá” “mamita” y otras expresiones pueriles por es estilo están pasadas de mi. Te llamo por tu nombre, que no es feo.

         Nos va regular. Aquí llueve continuamente. Me vuelve loca con estos dos chicos malcriados que al estar encerrados en casa se ponen insoportables. Por supuesto, cuando el tiempo está bueno surgen otras dificultades. Las entradas de Henry son más bien modestas, no nos alcanza para pagar una niñera. ¡Vuelve a casa, Mabel! A la nuestra a París. Sé que papá te llama desde Londres, pero él no te necesita.

Jeff no ayuda, en tanto que yo tengo que arreglármelas sola, con dos niños que son uno demonios sin poder salir con Henry cuando la sirviente tiene franco. ¡Hay que quedarse en casa y aburrirse! Henry no hace más que aludir, no muy veladamente por cierto a ti; ¡otras abuelas son abnegadas y ayudan a criar a los nietos! Si debo ser sincera creo que no le falta razón. No tendrías que haber abandonado a tu hija por la manía de pintar.

         Ven, te esperamos. Te encontrarás bien con nosotros. Dormirás en el cuarto de los niños, y a la noche, cuando ellos descansan y nosotros salimos, podrás pintar. A propósito, ¿vendiste ya algún cuadro? ¿No te aburres sola todo el día, a orillas del mar? ¿Tienes compañía?

         Podrías aprovechar la mañana en la plaza con los chicos tejiendo pulóveres para ellos. Me ahorrarás un montón de dinero. Podrías, si quieres, ayudar en la cocina, cocinas bien cuando quieres. Nadie te va a obligar a acompañarnos a reuniones de gente joven si no tienes ganas o estás cansada. Otras madres tampoco salen con sus hijas casadas. Es lo normal, al fin y al cabo pertenecemos a generaciones diferentes. Pero con las cosas de la casa y con los hijos nos van a nos vamos a entender muy bien. Si quieres, podrás comer con los chicos. No será gran sacrificio,  se trata solo un par de años, mientras mis dos demonios van a la escuela.

         Henry te manda muchos saludos. Los niños siempre preguntan por ti. Un gran beso. Te lo pido otra vez, Mabel, cuanto antes!

                                                                                                                                                                 Carola.

   Nota: ¿Podrás traerme algunas corbatas italianas de seda, de colores vivos y con dibujos de moda?

Querida Mabel:

Conoces el clima de Escocia, y sabes que sufro de reuma. La casa siempre azotada, invierno y verano, por el viento que viene del mar. Mi salud ha empeorado y Mili está cada vez más sorda y vieja, aunque no tanto en verdad como yo. Pienso que sería mejor que volvieras al lado de tu anciana madre. Yo acompañé a la mía durante sus últimos años de vida y espero que hagas lo mismo tú, Mabel. Sabes muy bien que no puedo recurrir a mi nuera.

         Nadie ve con buenos ojos que hayas decidido vivir en Italia por tiempo indeterminado. Das motivo a murmuraciones y creen que estás al borde del divorcio. Ya sabes que me opongo categóricamente; perderías tu posición social. Los escoceses somos rígidos en este punto. Tu esposo sostiene la opinión correcta –la de la burguesía bien pensante-obligatoria por todos nosotros.

Tu abuela pintaba, pero sin dejar su casa, sin ostentación y con sentido práctico. Decoraba abanicos y bomboneras con dibujos de flores, árboles y animales. Podrías imitarla. Prometo no molestarte. Te entretendrías y podrías luego venderlos. Por cierto nos vendría muy bien, pues el dinero no nos sobra. Durante las tardes tibias podríamos tomar el té en el jardín, tejer… Ya casi no veo los puntos, ¡y tú tienes tanta habilidad! Un saco de lana bien abrigado, ¿no resulta hermosa la idea?

         Aquí hay personas interesantes con quienes compartir inquietudes, el viejo maestro, mis dos amigas, la profesora de dibujo. Es una mujer joven quien tal vez te pueda enseñar algo.

         Espero que estés bien. Avísame cuando llegas.

                                                                                                                                            Tu afectuosa madre

Nota:  Trae lana para tejer.

