REPEAT PERFOMANCE / The echo chambers of Enrique Vila-Matas
Reseña de Annie McDermott in TLS (TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT) sobre «mac and his problem» y sobre «esta bruma insensata»
The echo chambers of Enrique Vila-Matas
The Uruguayan writer Mario Levrero describes dashing off a short story one day and then, on finishing it, realizing it doesn’t belong to him. “This isn’t mine, it can’t be mine”, he says, and begins phoning around all his friends who have even a tangential relationship to literature to ask if they remember writing it or telling him about it. No one does, but Levrero remains convinced the story isn’t his. He then destroys the manuscript.
Simon Schneider, the protagonist of Enrique Vila-Matas’s latest novel, Esta bruma insensata (This Senseless Haze), has the opposite problem. What causes him “genuine horror”, he says, is discovering that something he has written belongs to him alone. Schneider is a collector of other people’s words, driven by his “absolute necessity to absorb, to gather up all the phrases in the world” (my translation) and to store them in his archive. He works as…