The first is the fiefdom of Osvaldo Soriano, who was a good minor novelist. When it comes to Soriano, you have to have a brain full of fecal matter to see him as someone around whom a literary movement can be built. I don’t mean he’s bad. As I’ve said: he’s good, he’s fun, he’s essentially an author of crime novels or something vaguely like crime novels, whose main virtue — praised at length by the always perceptive Spanish critical establishment — is his sparing use of adjectives, a restraint lost, in any case, after his fourth or fifth book. Hardly the basis for a school. Apart from Soriano’s kindness and generosity, which are said to be great, I suspect that his sway is due to sales, to his accessibility, his mass readership, although to speak of a mass readership when we’re really talking about twenty thousand people is clearly an exaggeration. What Argentine writers have learned from Soriano is that they, too, can make money. No need to write original books, like Cortázar or Bioy, or total novels, like Cortázar or Marechal, or perfect stories, like Cortázar or Bioy, and no need, especially, to squander your time and health in a lousy library when you’re never going to win a Nobel Prize anyway. All you have to do is write like Soriano. A little bit of humor, lots of Buenos Aires solidarity and camaraderie, a dash of tango, a worn-out boxer or two, an old but solid Marlowe. But, sobbing, I ask myself on my knees, solid where? Solid in heaven, solid in the toilet of your literary agent? What kind of nobody are you, anyway? You have an agent? And an Argentine agent, no less?
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