Miguel Ángel Oeste imagines the ways to kill his father in his new book

With a whiplash fired at the reader’s attention, Miguel Ángel Oeste (Málaga, 1973) opens I come from that fear: “I want to kill my father”. Just in case, he immediately certifies the homicidal will: “Since I remember, I have fantasized about the ways in which I ended his life.” To expose the causes of his parricidal instinct the narrator devotes the entire story of him with absorbing interest. And it is not for less, since his story records a shocking chain of brutalities.

This history goes back to the family background, of the father and the mother, it goes through in detail episodes of violence, mistreatment and misery from the lacerating memory of the narrator and is complemented by various interrogations of relatives, friends and neighbors in order to verify the authenticity of the facts. A testimonial value is added to this very intimate perspective by recreating the new atmosphere of permissiveness in sexual practices and drugs that spread in the touristic Malaga of the 70s.

Scattered data allow the narrator to be related to the author and one more case of autofiction could be thought of. But an explicit mention of the civil name of Miguel Ángel Oeste (Miguel Ángel Martín Ruiz) tells us that it is something different. In fact, I come from that fear is not a novel but a memoir treated with narrative techniques or, if you like, a autobiographical report. Which adds a maximum plus of drama and tension to the events referred to knowing that the person who stars and narrates them are the same person. Hence the shocking effect of those authentic himalayas of pain. We read life, not fiction.

It is not a matter of registering the many episodes of cruelty, but I will mention a passage close to savagery. On one occasion the father, who liked to show himself naked and holding a huge penis in his hand, sodomizes the son in the shower and adds multiple aggressions. More overwhelming than the horrific event itself is the realistic narration of a defenseless being against a psychopath. From such sets arises what constitutes the true core of the book, reason for the title, the fear, which still grips West in the present of the story, 2017, dead father and mother.

[La identidad de ‘Arena’ de Miguel Ángel Oeste]

Cela said of his visionary office of darkness that it was not a novel but “a purge of the heart”. Something like that could repeat West. I come from that fear is a catharsis that the author needed to write to exorcise terrors and ghosts and avoid nightmares. In the book he goes to a therapist. I believe that he will no longer need it, and although the undressing that he carries out has caused tears, he will avoid continuing to pay for the consultation.

‘I come from that fear’ is a catharsis that the author needed to write to exorcise terrors and ghosts

Such a frank and harsh confession touches the heart of the reader, however insensitive it may be. But on it hangs the inevitable requirement of form. The narration is completely conventional, with no more novelty than the suppression of some orthographic signs, also now in fashion. West resorts essentially to the procedures of nineteenth-century naturalism and affects records of the tremendousism of the past century. With a little more risk and creativity in the way of telling, an impressive work that impresses and moves, made with gutsas such a terrible anecdote demands, would have had a greater literary value.

Miguel Ángel Oeste imagines the ways to kill his father in his new book