Mamá,

         Estoy en Los Ángeles con Deby. Estamos invitados a un paseo en el yate de Lorraine. Nos sentimos maravillosamente, sólo nos falta dinero. Deby pronto va a cumplir años y no tengo ni para comprarle un regalo. ¿Por qué no me mandas uno de tus cuadros, con un marco vistoso, para obsequiárselo?

         ¿Sabes que pensé, mamá? Que podrías venir a vivir aquí en Los Ángeles. El hotel, desde el que te escribo está buscando recepcionista. Eres la primera persona indicada para el puesto pues hablas varios idiomas y eres amable. Te aseguro que ganaría mucho con las propinas. Papá no tiene que saberlo. No la entendería, es una pieza de museo.

Es comprensible que no quieres volver a aquella cuenta, yo también estoy contenta de haberlo dejado, a pesar de que tener serios problemas económicos. Papá es tacaño, lo sabes mejor que yo, no me manda ni un centavo. En cambio, tú eres generosa, mamá. Si vinieras, Deby y yo tendríamos menos preocupaciones materiales. Incluso, podríamos vivir contigo en el hotel. No tendrías que dejar de pintar pues los días francos, a la orilla del mar- que tanto te gusta-trabajarías intensamente y no resulta improbable que entre los huéspedes consiguieras algunas compradores de tus obras.

         Sería tan lindo estar juntos, tener nuevamente un hogar. Todo volverá a estar en orden.

         Hasta que tú decidas, envíame un poco de dinero. Tu hijo que te extraña.

                                                                                                                                                     Edy

Nota: Inventé una variante con doble sacudida de rodillas para el twist, que está haciendo furor. Todo el mundo me aplaude en el bar. Vas a estar orgullosa de tu hijo.

         Sigo esperándola, Mabel:

         Toda mi vida ha sido una espera. Ya es tiempo de que se cuenta de que se debe a sí misma y a mí.

         No nos permitieron casarnos. ¡yo era un pintor pobre! Tuve que resignarme a que se casara a otro. Ahora que tus hijos son grandes, ¿Qué espera para venir a mi lado? Me prometió que cuando hubiera cumplido su misión, viviría tu propia vida. Pues, llegó el momento de consagrarse a tu talento y seguir su su propio camino, que conduce a mí.

         Viviríamos en esta aldea de pescadores a la orilla del fiorido. En ninguna parte del mundo se puede ver un panorama gris como aquí. El agua del fiordo, el cielo, el aire, el horizonte, el amanecer, el ocaso, son de un hermoso color gris que tiene mil matices lilas, azules y rosados. Quisiera captar todas las vibraciones y variedades de este increíble gris.

         Su estuviera conmigo, Mabel, estoy seguro de que sabría acertar con los tonos exactos de la luz del sol en el

paisaje frío y los matices secretos de este panorama atractivo y desconcertante. Si viene y se siena junto a mí, me devolverá el entusiasmo de la juventud. Mi pelo y mi barba son blancas, pero mi corazón es joven, porque la está esperando, Mabel.

         Deseo que sea mía del todo. Soy celoso hasta la pintura. No quisiera compartirla ni con sus cuadros. Pero podrá pintar mientras yo doy una vuelta por la aldea, Cuando vuelva, se sentará a mi lado y entonces por fin captaré los matices ocultos del gris que ahora se me escapan.

         ¿Verdad que no me dejara esperar más? ¡Su lugar está aquí!

         ¡Venga cuanto antes, Mabel!

                                                                                                                                              Norberto

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“Come home, Mabel!”

Dear Mabel.

The chimney’s ventilation pipe is clogged, the smoke invades the bedroom and makes the air unbreathable. If I open the window, the odors from the factory come in, which is accompanied by the racket from the new machines which is fitting for my retirement, and above all!  I don’t pay rent. Everything is unpleasant, but there is no choice. I have to get used to it, and beyond that, be content. I live in an apartment, right next to the factory, which is suitable my retirement, and above all, I don’t pay rent .

         It puzzles me that you can stay far away for so long, and that your conscience doesn’t oblige you to return home. No one denies you your right to dedicate yourself to painting, but to leave your family to seek new horizons in a distant country seems like madness!

         You can paint here. In London, the fog doesn’t come in every single day, and often in the early hours of the evening the sun shows itself. I think that you are wasting your time and money, since, as far as I know you haven’t sold a single picture.

