Empty talk (El discurso vacío)

Empty talk (El discurso vacío)

Novel | Penguin Random House , 2006 , 2007, 2008, 2011 | 176 pages

“When one reaches a certain age, one is no longer the protagonist of one’s actions: everything is merely the consequence of previous actions. What one sowed has been growing surreptitiously and all of a sudden explodes into a sort of jungle that surrounds one on all sides, and the days can be opened up solely by dint of machete blows and then only to be choked out by the jungle again; and soon one discovers that any hope of escape is completely illusory, in that the jungle spreads faster that we can clear it and above all because the very notion of escape is erroneous; we cannot escape because we do not want to escape, and we do not want to escape because we have nowhere to go, because the jungle is one’s self, and escape would imply some sort of death or simply death. And even if there was once a time when one could die a certain kind of seemingly inoffensive death, now we know that those deaths were the seeds we sowed of the jungle we now are. (Fragment)


Considered his masterwork by many of his readers and some critics, Empty talk, is the story of a writer who spends his time observing his own calligraphy in search of answers about his identity. In the midst of a family crisis, fighting with his runaway wife, a dog with a yearning for freedom and a child who constantly interrupts his sacred concentration, the writer survives by grasping onto what he considers a maxim of calligraphy: “beautiful script, beautiful me”.

These sinuous lines give him answers about the meaning of writing, about the anxieties of creative writing and particularly about the always magical relationship of writing with life.

An essential book, a cult work. Rodolfo Fogwill

Each of his books is better than the one before. Damián Tabarovsky,  El País

Published in Spanish world-wide by: Random House  Mondadori/ Italia Jaca Book/Francia Notabilia/USA Coffee House Press