‘The Warmth Of Things’ by Nélida Piñón

The Warmth Of Things by Nélida Piñón, 1980

The magic trick:

Creating an unsettling relationship between mother and son

Two images appeared in my mind while reading this.

One, I recalled Ignatius and his mother from A Confederacy Of Dunces. Two, I recalled the episode of Seinfeld when Jerry imagines Kramer as a turkey. If you’ve seen it, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, it’s far too complicated – and pointless – to explain.

Anyway, I really don’t know what’s happening in this story. It was a tough one for me to sort out. Oscar is obese. His mother isn’t helping. I don’t know the particulars – what’s symbolism, what’s real, what those symbols might even represent? But, I do know that the final scene is seriously messed up. The relationship conjured between Oscar and his mother by story’s end is complex and squirm-worthy, regardless of how you interpret it.

And that’s quite a trick on Piñón’s part.

The selection:

His mother put up a fight against his wildly staring eyes, his soul continually in mourning. What evil is abroad in the world that makes you look upon us with such suspicion? Oscar gave her a platinum brooch as a present, to be plunged forever into her breast. Drops of poison and the certainty of her own cross to bear were to drip from her flesh. In the face of the enigma that Oscar was posing, his mother, who throughout her life had rejected limpid phrases, uttered the words, “Oh, such a good meat turnover of a son!”

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