Jamás el fuego nunca

Periférica, 2012 | Never Ever Did the Fire

(Never Ever Did the Fire) The title of this enthralling, devastating novel comes from an enigmatic verse written by Peruvian poet César Vallejo, which somehow anticipates the story
of a passion (a fire) that was born under the sign of a failure, together with he story, beyond the threshold of death, of a defeated leftist revolutionary roject. The main characters, a woman (the narrator) and her couple, seem to be installed in a time that is no longer theirs’, a new century, a new millennium, and from that perspective they judge how futile their adventure has been. Everything occurs in a reduced space, a room that is also a world with an order, one would say, of its own and almost ghostly: the proper space, perhaps, to talk about the downfall of ideologies and bodies.

Displaying a prose that has no fear of the convulsive beauty demanded by André Breton, Diamela Eltit, one of the greatest names in Latin American literature of the turn of the 20th Century, has constructed an impressively effective narrative, a sort of definitive obituary of a common experience, a failure shared by a whole generation that believed in a social revolutionary project that eventually would not succeed.
For any reader, Jamás el fuego nunca constitutes a top literary experience, as it masterfully dares to situate on the same level of reflection both political and private commitment, motherhood, and many other topics that nurture this novel with fertile contradictions.

“I belong to the group of Chilean writers that remained in the country during Pinochet’s dictatorship and, as a cultural rescue action, we built the ‘inxile’ or interior exile. For more than 30 years, we went from violence as a daily situation to a market violence produced by a really intensified neoliberalism.” Diamela Eltit