A orillas del pasado. Sobre la memoria en El entenado de Juan José Saer
Juan Jose Saer’s novel El Entenado (1982) takes place at the imaginary river that shapes the Argentine writer’s work. This article illustrates how the running water exemplifies the moment of forgetting. Yet the river manifests itself, via the narrator, as a lifelong process of remembering and, through written recordings, the memories become part of the cultural memory. Being the only one to survive a tragic accident in which all his companions die, a young Spanish sailor runs ashore and lives with a native tribe from then on. However, his identity is shattered by the long stay with this tribe and him witnessing its later extinction. It is not until he returns to Europe that he learns to write, which enables him to organize his memories from his years as a stranger. The witness, named def-ghi in the ambiguous language of the Indians, realizes, however, that these memories, as well as the reminiscent (indigene) and the remembered (Spanish) language, prove to be unreliable and he is unable to access them. It is through this life, engraved by two incompatible ways of living, that the aging protagonist understands his assigned role as a witness who has to tell posterity about the greatly different and extinct native tribe.