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Sònia Hernández on Carola Saavedra

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GRANTA 121: BEST OF YOUNG BRAZILIAN NOVELISTS
Introduced by previous Best of Young Novelists

Carola Saavedra was born in Chile and moved to Brazil as a child. She has lived in Spain, France and Germany, and currently lives in Rio de Janeiro. She is the author of the story collection Do lado de fora (2005), and the novels Toda terça (2007), Flores azuis (2008) and Paisagem com dromedário (2010), which won the Rachel de Queiroz Award for Best Young Author. ‘Every Tuesday’ is an extract from Toda terça. Here, as part of an ongoing series on the twenty authors from The Best of Young Brazilian Novelists issue – which was first published in Portuguese by Objectiva – Carola Saavedra is introduced by previous Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelist Sònia Hernández.

It’s quite uncommon to find dialogues that engulf you from the first word. Those created by Carola Saavedra in this tale are in that category, since from the first line she manages to draw you into the atmosphere she’s created, an ambience marked by vital dissatisfaction and a slight melancholy that longs for the perfect world it barely dares to imagine. As she herself writes, lies are another version of reality, as are dreams. In the last instance, they are a sample of the resistance we mount – a resistance that links us to the magical thinking of childhood – so we don’t have to accept things as they are, things like our physical appearance or the importance of our existence for others. Submerged in such an ambience where language and words, while attempting to mask things, actually reveal the true essence of thought, it is no surprise that the presence of self-analysis – standing before the mirror, before a friend, or before a specialist – becomes precise. Language is the principal tool for the quest, but, again, it leads us along diffuse paths where it is difficult to know whether we seek the truth or just desire. That desire which makes everything murky again, once more and by surprise, at the outset of the conflict – even if it’s a slightly modified version. In short, an interesting road to travel, guided by the essential and direct language used by Carola Saavedra, who with her apparent simplicity composes the first of the mirages in this story: it is in everyday conversation we find the camouflaged difficulty of explaining the most anodyne events that make up existence. – Sònia Hernández, Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists, 2010. Translated by Alfred Mac Adam.

Every Tuesday

‘I lied to you the other day, you know.’

‘Lied?’ said Otávio in that surprised voice that always sounded false coming from him.

‘Yep, when I was telling you about the cinema, remember?’

‘Yes.’

‘I said there was nothing else to tell, but it was a lie.’

I was silent for a moment as if making a short pause to muster up courage.

‘So tell me, Laura, what is it?’ said Otávio, in an understanding tone.

Otávio didn’t care if I lied; he was convinced that all lies were just another version of the truth. He had explained to me that the mere fact of my having chosen one lie over another was already enough to make it a confession, a revelation. For example, if I lied that I’d eaten a cheese sandwich, I had made a choice, seeing as how I could have lied in countless other ways, saying that it was a tomato or tuna sandwich. Which meant that no matter how many subterfuges I found to hide behind (the cheese, for example, or even the sandwich itself ), I would always be revealing myself. Bottom line: there was no way out.

Translated by Alison Entrekin.

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