For some reason, when I read the prompt Re-read a favorite classic for the Back to Classics 2018 challenge, I first thought of Novela como nube (I’ve seen it translated as Novel like a Cloud or The Novel as a Cloud; personally, I would translate it as simple as Novel as Cloud). This was one of my favorite books in school.
Novela como nube was published by Gilberto Owen in 1928. Owen was mainly known as a poet and diplomat, and he was one of the prominent figures of the poetic movement known as Los Contemporáneos, one of the most culturally active groups in the first half of the 20thcentury in Mexico.
Unfortunately there are no translations in English of this book… I can imagine it would be a gigantic endeavor. The title “novel” is not really accurate… or it is, but more in the sense of what Marcel Proust thinks of a novel. It’s actually inspired in In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower/Within a Budding Grove, À l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs (the second volume of À la recherche du temps perdu, published in 1919). Novela como nube is a lyric novel that in some way and through thousand of esthetic resources tells the story of Ernesto and his love interests.
It was actually hard to re-read this book. I absolutely love it, and I marked more things than I marked a decade ago. But I’m not in the mood for poetic works right now… I love poetry but I’m getting back to reading and this was definitely not what I needed. This is a book I adore, but also a book that I will keep to myshelf until I feel the actual *need* to recover it.
Son las cosas demasiado diáfanas las que no se ven, aire, cristal, poesía. Esta la sentimos en cómo nos humedece los ojos; el aire, en cómo nos los seca.
– Gilberto Owen, Novela como nube