A Brief History of Portable Literature

Excerpts from
A Brief History of Portable Literature 
by
Enrique Vila-Matas

“Strange characters live here, similar to shadows: beings not of woman born, whose ways of thinking and acting are pieced together from random fragments. When they pass through my spirit, I feel more inclined than ever to believe that dreams have an abode all their own; I think they inhabit or hide inside dark truths latent in my soul, when I’m awake, like the vivid impressions of brightly colored tales.”

“Given his habit of not listening when people told him stories, he instead plucked out two or three random words, using them to construct open fictions in his mind (tales very different from the ones he actually was told).

Death and the Moon
An old man comes across a dead body in the moonlight. He assembles a great number of animals and says to them: “Who among you brave creatures will take charge of transporting this dead man and who will take charge of transporting the moon to the other side of the river?”
Two turtles stepped forward: the first, who had long legs, carried the moon and made it to the opposite shore safe and sound; the other, who had short legs, took the dead man and drowned.
And this is why the moon reappears day after day, and the man who dies never comes back.

“Gossip—narrative as pure transitoriness—also presents the impossibility of identical repetition, the inevitability of endless transformation. ”

“The art of insolence. We must be mindful that insolence, when it becomes manifest, does so always in relation to others, as part of a movement that is mindful—intensely mindful—of the other. It is the expression of a rebellions, scandalous, immortal ego imposing itself as a way of exposing itself.”

“Anguish means no longer having anything to say about anything.”

“I believe I’ve written these words as the days draws its images, whispering over them, never to return.”
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