Sunday, September 21, 2008

Short Story: Clara by Roberto Bolano

The New Yorker has some good short stories. I have been raving about it all week.

Clara by Roberto Bolano

"She had big breasts, slim legs, and blue eyes. That’s how I like to remember her. I don’t know why I fell madly in love with her, but I did, and at the start, I mean for the first days, the first hours, it all went fine; then Clara returned to the city where she lived, in the south of Spain (she’d been on vacation in Barcelona), and everything began to fall apart."

This is one story which kind of ignites and bangs on your on your face.
The narrator is in love with Clara most of his life. They just can't be together. However, he keeps thinking of her and also keeps in touch with her. He in his own way cares for her. In his words, after one such call to her:

"When I hung up, the homeless guy was standing about five feet away. I hadn’t heard him approaching. He was very tall, too warmly dressed for the season, and he was staring at me, as if he were near-sighted, or worried I might make a sudden move. I was so sad I didn’t even get scared, although afterward, walking back through the twisting streets of the town center, I realized that, seeing him, I had forgotten Clara for an instant, for the first time, and only the first."

Clara is cold towards him but she too cannot get away from him.

"Her voice was as cold as ever, that voice in which she always recounted her life with the detachment of a bad storyteller, putting exclamation marks in all the wrong places, and passing over what she should have gone into, the parts where she should have cut to the quick. "