I’m pleased to share my latest release, Tales of Bed Sheets and Departure Lounges, a collection of fifty bilingual short short stories (English & Spanish) with an insightful introduction by Loretta Collins Klobah, which has been in the works for the last couple of years, and which the tireless people at Dog Horn Publishing have prepared beautifully.
These 50 micro stories weave a shared emotional pattern that lends coherence to an otherwise heterogeneous collection. Exploiting the familiar tropes of lust and adventure, the compilation features a series of discrete narrators who put forward original, contrasting and sometimes even contradicting perspectives about largely commonplace situations, appealing above all to the morbid voyeurism inherent to Western society.
Caught within the restrictions of a deliberately compact format, the collection is held together by a constant game of exposure and concealment in which each story told carries with it a number of uncertainties, which are never pursued and often remain unvoiced. Thus, great significance is attached not only to every uttered word but also to the ones that are left out of these hyper-short compositions.
In structural terms, the stories span from one line to two pages long. Loosely arranged in line with a thematic coherence, they are meant to evoke a feeling rather than to convey a concrete message. Consequently, the collection is moved forward by a sentimental evolution that takes the reader from love to panic, lust, confusion and hate through the intimations of narrators who remains deeply personal, despite recurrent shifts of tenses and persons.
Similarly, part of the experimental element in the proposal is the combination of Spanish and English resources in the exploration of the issues central to the project. In this respect, proficiency in both languages would be advantageous to identify the specific characteristics—the up and down sides, as it were—of the two verbalisations. Nevertheless, the visual aspect of the texts displayed on facing pages remains telling, as it exposes graphically the degree to which linguistic elements can be mirrored. Finally, where possible, the original versions of the stories have been given priority over the translations, featuring first regardless of the language in which they are written. Sometimes, however, the order follows more arbitrary notions, as a good number of the narrations were developed in both languages simultaneously.
Here is the opening tale of the collection:
The time to depart nears and with it the danger of renewed banality. Courtesy, in large doses, also becomes nauseating. Nice to meet you—see you later—my pleasure—enjoy—and suddenly, uninvited, almost indiscreet, a verb spoken with a different tone of voice—perhaps a truthful one—surfaced from the depth of human sentiment—I wish you every success.
I meant to turn to scrutinise the grey eyes that accompanied those words. I refrained, for fear of disillusion.
Followed by its translation into Spanish, which in the book provides a specular image of the original in the opposite page:
Se acerca el momento de la partida y, con ella, una nueva interacción banal. La cortesía, en exceso, también es repulsiva. Hasta luego —un placer —mucho gusto —que aproveche —y, de pronto, de la nada, imprevisto, casi indiscreto, con un timbre diferente, acaso sincero, un verbo sacado de alguna profundidad humana —que tenga éxito.
Quise voltear a examinar los ojos grises que acompañaban a aquellas palabras. Desistí, por temor a defraudarme.
From the UK, Tales of Bed Sheets and Departure Lounges should be available in all big bookshops (Waterstones, Blackwell’s, etc) and your local bookshop should also be able to order it in no time.
If you want to buy it online, Inpress is probably your best bet: http://inpressbooks.co.uk/products/tales-of-bed-sheets-and-departure-lounges.
From the States/Caribbean, I’m guessing Amazon will be the best/onlu option: http://www.amazon.com/Tales-Sheets-Departure-Lounges-Bruise/dp/1907133739/.