Jeff uses expense records to steal from me. Yes, you know that already! But you wouldn’t expect that I also take on the shopping. The housework is enough for me, don’t forget that I suffer from lumbago—every night I put on a hot water bottle.

         Your daughter hardly ever writes me. When she deigns to do so, she alludes, without trying to hide it, that she would like me to send her presents. You daughter is as irresponsible as always. Who will she become?

         The argument that with which you try to justify yourself, that you sacrificed yourself for thirty years, that you educated our children, and that now you want to live your own life; that you have talent; that you always wanted to paint and you never could do it. How can you speak that way? How did it occur to you to abandon me with lumbago, with Jeff and the chores in the house? I give up: paint! Despite the fact that I detest the stains on the easel. Don’t you see that you break the symmetry and upset the order of the living room?

I am amazed. I found two of your paintings. Those stains that float, are they birds? Are they beak and feathers? There is no precision or discipline, everything is blurred and unintelligible. Very much yours. But it doesn’t matter, paint if you want.

         I declare once again that I will not give you a divorce. Come home, Mabel

                                                                                                                                                          Jonathan

Dear Mabel:

         You already know that “mama,” “dear mother” and other childish expressions like those are passé for me. I call you by your name, which isn’t unpleasant.

         We’re getting along reasonably well. Here it rains continually. I go crazy with these two spoiled boys who being kept in the house become unbearable. Of course, when the weather is good, other problems occur. Henry’s earnings are quite modest, they are not enough to pay a nanny. Come home, Mabel! To our place in Paris. I know that Papa calls you from London, but he doesn’t need you.

         Jeff doesn’t help , so that I have to arrange for things myself with tow boys who are devils without being able to go out with Henry when the maid has her day off. We have to stay at home and get bored! Henry, doesn’t do more than allude,, to you not very veiled way, certainly other grandmothers are selfless and help in bringing up their grandchildren! If I have to be sincere, I believe that you are not unreasonable. You wouldn’t have had to abandon your daughter for the mania for painting,

         Come, we’re waiting for you. You will find it good to be with us. You will sleep in the boy’s room, and at night when they rest and we go out, you could paint. By the way, have you sold a painting yet? Don’t you get bored, alone all day, at the sea shore? Do you have people to keep you company?

You could take advantage of the mornings in the plaza with the boys, knitting pullovers for them. You will save me a lot of money. You could, if you want to, help in the kitchen; you cook very well, when you want to. Nobody will oblige you to accompany us to parties with young people if you don’t want to or are tired. Other mothers don’t go out with their married daughters either. It’s normal, and, after all, we belong to different generations. But with the house and with the children we will understand each other very well. If you wish, you can eat with the children, it won’t be a great sacrifice, we’re only talking about a couple of years, while my demons go to school.

         Henry sends his regards. The kids always ask for you. A huge kiss. I ask you once again, Mabel, as soon as possible.

                                                                                                                                                            Carola

         Note: Could you bring me some Italian silk ties, with bright colors and stylish drawings.

Dear Mabel,

         You know the climate of Scotland, and you know that I suffer from rheumatism. The house always lashed, winter and summer, by the wind that comes from the sea. My health has gotten worse and Mili is more and more deaf and old, although truthfully not as bad as I am. I think that it would be better that you return to the side of your old mother. I accompanied mine during the last years of her life, and I hope you will do the same thing, Mabel. You know well that I can’t go to my daughter-in-law.

         No one views it well that you have decided to live in Italy for an indeterminate time. You give reason for gossip, and they believe that you are about to get a divorce. You know that I oppose it categorically; you would lose your social position. We Scots are rigid on this point. Your husband upholds the correct position—that of the sanctimonious bourgeoisie—obligatory for us.

Your grandmother painted, but without leaving her house, without ostentation and with practical sense. She decorated fans and candy boxes with pictures of flowers, trees and animals. You could follow her. I promise not to bother you. You will entertain yourself and you can then sell them. Certainly, it would help us a lot, as we don’t have enough money. During the warm afternoons, you could have tea in the garden, knit. . . I almost can’t see the stitches. And you have such an ability! A very warm woolen jacket, doesn’t the idea appeal to you?

