Felisberto’s “Las Hortensias”

Just a quick entry on Las Hortensias, a novella that I enjoyed reading, as strange as it was. I found it really eerie, but fascinating at the same time. I kept imagining it as a movie, visualizing scenarios playing out in my mind. I can imagine an appropriately dark, creepy filmic adaptation. The persistent noise of the factory next door, the dark, surreal tone, powerful imagery and symbolism and especially the bizarre characters reminded me of a David Lynch film.
Reading the story though, I was captivated at times, but other times, found my interest fading a bit. This could be because it takes me longer to read in Spanish, so I moved slowly through the story, but I think perhaps it could have been a short story instead of a novella and served the same purpose, but better. Las Hortensias is certainly not a long work, and maybe some will argue that its themes and story could have been developed more and drawn out into a lengthier novel. Still, I felt that it might have been better suited to a short story, and it reminded me of a short story I read in a Spanish class at UBC last year. In that class, we read a short story entitled “La puerta condenada” by an Argentinian writer named
Julio Cortázar. It was a surreal, strange tale of a traveller staying in a hotel in Montevideo and he is constantly tormented by the sounds of a wailing, crying infant seemingly emanating from the room nextdoor, though he can never locate the source of the noise. Though it doesn’t sound thematically similar, the tone of “Las Hortensias” reminded me right away of “La puerta condenada.”

Published in: on February 21, 2007 at 7:34 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Heh, perhaps it should have been the other way around… Because Cortázar was in fact a great admirer of, and much influenced by, Hernández.

  2. Wow, you know you make an interesting point with your analogy to the movies… I think my reading would have been more interesting if I had been able to picture the story like a movie… I like ur post and the perspective u took.

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