Xabier López López
Xabier López López is the author of numerous novels, including: The Notebook (2001), awarded the Risco Prize for fantasy literature; Monkey in the Mirror (2002), awarded the Lueiro Prize for a short novel; The Life That Kills Us (2003), awarded both the García Barros and the Spanish Critics’ Prizes; and Chains (2013), winner of the Xerais Prize for best novel, in which the author comes across a woman reading his novel on the beach and different fragments/styles are combined to delve deep into what constitutes a novel. He is also the author of several children’s books. His works have been translated into Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic.
Photograph © Beatriz Seoane
Chains (408 pages) is Xabier López López’s ninth work of adult fiction and was published in 2013, having won the Xerais Prize for best novel. That same year, Xabier López López was voted author of the year by the digital magazine of Galician literature Fervenzas Literarias.
GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER (1): “THE FIRST TIME”
The sun reflected itself too, as if it were not enough to lash from up above and wanted to make use of the ocean to confuse him. Oh dear! Was it possible that she and he as well… he meant… that both of them… at the same time…? He allowed his eyes to run back once more along the path up to the dunes and stealthily raised his collar so that he could look more directly. Let’s see, he ruminated: a woman at the wheel of a car, most likely a sports car, somewhere around twenty or thirty years old, although before being suggested by that machine of which hardly a bit of chassis can be discerned, the dates are given by that face with big, painted lips, emerging out of an evanescent combination of shawl, scarf, and hat. No, there was no mistaking it. She and he, both of them, had in their hands a book which displayed a cover with the same illustration, ultimately the extremely well-known Tamara in the Green Bugatti, by the no less well-known Tamara de Lempicka. The coincidence would already have been enough in itself to start up a fascinating reflection about chance and even fate, were it not for the fact that the book, effectively the same, was for him not the more or less fortunate selection for an afternoon read, but an object upon which relapsed (in equal parts) enormous quantities of vanity and fatigue. It was his most recent novel, which had just come hot out of the oven as they say, and because of that little impulse to not detach himself from it during its first days of life (a compulsion which he repeated tirelessly volume after volume, without the possibility of knowing if that yielded any type of benefit in the slightest), there he was in the midst of his first reading with a number-two pencil searching for the errors which the printers had overlooked.
It was the first time something like this had happened to him. Because, let’s see… the girl there in front of him, the one with the fuchsia towel—the one who squeezed her knees together as she combed the sand with her toes—went, and forewent any other complementary alternative for sunbathing (sleeping, listening to music, sending messages on her phone) and killed the afternoon—that lazy and most-luminous end-of-July afternoon—finishing up a book. And not just any book, no sir, but one of HIS-goddamn-books. Not one of those fat volumes by Stephen King or by Ken Follett. Not one of those Vargas Llosa titles re-published in paperback in the wake of the Nobel Prize. Not one of those bricks of historical drama with religious conspiracy at their core. Not even one of those manuelorivases with which people tend to clear a bad conscience. The girl was reading ONE OF HIS BOOKS, and even if all of a sudden a tsunami like that of Fukushima were to sweep away the beach (the thought was completely misguided), that wasn’t going to change even a bit what already seemed as unquestionable as scientific fact.