         There are interesting people here with whom you can share inquisitiveness, the old teacher, my two friends, the drawing teacher. She is a young woman, who perhaps could teach you something.

I hope you are well. Let me know when you arrive.

                                                                                                                                  Your affectionate mother

Note: Bring wool for knitting.

Mama,

          I am in Los Angeles with Deby. We have been invited to an outing on Lorraine’s yacht. We feel marvelous, but we don’t have any money. Deby’s birthday is coming soon, and I don’t even have enough to buy her a gift. Why don’t you send me one of your paintings, with an attractive frame, to give to her? 

          You know what I was thinking, mama? That you would come to live here in Los Angeles. The hotel, from which I am writing you is looking for a receptionist. You are the first choice for the job, as you speak several languages and you are polite. I assure you that you would earn a lot from the tips. Papa doesn’t have to know about it. He wouldn’t understand it. He’s a museum piece.

          It’s understandable that you don’t want to return to that old story, I am also pleased to have left him, despite having serious economic problems, Papa is a cheapskate, you know that better than I, He doesn’t send me a cent. On the other hand, you are generous, mama. If you come, Deby and I would have fewer material worries. We even could live with you  in the hotel. You wouldn’t have to stop painting, since on your days off, at the seashore-that you like so much-you would work intensely, and it’s not unlikely that among the guests you find some buyers for your works. It would be so nice to be together, to have a home again. Everything will be in order again.

         Until you decide, send me a little money. Your daughter misses you.

                                                                                                                                               Edy

Note: I invented a new variation of the twist, with a double shake of the hips, that has created a furor. Everyone in the bar applauds me. You are going to be proud of your daughter

I continue waiting for you, Mabel:

         All of my life has been a wait.  It’s now time to say that which is owed to you yourself and to me.

         They didn’t permit us to get married. I was a poor painter! I had to resign myself to the fact that you would marry another.  Now that your children are grown, why wait to come to my side? You promised me that when you had completed your mission, you would live your own life. Well, the moment has arrived for you to dedicate yourself to your talent and follow your own path, which leads to me.

         We would live at the shore of a fiord. In nowhere in the world can you see a panorama of gray as here. The water of the fiord, the sky, the air, the horizon, the dawn, the sunset are of a beautiful color gray that has a thousand shades of lilacs, blues and pinks. You would wish to capture the vibrations and varieties of this incredible gray.

         If you were with me, Mabel, I’m sure that you would know how to get right the exact tones of the sunlight in the cold landscape and the secret shades of this attractive and disconcerting panorama. If you come and sit by my side, you will return to me the enthusiasm of my youth. My hair and beard are white, but my heart is young because I’m waiting for you, Mabel.

         I desire that you be completely mine. I’m jealous, even of you painting. I don’t want to share even you even with your pictures. But you could paint while I take a walk around the village. When I return, you will sit at my side and then, finally, I will capture the hidden shades of gray that now escape me.

         Truly, you won’t make me wait longer? You place is here!  

         Come immediately, Mabel! 

                             

Translated by Stephen A. Sadow

                                                                                                               

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Edgardo Cozarinsky — Novelista, cineasta y cuentista judío–argentino/Argentine Jewish Novelist, Movie Maker and Short-story Writer — “La novia de Odessa”/”The Fiancée from Odessa” — fragmento del cuento/excerpt from the story

Edgardo Cozarinsky

Edgardo Cozarinsky nació en Buenos Aires en 1939. Estudió literatura en la Universidad de Buenos Aires. Tenía veinte años cuando conoció a Silvina Ocampo, Adolfo Bioy Casares y, a través de ellos, a Borges, escritores que frecuentó durante sus años de vida en Buenos Aires. En 1973 ganó un premio literario, compartido con José Bianco, con un ensayo sobre el chisme como procedimiento narrativo en Proust y James. En 1974 publicó Borges y el cine. Ese mismo año dejó Buenos Aires y se fue a París. Allí se dedicó principalmente al cine, el título más representativo de esta tendencia es La Guerre d’un seul homme (1981), confrontación entre los diario de Ernst Jünger durante la ocupación alemana en Francia y los noticieros franceses de propaganda del mismo período. Durante el resto de los años 70 y 80 su obra literaria estuvo postergada. Sin embargo, el único libro que publicó en esos años – Vudú urbano (1985) – se convirtió en un éxito. En 1999 Cozarinsky pasó un mes en un hospital de París allí escribió los dos primeros cuentos de su libro premiado, La novia de Odessa. A partir de ese momento también empezó a pasar casi todo el tiempo en Buenos Aires con breves estadías en Europa.

