Prologue to “Cuentos eróticos de Navidad”
I don’t know about you, but I feel our culture, as my great friend Juan Marsé says, is still being handled with kid gloves. Luckily, literature, especially erotic literature, is one of the few strongholds open to transgression. And I am honoured to direct a collection which, like “The Vertical Smile”, contributes its own wicked grain of sand. In this book’s case, I think there are few times when one can treat oneself to having a great time, in all senses, with a holiday which is as traditional, or as dear, or as horrible, or as inevitable as Christmas: there’s no accounting for taste, just as in eroticism.
Why, you’ll be wondering, would anyone put together in one volume two topics that are so different? Just like that, off the top of one’s head, one would say Christmas is an antidote against lust (Christianity is another story: it is full of masochist martyrs, floggers and flogged ones, very sensual mystics, spiked belts -today the hottest in sex-shops-, and convents whose religious members kneel only before keyholes). However, precisely because it is a religious tradition, and an old one, it is perfectly suitable for a deeper, shocking and disturbing irreverence.
The volume is marked by variety; a variety of authors and styles, topics, tones and atmospheres. The merit belongs to the great Spanish and Latin American writers who wrote, exclusively for this book, a story, a tale in which, giving out their all, even the turkey, they put together their view of the erotic and Christmassy. Some are new in these fields and others came back to them for a while. It was worth it.
Whether they are set at the beginning of the first millennium, in nineteenth century England, or nowadays or whether they take place in Cuba, Spain, or any other city or corner of the world, all the stories refer to the Christmas celebration. In this aspect, nobody has broken the rule.
Some stories are decidedly sacrilegious, others are ambiguous and mysterious, others still exotic: between the overexcitement and depression that may overwhelm us in these days, there’s room for a whole range of feelings.
Let’s talk about eroticism now. While some stories talk about initiation in the arms of mature women (or not so mature), the almost fetishist obsession for a part of the body or its taste, or turning to male prostitutes to avoid loneliness and other “voids”, others talk about breaking the taboo of heterosexuality, overcoming impotence, ouch!, fulfilling wishes which have been repressed for years, the long cherished revenge (and the sweet bitterness of those at the other end), recapping a whole intimate life, the unavoidable presence of the family in erotic relationships, or seducing through the erotic story (it, in turn, perverse).
The order in which they are arranged responds to a desire to take the reader through the meanders of passion. Because eroticism is like nougat, one has to know how to dose it out … so that one doesn’t get indigestion.
It is, therefore, a pleasure, never better said, to introduce these twelve stories and two halves (to avoid the ominous number) which are brimming with imagination, eroticism and… Christmas spirit.
Luis García Berlanga
* Prologue to “Cuentos eróticos de Navidad”. Tusquets Editores, Barcelona, 1996.