Meet Toño

Toño Plum I like close. He is the bully of my school and is my best friend, the most hated and most idolized: “I opened the door and there he was, as fate.” His name is like an echo in my head, reminding me of that popular and dark rhyme: “Toño Matoño/killed his wife/with a knife/as big as him. /took out the chips/put them to sell/with that talk/bought another woman.

That could be said of the Toño Plum (Tusquets) of Evelio Rosero: The man who did not love women. They are the target of their crimes: The mad mother, the depressive sister, the friend assaulted in the street, the girl who had to stop being a child. He horrifies us with mastery, at the point of labia and writing. I mean, we believe the story. Is it necessary to narrate so much violence? Yes, “because it’s reality,” answered Rosero in an interview.

The story of Plum is telling Eri, that we are ourselves, the one who attends his life, so critical and at the same time captivated. The other to tell himself. At times it reminded me of the voice of Pedro Páramo, of the great Juan Rulfo, especially after a certain journey by train, to reach a town where they all seem dead. This is a novel rich in book references, because this plum is an evil cult. We see how it provokes religion by smoking marijuana with the leaves of the Bible or talking about a nun “so mystical that it was only flesh and I was so flesh that it was only mystical.” We passed, in short, by the history of the violence of the country with the play the Laughter of God, an exhibition of the pain. We consider his model of society, the farm of freedom, with commandments like “not praying but poems” and “Making love above all things!”.

The ideal love is a firefly in the Darkness: “Hands that rub and tremble and … at last … are bound …, without any other purpose than to bond because that is only to love.” We do not travel the history of the world, but the skin of beings who feel flesh and guts that move. People as worlds. “Toño Plum never loved anyone, and that’s the difference between the ones and the others.” Toño, the murderer, a monster of the high class Bogota, who believes that “everything must be invented again”, “happier than happiness”, the extraordinary life that someone else has to tell. It’s the character we can’t trust and that makes it more fascinating. In the end he laughs in our face: you will never know if it was true.

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