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Edgardo Cozarinsky was born in Buenos Aires in 1939. He studied literature at the University of Buenos Aires. He was twenty years old when he met Silvina Ocampo, Adolfo Bioy Casares and, through them, Borges, writers whom he frequented during his years of life in Buenos Aires. In 1973 he won a literary award, shared with José Bianco, with an essay on gossip as a narrative procedure in Proust and James. In 1974 he published Borges y el cine. That same year he left Buenos Aires and went to Paris. There he devoted himself mainly to cinema, the most representative title of this trend is La Guerre d’un seul homme (1981), a confrontation between Ernst Jünger’s diary during the German occupation of France and the French propaganda news from the same period. During the rest of the 70s and 80s his literary work was postponed. However, the only book he published in those years – Urban Voodoo (1985) – became a success. In 1999 Cozarinsky spent a month in a Paris hospital where he wrote the first two stories for his award-winning book, The Bride from Odessa. From that moment he also began to spend almost all his time in Buenos Aires with brief stays in Europe.

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La novia de Odessa

– fragmentos de la historia

El atardecer del día siguiente los encontró sentados en un banco, bajo las acacias del parque Tchevchenco. El rumor de la ciudad les llegaba apaciguando y a lo lejos podían entrever el mar y los barcos, promesa indefinida que cada uno de ellos entendía a su manera.       

Ella le confesó que era huérfana, que estudiando las revistas francesas de donde Madame Yvonne copiaba sus modelos había aprendido que la vida es la misma en París, en Viena o en Odessa, que sin dinero sólo se puede ser sirvienta, y que el mundo se divide entre los que tienen y los que no tienen. Él le explicó que eso es cierto en Europa pero del otro lado del océano hay una tierra de pura posibilidad, un país joven donde un judío como él puede poseer un pedazo de tierra. Atropelladamente, le habló del barón Hirsch, de la colonización, de Santa Fe, de Entre Ríos. Ella oyó, por primera vez, cosas cuya existencia había ignorado, que un judío podía querer cultivar la tierra, que podía temer a los cristianos como ella temía a los judíos del taller, que podía hablarle a ella de otra cosa que del regalo que le haría si consintiera en acompañarlo una noche a cierto hotelucho de la plaza Privakzalnaia.

¿Fue durante ese segundo encuentro cuando él le reveló el modo de la tristeza, en apariencia inexplicable, que lo dominaba en vísperas de cruzar el Atlántico hacia una nueva vida? Ese motivo tenía nombre: Rifka Bronfman.

         Sus familias los habían presentado cuando cumplieron catorce años, ya los habían prometido antes de se conocieran y los habían casado cinco días antes de él dejara Kiev. Se habían visto a solas no más de diez veces antes de la boda, y siempre con padres o hermanos en el cuarto de al lado o en la ventana que supervisaba el magro jardín entre la casa y la calle.

Hacia un año que Daniel había empezado a jugar con la idea de emigrar. La delegación de la Argentina para la Colonización Judía, de paso por Kiev, había organizado reuniones vespertinas en la Asociación Mutual Israelita, donde un conferencista elocuente, con la ayuda de una linterna mágica y una docena de placas de vidrio, les había mostrado los campos fértiles, interminables que los esperaban en la Argentina. En un mapa había señalado la ubicación de esas tierras y su distancia de las metrópolis: Buenos Aires y Rosario, que otras placas les habían descubierto. También había agitado en la mano un delgado volumen encuadernado en color celeste y blanco sobre cuya tapa—había explicado—estaba impreso (en español, por lo tanto en caracteres latinos) “Constitución de la República Argentina”; de ese volumen les había leído, traduciendo inmediatamente al idish, los artículos que prometían igualdad y libertad de cultos para todos quienes quisieran trabajar esa “tierra de paz”.

