Inma López Silva
Inma López Silva teaches dramatic theory at the Galician School of Dramatic Art and holds a doctorate in Galician philology. Her work varies between novels such as Concubines (2002), awarded the Xerais Prize for best novel, and Memory of Cities without Light (2008), awarded the Blanco Amor and San Clemente Prizes, and books of a more intimate nature such as diaries about her experiences living in New York (New York, New York, 2007) and becoming a mother for the first time (Maternosofia, 2014). She has published two collections of short stories, Roses, Crows and Songs (2000) and Ink (2012). She has translated work by the French authors Albert Camus and Jean Genet into Galician, and is active on the Galician political stage.
MEMORY OF CITIES WITHOUT LIGHT synopsis
Memory of Cities without Light (340 pages) is the memoir of a child who is forced to flee Spain at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War with his adoptive mother, Lucía. They settle in Paris, where the boy becomes a famous actor, but is haunted by the ghosts of his past. The book is divided into five parts and an epilogue.
MEMORY OF CITIES WITHOUT LIGHT
The day I was left alone, I had two options: to run until I choked and fainted, or to carry on huddled beneath the bed so that I could stay alive. I chose to remain where I was, looking out between the tassels of the bedspread and the floor, and everything changed and became unpredictable.
I saw one of those things children are not supposed to see.
That was the first time I wished I could go blind, despite the fact I’d never met any blind people at all, or poets on the stage, spies, paid mourners who pluck out their eyes, prophets, saintly women, or just women who later die, forgotten, in large cities. That night, when I was five, I wished I could go blind simply so that I wouldn’t have to watch my family die again. I’d already learned the expression ‘What the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve over’, and I thought it was true.
For parents, the time left after their children die is a whole eternity, even if that time lasts only a few seconds. Parents should not have to see how all the life their children had in front of them goes up in a puff of smoke. No. They shouldn’t even have to see it when they themselves are going to die a moment later. Besides the death of my family, I saw the grief painted on a parent’s face when he’s watched his children perish.
It was all because of a robbery. My father worked in a bank and would sometimes bring money home, back then I never wondered why. I found out much later, when I discovered I had inherited two apartments, a bamboo table and a car that didn’t start. But at the time it was all much simpler: he got home that day, as on many others, with a bundle of cash under his arm and, though I don’t remember the details, I’m quite sure it never even entered my head to think that this was not normal. I assumed this was just his job. Five-year-olds don’t have it in them to imagine great swindles, certainly not ones their parents have orchestrated.