In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Time Out of Joint in Antonio Muñoz Molina’s La noche de los tiempos and Todo lo que era sólido1
  • Alberto Moreiras

Más de tres años aguardando la irrupción del desastre, desde que vio en Berlín el desfile de los hombres con camisas pardas y antorchas marcando el paso sobre los adoquines relucientes, y cuando por fin sobrevenía lo encontraba distraído, dormitando en una mecedora al calor de la siesta de agosto, en zapatillas, con el cuello desabrochado, con la camisa abierta, tan amodorrado por el sueño que le costó un poco comprender que estos hombres metódicos que no alzaban la voz y no llevaban monos de milicianos ni fusiles truculentos probablemente iban a matarlo.

Antonio Muñoz Molina, La noche de los tiempos (700)

I

The texture of historical life belongs in the very fabric of the present, but we are so familiar with old notions of historicity based upon a linear understanding of time that only the rare author, a literary one for the most part, can undermine our laziness and force us to take a new and usually disturbing look. In his article on La noche de los tiempos, Angel G. Loureiro refers through his very title (“En el presente incierto”) to Muñoz Molina’s powerful exercise in another kind of historical memory: an attempt to undo old and new pieties in the name of a difficult use of imagination towards an alternative understanding of historical temporality. But it is not so much the uncertain present as the future – “la primera luz gris del primer día de su viaje, de un mañana inmediato que ella no vislumbra y yo no sé ya imaginar, su porvenir ignorado y perdido en la gran noche de los tiempos” (958) –, and a [End Page 51] future that may or will have been dislocated and terminally compromised by something we did or did not do, something I did or not, something they did, either intentionally or distractedly, confidently or fearfully, hurriedly or with all possible deliberateness and slowness: such is the “night of the times” that gives a title to Antonio Muñoz Molina’s 2009 novel. And yet 2009 was still a relatively good year, when people could still afford some distraction: those were still good times in Spain, before the full onset of the current economic crisis, the increase in unemployment, the collapse of the real estate market, the closing down of thousands upon thousands of small businesses, the Catalan move towards independence, and so many other ominous signs of an uncertain future. Muñoz Molina was already anguishing about a fall, premonitorily – if, that is, we accept the notion that his 2009 novel about 1935–36 is directly allegorical of the Spanish present.2 The allegory would be given a more literal embodiment in Todo lo que era sólido, from 2013. My attempt in this article – whose motivation is personal rather than academic, so it is only fair that its tone attempts to be so as well – is to establish some links between the two works, with a view to saying something that might, I hope, move beyond establishing a mere thematic sequencing.

In fact, Todo lo que era sólido is prefigured in the 2009 novel, in some precise paragraphs. The sentence comes up almost verbatim – “Tan desconcertante como la facilidad con la que todo lo que parecía más sólido se derrumbó en Madrid en el curso de dos o tres días de julio era su propia destreza para acomodarse sin queja y sin mucha esperanza a este estado de tránsito” (541) –, but more important, at the level of anticipating the themes of Todo lo que era sólido, is perhaps the following paragraph:

Hubiera querido saber en qué momento fue inevitable el desastre; cuándo lo monstruoso empezó a parecer normal y gradualmente se volvió tan invisible como los actos más comunes de la vida; cuándo las palabras que alentaban al crimen y a las que nadie daba crédito porque se repetían monótonamente y no eran más que palabras se...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2165-7599
Print ISSN
0035-7995
Pages
pp. 51-66
Launched on MUSE
2014-02-26
Open Access
No
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