Estas palabras Daniel las había repetido a Rifka, esas imágenes se las había descrito detalladamente. Su prometida no compartía tanto entusiasmo. Aceptó seguirlo, acatando el precepto según el cual el lugar de la mujer está al lado del marido, pero ese mundo nuevo no la hacía soñar. Cuando él llenó los papeles necesarios, no expresó ningún reparo particular, pero cuando volvieron aprobados y sellados por el consulado argentino, y leyó en ellos su nombre, su fecha de nacimiento, el color de su pelo y el de sus ojos, prorrumpió en sollozos vehementes, renovados cada vez que el cansancio prometía extinguirlos. Las familias creyeron que se trataba de un estado de agitación provocado por las vísperas del casamiento; un primo, que había hecho vagos estudios de medicina, declaró que se trataba de una afección a la moda, llamada neurastenia. Vagamente halagada por ese diagnóstico, Rifka enfrentó dignamente la ceremonia en la sinagoga, bajo la peluca ritual que cubría su cráneo recién afeitado.

Esa noche, Daniel debió vencer su inexperiencia y ella su miedo. Descubrieron, en medio de la sangre, él el placer, ella el dolor. A la mañana siguiente, él despertó solo en medio de las sábanas manchadas; de lejos le llegaban gritos, llanto, reproches, quejas. Encontró a Rifka en brazos de su suegra, cuyo consuelo rehusaba. Mientras la señora repetía incesantemente “Se le va a pasar, se le va a pasar”, tratando de cubrir la voz de la joven esposa, ésta lograba oír no menos incesantemente y cada vez más fuerte: “No voy, no voy, no voy”. Cuando Rifka recobró cierta serenidad, pudo unir algunas palabras, formar frases.

–Tengo miedo, mucho miedo. Aquí conozco a todos, aquí está mi familia, tu familia, mis amigas; está la sinagoga, el mercado, todo lo que conozco. ¿Con qué nos vamos a encontrar allá? ¿Víboras? ¿Indios? ¿Plantas carnívoras?

         Daniel intentaba explicarle que ahora ella tenía un marido para protegerla, pero Rifka parecía impermeable a todo argumento. Cuando logró secar sus lágrimas, aceptó, junto con un vaso de té con limón, la sugestión, nada optimista, casi desesperada, de su madre; viajar un año más tarde, tal vez sólo seis meses, cuando él hubiese escrito confirmándole que ella estaría a salvo de tantos peligros con que las novelas de Emilio Salgari la habían amenazado.

         Daniel no la tocó en las noches siguientes, que precedieron su viaje. Rifka, tal vez aliviada, no se lo reprochó.

La muchacha lo había escuchado el silencio. Del parque han caminado lentamente en dirección al escenario de su primer encuentro. El cielo rosado del crepúsculo ha cedido gradualmente a un azul cada vez más profundo. Ya es de noche cuando él termina su relato, abrupto, desordenado, que los párrafos anteriores intentan resumir.

Pasan ante cafés y pastelerías con nombres franceses e italianos, donde no pueden permitirse entrar, y tras la cortina de encajes de una ventana, ella reconoce las flores de trapo, el pájaro embalsamado y remendado y cintas de sed de un sombrero que vio armar, pieza por pieza, y ahora corona un cabeza invisible. Llegan a la estatua del duque francés cuyo nombre no les dice nada; pálidamente, intermitentemente, la ilumina el resplandor del hotel de Londres. A lo lejos, los barcos anclados en el puerto también conceden algún reflejo al tierra negra, susurrante.

Cuando ella no es para comentar el relato que ha escuchado con atención.

–¿Cuándo te embarcas?

–Mañana. El barco parte a las seis de la tarde pero los pasajeros de tercera clase deben estar a bordo antes de mediodía.

Ella lo mira, esperando palabras que no llegan. Tras un instante, insiste.

–¿Vas a viajar solo?

Él la mira, entendiendo y sin atreverse a creer en lo que entiende.

–Solo. . . Que remedio tengo. . .

Ella lo tomas por los brazos con fuerza, plantada ante él.

Daniel siente que esas manos pequeñas pueden apretar y tal vez golpear, que no están hechas para sostener solamente una aguja.

