‘The Road to Juarez’ by Rafael Pérez Gay


Manifesto of Surrealism, Andre Breton, 1924

From Words Without Borders:

The doctor didn’t try to hide from me the storm my father was passing through:

“It’s called delirium. Hallucinations, amnesia, psychic disorder. It could also be a case of dementia caused by psychotic depression. We need to do a serum electrolytes test and an unenhanced cranial tomography.”

The neurologist wanted to look inside the theater of my father’s brain, to become a spectator of that absurd drama, as if there might be a new Ionesco trapped inside my father’s mind. I never liked Eugene Ionesco. In his stories dead bodies grow inside a room and men turn into rhinoceroses; as far as he was concerned, dreams are more lucid than our waking thoughts. In the world of that madman who triumphed with his delirium, dream stories unveiled dramatic forms. Seen from this point of view, at night when we dream, or in our delirium when we go mad, every one of us is a surrealist; we are all Breton, Picasso, Dalí. Along the road of madness, Ionesco was a recognized master of the theater of the absurd; but actually his dialogues are heavier than a grand piano. To understand him you have to carry around a whole dictionary of literary terms: avant-garde, postwar trauma, the loneliness of Man, language crisis, alienation, and some hidden eroticism thrown in for good measure. Anyway, let’s move on to my father.

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