Tag Archives: El hablador

El Hablador / The Storyteller 2

Notes on section 5

Note how often this text uses the word “perhaps” and “eso es, por lo menos, lo que yo he sabido” — and the way it uses “diciendo.” Everything is always tentative and always in process, it seems. And the moon comes down and walks as a person — it is very poetic. Consider also the humor, the kinds of humor there are in these stories.

There is a lot of justification on why they must walk in this chapter.

The viracochas (the whites), by invading, are helping them fulfill this destiny, says the storyteller.

So, is the novel showing us that the storyteller is manipulating people, taking advantage of his role and of the to justify pushing a certain agenda of cultural purity?


A mischievous kamagarini (these are little evil spirits in Machiguenga mythology, apparently, who live in the jungle and dance and sing if anything bad happens) stung Tasurinchi, who did not die, and is walking. Or perhaps he was killed by the Yaminahua. But no, he is there with the Yaminahua woman he stole; she is learning to talk (or to speak Machiguenga).

Since the kamagarini bite Tasurinchi obeys this spirit who seems to be in him. And he (and apparently people in general) has several souls. The bite was cured by a serpigari, a kind of healer.

Story of Kashiri, the moon, marrying Tasurinchi’s daughter on earth — this was earlier … before Kashiri’s face got spotted and he returned to the sky (although the daughter was pregnant and would give birth to the sun). Another serpigari has another version of the story … and there is another.

Narrator (called Tasurinchi by a talking bird) saved from a flood by an alligator. Flies away on the back of a crane. (If this narrator had met a serpigari, he would have addressed him as Tasurinchi.) And: was all of this an ayahuasca dream?

Story of a comet (anger, which deregulates the world) … at this time the Machiguenga had not yet begun to walk, and the moon lived among them. He and his wife engendered the sun, but then had so much sex that the world lost its equilibrium. Tasurinchi blew on the moon, so its light grew less bright, and equilibrium returned. Walking will bring further equilibrium…

The narrator has a parrot (this is one sign that he is Mascarita) … and they are calling him a storyteller … and he is learning to be a Machiguenga. All alone the hablador listens to nature as it begins to speak. Everything has a voice and a story, and the hablador tells these stories again. And during the time of Creation, everything was spoken (breathed) into existence.

Historical stories: the rubber trade. And then, the temptation to stop walking: it deregulates the world.

Notes on section 6

The tv program, a project reminiscent of the work of a storyteller (and that involves rough travel) … [nota personal this was real, and when he came to Berkeley … which he says is in San Francisco … it was to interview Milosz, and I remember this]

He ends up visiting the jungle and the Linguistics Institute again, due to the program

The Machiguenga are now organized into villages. The narrator is not sure the change is good, and nobody will talk about the storytellers initially. But Edwin Schniel has seen two, the second an albino or “gringo.”

The gringo storyteller is anti-Schniel and has a birthmark

*The fact that the Schniels confirm that Mascarita is a storyteller lends a level of certainty to this supposition*

Moshe from the tv program confirms that Mascarita’s father did not go to Israel and Mascarita may have or not

Notes on section 7

This is where the storyteller retells the Kafka story … and calls his parrot Mascarita

Notes on section 8

Summing up. Saúl, to become a storyteller, has gone back in time, become a primitive man, joined the jungle absolutely, and our narrator is impressed and amazed.

Florence, where he is, begins more and more to resemble the jungle, and what the narrator hears is the voice of this Machiguenga storyteller.

So: is it that in spite of himself, this narrator is won over and impressed, by the pure possibility and by the importance of the storyteller in this culture?

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Posted by on March 31, 2011 in Vargas Llosa