“Los Dias Perfectos” [Perfect Days] by Jacobo Bergareche elicits a resounding “YES” as to its suitability and merit for translation and publication in the U.S.
Triggered by discovery of a years-long correspondence between the writer William Faulkner and his lover, the narration is beautifully written entirely as two extensive love letters. One reconstructs and records the memory of a brief but intensely affirming love affair, an “adventure” in Austin, Texas, now ended; the other hopes to reawaken dormant possibility in a long-term marriage, grown tedious, in Spain.
The intimate musings of Luis, the writer-narrator, lyrically incorporate wide-ranging real-world references, continents apart – cowboy culture, Rolling Stones soundtracks, Michelin restaurants and barbeque joints, oceans and deserts, monasteries and honky-tonks – to draw the reader in to the singular, multi-layered experiences, both physical and internal, that have yielded those fleeting, cherished days.
Intelligent, forthright, often humorous observations by Luis concerning the specific personal details of his “perfect days” become poignantly relatable to everyone who has longed for, known, or lost great love, or become inured to inevitable routine. His reflections and yearning speak as well to how we can make each day of our lives matter.
Translated words from Miguel Ángel Hernández on the book jacket encapsulate “Los Dias Perfectos”: “A beautiful and elegant narration on the memory of love, the nostalgia of first times, and the possibility of repairing all that time erodes….” Marta Orriols expounds further: “A story capable of re-opening our eyes to the inexhaustible
“Los Dias Perfectos” (page 2) power of love…. With solid and beautiful writing sprinkled with tints of humor, it shows us the ideal and the extraordinary, and at the other extreme, the ennui of our small daily failures.”
Based on a line quoted in the Faulkner correspondence from the mouth of one of his characters in a 1939 novel, Bergareche via Luis poses to us the question of choice, between pain and emptiness; like Faulkner, he opts for the pain.
Bergareche’s skills as script writer and producer, poet and playwright, lend originality and authenticity to this novel, stemming from his 4-year residence and research on various writers at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin.
Douglas Suttle is a writer, translator and editor based in Catalonia. As well as writing for several newspapers and magazines throughout Europe, he ...