Masonic Chaconne, by Màrius Serra | Entertainment | The USA Print

Geological McGuffins, by Màrius Serra

Masonic Chaconne, by Màrius Serra | Entertainment | The USA Print

Jordi Masó, pianist and narrator from Granollers, is a singular case in the world of letters. He has published four books of short stories, three of imaginative and timeless short stories —the last one, a unique case of editorial homonymy: the herbs (Males Herbes, 2022)— and two novels, L’hivern to Corfu (2019) and now xacona (2023), always in the malherbologist editorial with green covers and overflowing fantasy. A chaconne is an instrumental piece based on variations “on a stubborn bass”, cultivated by Monteverdi, Frescobaldi or Bach. Masó part of a finding: shortly after burying her husband, a widow finds an undated love letter addressed to the deceased, signed by a certain Clara R. This starting point leads to as many trajectories as there are letters of the alphabet, seven of them unfolded between five and eight variations, perhaps following the beat of the “obstinate bass”, with the stellar appearances of the late Gustau (poet, collector and a thousand other things, even anagrammatic twin August), the embarrassed (or not) wife, the daughter Roser , the son-in-law Enric and other minors such as Quintana or the doctors Fígols (all the doctors are called Fígols). xacona it is a quantum novel, whose particles are and are not (“Gustau l’és i no l’és”), as if the bizarre variations of circumstances that lead to the letter were a fictionalized evolution of Queneau’s style exercises. Masó proposes a novel so unique that it refuses like Magritte’s pipe: “A novel must stick to a story and some characters. This is not a novel.”

‘Xacona’ is a quantum novel, a fictionalized evolution of Queneau’s style exercises

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A dual narrative festival like feelings, from a “suspicious euphoria” (over a pregnancy) to a “prudent pride” (over some good grades) because “feelings always depend on previous situations”, that is, on the starting point . The Masonic variations parody a lot of genres, as Robert Coover did with the western or the detective novel, and incorporate free quotes that Masó attributes to a list of authors at the end. Among the tributes, the one dedicated to Poirot, incarnated by his son-in-law Enric, or to Cortázar’s cronopios in detailed instructions for destroying a love letter stand out. Masó plays, experiments, hits and corrects himself how and when he wants: “the description that was given before accumulates so many clichés that it would make the sensitive reader blush and discredit any author with literary pretensions. We’ll redo it.” But above all, he risks without complexes: “You don’t have to be too perceptive to notice that this variant runs into a series of obstacles that compromise its credibility. But, more than seeking the comfort of rationality, we will strive to violate the logic that governs realistic narratives. Masó, a new victory for malherbology.