The feeling of the migrant

Jesús Urzagasti was born in 1941 in a small town located south of the Bolivian Grand Chaco. His life was marked by a series of displacements that had as goal to access to education. He lived in Yacuiba, Tarija, Salta until arriving, during the sixties, to the city of La Paz. At the headquarters of the government he entered the university and studied, for a year, the geology career he abandoned to devote to literature and journalism. Author of seven novels and four poems is today, one of the most recognized Bolivian writers.

The departure of his native place generates the loss of orientation of the writer who begins to create infinite paths that allow him to recover his reference point, his center of the world left in the native Chaco. All the novels of the author can read from this perspective in which language becomes a bridge, on the way to unite those worlds. Space becomes very important.

“En el Pais del Silencio” (In the Country of Silence) is a novel “without a roof”, there are no houses, no walls, no doors, or anything that contains the subject of the enunciation, only a small room appears in the story accessible by The Other after Many years of walking the city in search of a job. This space is specified as a “small room that has the windows closed … there are a bed, a few books, five wooden logs and some utensils…”. In this brief description of the objects that make up the dwelling, three universes open up: that of memory, that of words and that of the rural past. The bed, books, wooden logs and utensils function as bridges between the present and the past, between a here and there.

The “feeling migrant” materializes in relation to these spaces of intimacy from the feeling of alienation that dominates the character. The city becomes elusive, distant, expulsive leaves the subject “trapped in a city that will always be strange to me”. In this sense, the windows function as metaphors of closed worlds and realize the impossibility of approach between these two universes: outside is the alien, inside the own.

As for the street, it becomes, at the end of the text, the space conducive to “living”. The city is presented from the beginning of the work as an unpopulated place due to the situation that the country and the streets are going through (military dictatorship) , the transit area of ​​the inhabitants of the city, became impassable and highlights the absence of subjects that transform the city into a cemetery. The character moves through these streets turned into fantasy and dominated by the “feeling migrant.”

Jesus Urzagasti


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