Life is a very short word

Elizabeth Blackadder, Italian Landscape, 1960
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By DANIEL BRAZIL*

Commentary on the recently released book by Mário Baggio

In these media times, where the internet has accelerated reading times and increasingly requires speed of information, the art of writing concise and original stories is increasingly sought after, but rarely found successfully. In the ocean of short stories that floods the networks, we bypass archipelagos of literary blogs, cross shoals of micro stories, and dodge a lot of rubbish floating in currents of commonplaces.

That's why it's always an immense pleasure to finish reading a volume of short stories written with ingenuity and art, where the originality of the themes and psychological depth contrast with the economy of the writing. Life is a very short word, by Mário Baggio (Penalux, 2024), is a luminous island in the middle of the aforementioned ocean.

Baggio is a dedicated short story writer, with five published books. A craftsman with a fabulous imagination, he surprises at every step. The vast majority of the stories in this volume are less than three pages long, with some barely longer than half a page. The narrative voices alternate, the characters never repeat themselves, and the plots are breathtaking.

Short without being shallow, cutting without wasting steel, like daggers, Baggio's stories cover a wide range of feelings. They can be violent, but also lyrical. Deeply realistic, but without giving up the fantastic. Sometimes they seem cynical, other times they are moving. Sometimes they sound confessional, sometimes they reveal a detailed analysis of the human fauna and its contradictions.

The author's mastery allows us to experience a set of sensations and surprises, with images that remain marked for a long time after reading. Life is a very short word is one of the great releases of the year, and establishes new parameters, raising the bar of literary excellence a few more centimeters. Baggio is already one of the best short story writers working in this country. Budding writers, read and learn! Veterans, read and relearn! Discerning readers, enjoy without moderation.

* Daniel Brazil is a writer, author of the novel suit of kings (Penalux), screenwriter and TV director, music and literary critic.

Reference


Mario Baggio. Life is a very short word. São Paulo, Penalux, 2024, 222 pages. [https://amzn.to/3URq7dY]


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