salvation by humor

A few months after dying in the fateful accident of Avianca flight 11 in Mejorada del Campo, the Mexican writer Jorge Ibarguengoitia (1928-1983) explained in the press that the conspirators (Argos Vergara, 1981; published in Mexico as Lopez’s footstepsOcean, 1982) tells the first story that interested him in life. “It is the story of the conspiracy that started the independence of Mexico, and that was told to me like a story when I was six years old and fascinated me. Then I studied it at school and it bored me, because heroes bore me. I finally did a play [La conspiración vendida, 1975]pretty heroic too, and I’ve ended up writing this novel.” A novel against history, because “history”, he said then, “makes things stiff”.

The Menoscuarto publishing house has decided to recover the title to retrace the steps of this history of the first phase of the Independence of Mexico, set up with the satirical and parodic ingredients

Stiffening things is something that did not enter the head of one of the most heterodox American writers, closer to Mark Twain and Ambrose Bierce what to Carlos Fuentes or Fernando del Pasotwo of his contemporaries who also understood that novelistic germs were found in history to illuminate the future. It will be necessary to remember that Ibargüengoitia had a fondness for any bet that included in his purpose a tamed sense of sarcasm, sometimes bordering on the wild, but always from a highly critical perspective. Blaster of the myth of the institutions and the stabilizing development of the Mexico that he lived through, essentially during the PRI era, the hegemonic party in Mexico at that time, made use of a precise and scalpelic prose to dissect, ridicule and show characters close to real protagonists of provincial lifes —in Mexico everything is always life in the provinces, he comes to say—, although he was not exempt from solving the enigmas of history with his particular look at what is already known as the subgenre of the Hispano-American Novel of Independence, with examples that goes from I the Supreme from Augusto Roa Bastos to The general in his labyrinth by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

The Menoscuarto publishing house has decided to recover the title with which the novel was known in Spain to retrace the steps of this story of the first phase of the Independence of Mexico, set up with the satirical and parodic ingredients that we already he is accustomed to the prose of the writer born in Guanajuato (Cuévano in the novel), a real transcript of his narrative geography carved as a microcosm. Although the characters are fictional, most of them are loosely inspired by different characters from the Mexican insurgent movementheroes and, here too, anti-heroes of the Independence, known as the Conspiracy of Querétaro, immediate antecedent of the Mexican War of Independence against the oppressor viceregal. The subsequent rebellion against the colonizer here becomes a kind of crazy conspiracy full of hilarious entanglements and adventures, or rather misadventures, with very successful episodes that are a sign of the writer’s mastery when it comes to approaching the story in a humorous key. Someone had to do it.

Today Ibargüengoitia is an inseparable and unavoidable part of Mexican literature, safe now thanks to the sense of humor of this universal writer.

the conspirators It is the story of a failed rebellion at the beginning of the 19th century that finds its reason for being in fatality, in part because the perspective used is ironic. Every ironic writer is a moralistic writer, and laughter, a defense against the intolerable as well as a response to the absurdity that accompanies certain existences, if not their totality. The Mexican literary canon, often so serious, rigid and dramatic, is the result of the country’s tragic history, but it would be incomplete without the intelligent dissociative gaze of Jorge Ibargüengoitia. And it is that sometimes, lucidity is illuminated from the ridiculous. It was the last of the novels published in his lifetime and perhaps his best testament. Matías Chandón was going to be the main narrator of this outrageous endearing story of insurgents almost in spite of himself. As a premonition of his personal life (that fateful Boeing 747) and his literary career, Ibargüengoitia writes through the mouth of Chandón, at that time an officer of the artillerymen of the dragoon regiment: “I asked him what form of government New Spain was going to have after the revolution, and Periñón said: “It’s a matter that frankly doesn’t worry me, because it would be rare for us to see the end of what we are beginning.” It was the first time anyone had said in front of me that what we had undertaken might—or rather, almost certainly would—cost me my life. That night, already in the dark, in my bed, I resigned myself and said:

—This is how revolutions should be —and I fell asleep…” Today Ibargüengoitia is an inseparable and unavoidable part of Mexican literature, safe now thanks to the sense of humor of this universal writer.. He understood like few others that things can be explained in another way.

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Author: Jorge Ibargüengoitia. Title: the conspirators. Editorial: A quarter to. Sale: All your books, Amazon, Fnac and Casa del Libro.

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