         –¡Me llevas contigo! ¡Yo soy casi rubia, tengo ojos claros si no celestes, mido poco menos de un metro sesenta y cinco y tengo dieciocho años! ¿Acaso hay una fotografía en el salvoconducto?

         –Pero. . .—él atina a balbucir—no estamos casados. . .

         La carcajada de ella resuena en la plaza desierta, parece rodar por la escalinata y despertar un echo en el puerto.

         –¿Cómo podríamos estar casados si yo soy ortodoxa y tú judío. Necesitaríamos meses para que un rabino aceptase mi conversión. . . Además, ¿no dices que en este país nuevo no importa nada de todo lo que aquí nos esclaviza? Let’s go!” ¡Vamos!

         Ante la mirada estupefacta de Daniel, ella empieza a girar sobre sí misma, con brazos extendidos, como un derviche de Anatolia. Sin dejar de reír, repite como una invocación los nombres que ha oído mencionar hace un momento por primera vez.

         –¡Buenos Aires! ¡Rosario! ¡Entre Ríos! ¡Santa Fe! ¡Argentina! Se ríe cada vez más fuerte y no deja de girar.

         –Yo soy Rifka Bronfman!

         _________________________________________

The Fiancée from Odessa

– excerpts from the story

Sunset, the next day, found them seated in a bench under the acacias of Tchevchenco Park. The noise of the city came muted to them and at a distance they could make out the sea and the ships, an indefinite that each of the understood in their own way.

Was it during that second meeting that when he revealed to her the manner of his sadness, inexplicable in its appearance, that dominated him on the eve of crossing the Atlantic to a new life? That reason had a name: Rifka Bronfman.

         Their families had introduced them when they turned fourteen, they had already been engaged before they knew each other and they had had them marry five days before he was to leave Kiev. They had seen each other alone no more than ten times before the wedding, and always with parents or brothers in the room next door or in the window that oversaw the meager garden between the house and the street.

It had been a year since Daniel had begun to play with the idea of emigrating. The delegation of from Argentina for  Jewish Colonization, passing through Kiev, had organized evening meetings at the Jewish Mutual Association, where an eloquent speaker, with the help of a magic lantern and a dozen of glass slides, had shown them the interminable fertile fields that await them in Argentina. On a map, he had pointed out the location of those lands and their distance from the metropolises: Buenos Aires Y Rosario, that other slides had discovered for them. He had also shaken in his hand a thin volume, bound in light blue and white whose cover–he explained—was printed (n Spanish, and so in Latin letters) “Constitution of the Argentine Republic.”  From that volume, he had read to them, immediately translating into Yiddish, the articles that promised equality and freedom of religion for all who wish to work that “land of peace.”

Daniel had repeated these words to Rifka, those images that had been described to them in detail. His fiancé didn’t share such enthusiasm. She accepted that that she had to follow him, obeying the precept according to which the place of the wife is at the side of her husband, but this new world didn’t make her dream. When he filled out the necessary papers, she didn’t express any particular objection, but when they returned approved and stamped by the Argentine consul, and she read in them her name, her date of birth, the color of her hair and of her eyes, she broke out in vehement sighing, renewed every time that tiredness promised to extinguish them. The families believed that it was a state of nervous agitation, provoked by the eve of the wedding; a cousin, he had done some vague studies in medicine, declared that is was an affliction that was in fashion, called neurasthenia. Vaguely flattered by that diagnosis, Rifka faced the ceremony in a dignified way, under that ritual wig that covered her recently shaved cranium.

That night Daniel had to conquer his inexperience and she her fear. They discovered, in the midst of the blood, he, pleasure and she, pain. The next morning, he awoke alone in the middle of the stained sheets; from a distanced came yelling, crying, reproaches, complaints. He found Rifka in the arms of his mother-in-law, whose solace she refused. While the lady repeated incessantly “It will pass, it will pass,” trying to cover the voice of the young bride; just as incessantly, she didn’t hear, and each time more strongly: “I’m not going, I’m not going, I’m not going.” When Rifka recovered a certain serenity, she could put together a few words, form phrases.

“I am afraid, very much afraid. Here, I know everyone, my family is here, my friends, the market, everything I know.  What is going to find us there? Snakes? Indians? Carnivorous plants?””

