Xabier P. DoCampo
Xabier P. DoCampo is one of Galicia’s most distinguished writers. As a schoolteacher, he has been heavily involved in movements of educational reform in Galicia. He has also contributed greatly, in libraries and other settings, to the promotion of reading. He has worked as an actor and scriptwriter. But he is best known for his works of fiction aimed at younger readers, of which there are more than thirty. These have been included in the IBBY Honour List and the White Ravens Catalogue. In 1995 he won the Spanish National Prize for Literature with When There’s a Knock on the Door at Night. His novel The Book of Imaginary Journeys, illustrated by Xosé Cobas, takes its inspiration from Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities.
Photograph © DNL
THE BOOK OF IMAGINARY JOURNEYS synopsis
The Book of Imaginary Journeys (224 pages) comprises two travel journals written by a certain X.B.R., in the first of which the Traveller describes the cities and kingdoms he visits. This makes up thirty short texts. The second journal contains notes and drawings the Traveller jots down along the way, together with more intimate reflections. These drawings and reflections are interspersed between the more descriptive texts. The book is inspired by Italo Calvino’s novel Invisible Cities.
THE BOOK OF IMAGINARY JOURNEYS
All journeys are a return. Any traveller returns home the moment he sets foot outside the house. He has to come back in order to say what has happened, to turn the journey into a story.
For this reason, the paths the Traveller undertakes are tracks that lead to the knowledge and apprehension of beauty, which has so often to be rescued from the midst of misery and evil. Travelling means going to meet something the contemplation of which moves us, and before which we abandon all desire for possession, because the enjoyment resides in receiving that something for free.
That is why, before what the journey gives us, in front of the lesson it provides, what we are really getting is a moment, a chunk of time in which we have the privilege of taking something we will soon relinquish.
But it is in that moment, that tiny breadth of time when the contemplation of beauty or human misery appears to abandon us, that it installs itself in our memory and turns into knowledge, which is not built to the exclusion of others, but through them and in them turns into learning, experience… making us who we are.