SmallStations - Liliana Tabakova

In this novel, happiness and unhappiness follow one another, while happiness is just a spark in the night. The heroes who live in an oppressed, poor and monotonous atmosphere are like patches in the background of fertile nature and the wondrous, wild company of mice, moles, lizards and other animals, their reincarnated fellow villagers. And yet everybody manages to find his own mercy and comfort. The bored housewife in a former classmate who puts flowers in her garden, introducing beauty into her daily life. The dumb brother in the princess of the tales who lives behind three golden rings and is protected by a wild pig. The rich lady in her friendship with a neighbour, sharing her life as if it were a story from the Titanic. In Manuel Rivas’ works, magic and realism follow their most classical structure, but with a simplicity and use of metaphor that border on high poetry.

“What more does a man need than a horse, a revolver and a woman with a flower’s name to feel like a king?” writes Rivas and in a single sentence he embraces all the book, galloping through a world of pain and love seen with a look as pure as a child’s, as eccentric as a poet’s. In this book of sixteen tales that constitute a whole are heart-breaking stories in which the feeling of things precedes the things themselves, the end is in need of interpretation, and every image is a human cell – incomparable and trembling with life. The delicate style, the way the stories grab the reader, the erudite respect towards the reader and the ability to charge things with love place the author and this book forever on the list of classic works not to be missed.