Juan Carlos Onetti Quotes
“Continué viéndola y aún la recuerdo así: soberbia y mendicante, inclinada hacia el brazo que sostenía la valija, no paciente, sino desprovista de la comprensión de la paciencia, con los ojos bajos, generando con su sonrisa el apetito suficiente para seguir viviendo, para contar a cualquiera, con un parpadeo, con un movimiento de la cabeza, que esta desgracia no importaba, que las desgracias sólo servían para marcar fechas, para separar y hacer inteligibles los principios y los finales de las numerosas vidas que atravesamos y existimos”
“And this is more or less all that I had left after the holidays. Nothing really; hopeless confusion, a narrative without a possible conclusion, full of doubtful meanings, belied by the very elements that I had to give it shape. I didn't know the significance of what I'd seen, I was repelled by the idea of finding out and being sure. All that counts is that I felt at peace when I finished writing, certain I had enjoyed the greatest success one can expect from this kind of task: I had accepted a challenge, and turned at least one daily defeat into a victory.”
“Usted dice, Larsen, que uno no es siempre lo que hace. Puede ser. Pienso en lo de antes, en el sentido de la vida. El error está en que pensamos lo mismo de la vida; que no es lo que hace. Pero es mentira; no es más que eso, lo que todos vemos y sabemos. -Pero no pudo animarse y sólo pensó "Y esto tiene un sentido claro, un sentido que ella, la vida, nunca trató de ocultar y contra el cual estúpidamente luchan los hombres desde el principio con palabras y ansiedades. Y la prueba de la impotencia de los hombres para aceptar su sentido está en que la más increíble de todas las posibilidades, la de nuestra propia muerte, es para ella cosa tan de rutina; un suceso, en todo momento, ya cumplido.”
“Tout est inutile et il faut au moins avoir le courage de ne pas se faire de prétextes. J'aurais aimé clouer la nuit sur du papier, comme un grand papillon nocturne. Mais, plutôt, c'est elle qui m'a soulevé de ses eaux, comme le corps livide d'un mort et qui me pousse, inexorablement, au milieu du froid et de l'écume vaporeuse, au-devant d'elle.”
“He suddenly suspected what everyone comes to understand sooner or later, that communication was impossible and not even desirable, that compassion was worth no more than hate, that a tolerant indifference, an attention divided between respect and sensuality, was all that could be asked or be given.”
“Cómo soportaba él los ojos de la muchacha y revolvía los suyos contra la cabeza juvenil, escapando de allí para escarbar en la tormenta de la noche, para adherir a su mirada la intensidad del cielo y derramarla, imponerla en aquel rostro de niña que lo observaba inmóvil y sin expresión, dejando perder sin quererlo, sin saber, sin poder evitarlo, entregando a su cara seria y fatigada de hombre la dulzura y la humildad adolescente de las mejillas pecosas y del cuello, desde el paisaje ennegrecido del jardín, atrás de la ventana.”
Juan Carlos Onetti
- Date of birth: July 01, 1909
- Died: May 30, 1994
- Born: in Montevideo, Uruguay.
- Description: Juan Carlos Onetti (July 1, 1909, Montevideo – May 30, 1994, Madrid) was an Uruguayan novelist and author of short stories.
A high school drop-out, Onetti's first novel, El pozo, published in 1939, met with his close friends' immediate acclaim, as well as from some writers and journalists of his time. 500 copies of the book were printed, most of them left to rot at the only bookstore that sold it, Barreiro (the book was not reprinted until the 60's, with an introduction and preliminary study by Ángel Rama). Aged 30, Onetti was already working as editing secretary of the famous weekly Uruguayan newspaper Marcha. He had lived for some years in Buenos Aires, where he published short stories and wrote cinema critiques for the local media, and met and befriended the notorious novelist and journalist, Roberto Arlt ("El juguete rabioso", "Los siete locos", "Los lanzallamas").
He went on to become one of Latin America's most distinguished writers, earning Uruguay's National Prize in literature in 1962. In 1974, he and some of his colleagues were imprisoned by the military dictatorship. Their crime: as members of the jury, they had chosen Nelson Marra's short story El guardaespaldas (i.e. "The bodyguard") as the winner of Marcha's annual literary contest. Due to a series of misunderstandings (and the need to fill some space in the following day's edition), El guardaespaldas was published in Marcha, although it had been widely agreed among them that they shouldn't and wouldn't do so, knowing this would be the perfect excuse for the military to intervene Marcha, considering the subject of the story (the interior monologue of a top-rank military officer who recounts his murders and atrocious behavior, much as it was happening with the functioning regime).
Onetti left his native country (and his much-loved city of Montevideo) after being imprisoned for 6 months in Colonia Etchepare, a mental institution. A long list of world-famous writers -including Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa and Mario Benedetti - signed open letters addressed to the military government of Uruguay, which was unaware of the talented (and completely harmless) writer it had imprisoned and humiliated.
As soon as he was released, Onetti fled to Spain with his wife, violin player Dorotea Mühr. There he continued his career as a writer, being awarded the most prestigious literary prize in the Spanish-speaking world, the Premio Cervantes. He remained in Madrid until his death in 1994. He is interred in the Cementerio de la Almudena in Madrid.