Suso de Toro
Suso de Toro is the author of eight novels for adults, including Thirteen Chimes, which won him the Spanish National Prize for Literature in 2003. The critic Basilio Losada described the novel Tick-Tock as perhaps the most impressive novel ever written in the Galician language. He has published several collections of short stories, including the groundbreaking Polaroid, a reference point in modern Galician literature, as well as three novels for younger readers. He teaches Galician language and literature at secondary school and is a regular contributor to newspapers such as El País. He is considered one of the most successful writers of his generation.
Photograph © Tino Viz
Polaroid (184 pages) was a wake-up call in modern Galician literature, in the author’s own words ‘an outburst of fury inspired by punk.’ First published in 1986 (with a revised version published in 1997), it aimed to break with the familiar traditions of Galician narrative. Short literary sketches portray the lives of social misfits who don’t measure up to the expectations of others.
Apparently they didn’t get on too well. He knocked her around, and so… No. He’d beat her, apparently one time she ended up in hospital. And so the point is she had enough. I don’t know, I think he sold lottery tickets or something, but it wasn’t that, he had a soft spot for the drink. Around eight in the evening he couldn’t stand straight. And the guy was bad-tempered, don’t think just because he was blind… no, he’d grab his stick and whirl it around. Oh, yes, he’s been on the receiving end, he’s been knocked around himself, I don’t much like pushing a blind man, but if he gets all cocky… If a guy like that gives you a whack over the head, then what? Oh, yes, you’re full of it, aren’t you? But I’d like to see what you would do in the same situation. Don’t think the guy was a lightweight, he was built like solid rock… Like the guy in a blue raincoat, but broader. Yes, the one reading a newspaper. But broader around the shoulders. The guy was built like a mule. He laid one finger on you and that was it. Good night, thanks for coming. He got on badly with everyone. He was permanently on bad terms with the neighbours, he pushed his kids around all the time and, as for his wife, well, you can imagine. But the guy had one of those miniature dogs, a poodle or something, and apparently he loved it like it was a child. No, you’re right, not like a child, he must have been fonder of it than that. The point is the dog got the best of everything, the best food, caresses, the family could go to hell. And so the woman had enough. She got fed up. That’s right. That’s exactly how it was. The guy arrives in the morning, sits down to breakfast, the woman comes, serves him a bowl of hot chocolate, same as always, the same stuff we’re drinking in these here glasses, the guy takes the bowl, drinks… Not at all worried, but then suddenly starts to twist and, bam!, falls down dead. Underground. She didn’t hang about and sent the dog after him, put the same stuff in its food. I don’t know, the dog must have barked because of what happened to its master, I suppose. Animals aren’t stupid, they’re full of instinct. So she sent the dog after him. No, she’ll get several years for it. The ones I feel sorry for are the kids.