The Uruguayan author's complete works are being published. They are contrasted with the original manuscripts. This is very important because Onetti never corrected a single page of his novels. This publication filled a void because some of his works were not found in bookstores. His widow, Dolly Onetti, the project's coordinator, said that if her husband were alive “he would be aghast” at the world of today.
Dorotea Muhr, “Dolly”, was the woman who spent her life with Juan Carlos Onetti for over 40 years. She was the one who ordered and typed all of his work, and one of the coordinators of the publication of her husband's complete works (Galaxia Gutenberg-Círculo de Lectores).
With the occasion of the appearance of the first of three volumes, Dorotea declared that Onetti was always implied in the reality of his times. "If he saw how the world is today with globalization, as unjust as it is, pure business, savage capitalism and the very little reading that goes on, especially in the youth of today, he would be aghast.
She is a retired violinist of the Madrid Philharmonic Orchestra, she assures that Onetti “was great fun, he was marvelous. He had an excellent sense of humor, and he was a bit of a child, he was always playing.. His work is very much alive and is quite current. He had a great love for life without ever forgetting the innate awareness of death”.
Maybe having that awareness was what led him to decide that he would live his last ten years in bed as a negation of existence. This was because "the wrong thing to do is let the outside world in", he said of himself. There, he received visits, he read, wrote and was engrossed in literature. His dark legend of a grim and unapproachable man is due to the lack of understanding of his withdrawal from the world and his great freedom to chose with whom he spoke.
Persecuted for his progressive political ideas, he exiled himself from his country due to a military coup d'etat in 1975. From then on he set down roots in the Spanish capital where he died in 1994 at 85 years of age. In Madrid, he cultivated the image of the writer who lives by and for literature. He alternated his literary activity with his friends, and in later years with his whiskey.
He won the Cervantes Prize in 1980. He is considered to be one of the founders of the modern Latin American novel. His work, of a universal stature, was judged by him to be a "long confession". The truth of the matter is that Onetti knew how to meld life with literature like no one else. His writing is quite distanced from the Latin American literary boom, and is closer to authors such as Faulkner, Proust and Celine.
Since 1995, his wife Dolly has transcribed the latest version of Onetti's texts. They have now been published, scrupulously revised and compared to the existing manuscripts. This was an arduous chore, as Onetti himself never corrected a single page. Therefore, these complete works will be of great use, not only to the interested reader but also to those who are studying the author. From now on, they have a reliable edition. Publication has been entrusted to Hortensia Campanella, a friend of Onetti, and the current director of the Spanish Cultural Center in Montevideo.
The first volume includes “El pozo” (1939), “Tierra de nadie” (1941), “Para esta noche” (1943), “La vida breve” (1950), “Los adioses” (1954) and the appended “Tiempo de abrazar” (1934). The second volume will include the rest of his novels up until the last one, “Cuando ya no importe” (1993). The third one will be made up of the stories, articles and miscellaneous texts.
Though the author died ten years ago, Dolly Onetti still talks about him in the present tense. She is “charmed by and grateful” this edition of his works: “There was a real need for it in Spain and the Americas. It turned out just marvelous. It can be said that the work is all of Onetti. There is nothing left of his to publish except the letters that I have. There is correspondence with friends such as Julio Cortázar”.
“He had been married three times before he married me”, states the widow. She tells the story with great emotion of how she met him and what her life with the writer was like in the new publication's prolog.