The wonderful word of Onelio Jorge Cardoso › Culture › Granma

The wonderful word of Onelio Jorge Cardoso › Culture › Granma
The wonderful word of Onelio Jorge Cardoso › Culture › Granma

Onelio Jorge Cardoso (Calabazar de Sagua, 1914–Havana, 1986) is read from scare to scare; It is not known behind which corner of the text the unusual phrase will assail us, beautiful, unexpected and also exact: “he smiled softly under the moon”, “I saw that his whole face was full of laughter”, “I fell asleep (. ..) from the depths of thought to the tip of the fingers.

There is, however, a very natural quality in the way he astonishes from the word; nothing smells of artifice, you can’t see the seams. His stories have all the effectiveness of which the genre is capable, they strike at the center of sensitivity.

Onelio knew of the world where “a poor man is the tool.” The rural environment was shown in his lyrics with all rawness and originality, and the language was shaken from common places, using the ease of orality, but taking a step further, towards the poetic.

He did not abandon that path after the triumph of the Revolution. He continued immersed in the understanding of the so-called common people, in their new scenarios, and without didacticism; He goes so far as to present the fantastic as if it were everyday matter, just as it appears in that unavoidable story that is Francisca and Death.

As the writer Rogelio Riverón pointed out in the prologue of the Cuentos de Onelio (Cuban Letters, 2014), the one who reminded us that “man always has two hungers” had a profound knowledge of the human being, which is why they make up the work of this “undoubted master of the short story”, “realistic stories, of humble prosapy and a symbolic effect that is not superfluous, of some constants developed with intelligence and fervor: hope, women, tenacity, children.”

In addition to Visia’s, the tragic fates of Leonela and Estela shock the female universe. Of the terrible violence against children and family, what better statement than The Metals or The Thread and the Rope, where the intimate oppression of the characters is felt by those who read it firsthand.

Not in vain, Onelio – whose birth marks 110 years today – is the name of the most important school of writers that exists in Cuba (the eponymous Literary Training Center). Not in vain, because reading it is an expedition into ethics, the human core, and technical expertise, so elevated that there is no hint of pedantry or mere erudite display in it.

To do him justice, we must borrow his own words about Juan Candela, and say: “even in a good apartment, after eating and in any latitude in the world, it is not possible not to hear the wonderful word” of Onelio Jorge Cardoso.

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