Julio Ramón Ribeyro (1929-1994), a Peruvian short story writer of the El Boom era, has been less known outside the Spanish speaking world as he was not translated into English till recently.
As one trying to learn Spanish, I attempted a translation of a few of his stories, including five that I believe have not been translated before. These will appear on this blog over the next one week.
This is how Mario Vargas Llosa, his contemporary and friend summarizes Ribeyro’s writings :
All his stories and novels are fragments of a single allegory about the fundamental frustration of being Peruvian: a frustration that is social, individual, cultural, psychological, and sexual.History of a Friendship: Julio Ramón Ribeyro and Mario Vargas Llosa by Jorge Coaguila
(Thanks to Carlos D, my friend and guide in learning Spanish and who patiently helped with the translations over many weeks).
Barely had his mother closed the door, when Perico jumped from the mattress and listened, with his ear to the door, the steps fading away in the long corridor. When they had completely disappeared, he pounced towards the kerosene stove and rummaged through one of the burners that was no longer functioning. There it was! Pulling out a leather bag, he counted the coins one by one – he had learned to count while playing marbles – and to his astonishment, discovered that he had forty soles. He put back twenty soles in his pocket and returned the rest into their place. It had not been in vain, when during the night, he had pretended to sleep to spy on his mama. Now he had sufficient money to achieve his grand project. He had no excuse now. In those alleys of Santa Cruz, the doors were always ajar so the neighbours could poke their nose around. Putting on his shoes, he scampered off towards the street.Continue reading “Julio Ramón Ribeyro: The Meringues”