pxRocío Durán-Barba, a well-known Ecuadorian writer, returns with a fascinating novel and a surprising plot. I said exactly that during a recent literary presentation: “she will never stop surprising us.” She demonstrates this not only in her books, but also in her presentations. Her poetical reading in Paris last January, accompanied by Andean music, left her audience in awe.
pxI have been a personal witness to the evolution of Rocío Durán-Barba’s latest novel. It was born out of endless conversations about her country and its intellectuals, whom I had met throughout the years. We talked about personalities such as Alfredo Gangotena and his friend Henri Michaux, whose book Ecuador earned him worldwide fame, and became the best means to get to know this country. Since the publication of Michaux diaries, describing his travels, one cannot talk about Ecuador without talking about Michaux’s book. It is a tough narrative, which attests to his sharp and ruthless style. For this reason, Ecuadorians view this work as condescending and insulting.

pxThe topic captivated Rocío in such a way, that one day she decided the write an answer to Michaux’s book; it had never been done. When she showed me the first pages, I was so fascinated by this poetic essay that I immediately started to translate it into French. I had done this type of work for other writers. I was intrigued by the passion, which underscored her work. Rocío Durán-Barba continuously transforms into verses the fascinating, delirious, incredible, and even entertaining images she manages to conceive and express with her characteristic mastery of the trade.
pxThe vigor of the essay makes me think that if Henri Michaux had been alive –we must recall that he was one of France’s leading writers– the confrontation between the two would have been sensational. She would have faced him with the power of her personality, capable of interviewing world celebrities, as he demonstrated on several occasions, particularly, in her interview with the president François Mitterrand when he had become a kind of French Monarch.