Parks place places

It was a hot afternoon, and I was walking around looking for a park about which I had almost no information, except for its somewhat musical name, which made it promising, by my criteria, along with the fact that it was the biggest green space on the map of the city. In my mind a park that big couldn’t help but be good. For me a park is good when, first of all, it’s not pristine, and second, when it’s been taken over by solitude, which becomes an emblem, a defining trait for walkers, who are, at best, sporadic, and from my point of view, completely absorbed or lost in thought, and slightly confused, as though walking through a space that is at once strange and familiar. I don’t know if I should call it abandoned; what I mean is a place that seems relegated to the side, set apart from its surroundings, which could be any park, anywhere, even at the opposite end of the earth. A place that’s out-of-the-way, indistinct, or better yet, where a person, prompted by who knows what kinds of associations, withdraws and is transported to some other, indeterminate, location.

– Sergio Chejfec, excerpt from Mis dos mundos, (Buenos Aires, Alfaguara, 2008; Barcelona, Candaya, 2008), translated from the Spanish by Margaret Carson.


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