When a man like Silvestre Revueltas goes back into the ground at last, there is a rumor, a wave’s voice and a cry that makes ready and makes known his departure.
The portrait these letters paint of an artist trying to hone his craft at all costs transforms them from obscure Proustiana into a richer portrait of Proust the man, neighbor, and writer.
Oh, life of clay! Oh, century’s death throes!
I am afraid only he will understand you
Who wears the helpless human smile of a man
Who has exhausted himself.
“This intense, absurd tragedy, I realize now, is my invisible foundation. The myth of Pei Pei is born here—an image that picks up the devastation between Nietzsche and the world and between me and Hong Kong. The dead part of me still lingers in Hong Kong through Pei Pei.”
The friendship is both tender and antagonistic, deeply intimate and full of spite, and Elena reflects on the difficulty of telling her own story without Lila in it. There is Lila’s story and there is Elena’s story, but Elena realizes the two are inextricable.