Daniel tried to explain to her that now she had a husband who would protect her, but Rifka seemed impervious to any argument. When she was able to dry her tears, she accepted, together with a glass of tea with lemon, her mother’s suggestion, in no way optimistic, almost desperate: to travel a year later, perhaps only six month, when he had written, confirming to her that she would be safe from so many dangers with which the novels of Emilio Salgari had threatened her.

         The following nights, Daniel didn’t touch her during the following nights that preceded his voyage. Rifka, perhaps relieved did not reproach him.

_______________________________________________

The girl had listened to him in silence. From the park, they have walked slowly in the direction of the scene of their first meeting. The rosy sky of sunset had gradually ceded to a blue more and more deep. It is already night when he finishes his story, abrupt, disorganized, that the previous paragraphs had tried to summarize,

         They passed in front of cafés and pastry shops with French and Italian names, into which they didn’t let themselves enter, and through a lace curtain, she recognizes the flowery cloth, the bird stuffed and mended and ribbons of silk that she saw made, piece by piece, and now crowned an invisible head. They arrived at the statue of the French duke whose name didn’t mean anything to them; pallidly, intermittently, it was illuminated by the splendor of the London Hotel. At a distance, the ships anchored in the port also conceded some reflection to the black earth, murmuring.

She doesn’t comment on the story that she has listened to with rapt attention.

         “When do you embark?”

         “Tomorrow. The ship leaves at six in the afternoon, but the third- class passengers have to be on board before noon.

         She looks at him, but the words don’t come. After an instant, she insists.

         “Are you going to travel alone?

         He looks at her, understanding, and without daring to believe what his understands.

         “Take me with you! I’m almost blond, I have light eyes if not light blue, I’m a little less than on meter sixty-five and I’m eighteen years old. By any chance is there a photograph in the letter of safe passage?”

         “But. . .”, he is able to stammer. “We are not married. . .”

         The loud laugh that she resounds in the deserted plaza, seems to roll down the stairway and awaken an echo in the port.

         “How could we be married if I’m Orthodox and you are Jewish. We would need months for a rabbi to accept my conversion. . . Moreover, didn’t you say that in this new country, everything that enslaves us here doesn’t matter at all. Let’s go!

 Before Daniel’s stupefied face, she began to spin around herself, with her arms extended, like a dervish from Anatolia. Without stopping laughing, she repeats like an incantation the names that she had heard mentioned for the first time a moment ago. –Buenos Aires! Rosario! Entre Ríos! Santa Fe! Argentina! She laughs more and more strongly and she doesn’t stop spinning..

         “I am Rifka Bronfman!”

Translated by Stephen A. Sadow

_______________________________________________________________________

Algunos libros de Edgardo Cozarinsky/Some of Edgardo Cozarinsky’s Books

EDGARDO COZARINSKY

BIBLIOGRAFÍA/BIBLIOGRAPHY

    Crónica y relato/Non-fiction and stories:
    Vudú urbano,  1985
    La novia de Odessa, 2001.
    El pase del testigo, 2001.
    Museo del chisme, 2005.
    Tres fronteras 2006.
    Palacios plebeyos, 2006.
   Milongas, 2007.
    Burundanga, 2009.
   Blues, 2010.
    Nuevo museo del chisme, 2013.

    Novela/Novel:

    Maniobras nocturnas, 2007.
    Lejos de dónde, 2009.
    La tercera mañana, 2010
    Dinero para fantasmas, 2012

PREMIOS/PRIZES
Premio “La Nación” de Ensayo, compartido con José Bianco.    1973
Premio Konex de platino y Diploma al Mérito, categoría “Cuento: Quinquenio 1999 – 2003”.    2004
Premio Cóndor a la trayectoria, de la Asociación Argentina de Críticos de Cine.    2004
Prix de l’Avenir, Rencontres Internationales du Cinéma à Paris, por “Ronda nocturna”.    2005
Primer premio de narrativa bienio 2001-2003 por “La novia de Odessa” de Ministerio de Cultura, Gobierno de la ciudad autónoma de Buenos Aires.    2008
Premio Cóndor a la Innovación Artística por “Apuntes para una biografía imaginaria”    2011
Premio a la mejor novela 2008-2010 de la Academia Argentina de Letras por “Lejos de dónde”.    2011