They say that authors love controlling their characters and they love nothing more than to torture them and kill them off if necessary. But readers might not know that there is a cardinal rule with writing that all authors must adhere to: writers must remain true to their characters. For characters to be real people, they can only do certain things certain ways and some things they simply cannot do, for it is not part of their character.
Facundo Raganato’s The Author or The Characters’ Short Living Story is a fun literary adventure which has a lot of fun with the notion of what happens when an author creates six characters in his own setting and tries to control and guide them, but ultimately lets them act as the characters they are. The Author also shows up routinely in the story, interacting with the characters, perhaps guiding, perhaps changing their direction, no one really knows. However, all the characters and the Author know there is a Reader out there following the story along and giving the characters life.
The story begins with the Author setting the scene, like sculpting a piece of art, and on a meta level talking about writing and characterization. Then the reader is introduced to the six main characters, who have generic names like Kimberly and Leo and seem unimpressive at first. They are all together in a strange place but have no memory of who they really are – other than their names – and what lives they have come from. As the story progresses, they constantly discuss if they are actually real or just fictitious creations.
As they get to know what little they know about themselves, as well as getting a little info from the Author, they must begin their quest of sorts, working together and facing nonstop conflict and obstacles like a surrounding wall of mirrors or a sewer grate locked tight which they must somehow get open. But their ultimate challenge is when they must each go their separate ways, passing through doors bearing their names, not knowing where they will be taken and if they will ever see each other again.
The Author works on many levels, stimulating the mind about writing and characters working together, but also what it means to be uncertain where the next step will lead, especially when there is a trickster Author involved, and how sometimes working together may be the only way to survive. The few typos in the book do throw the reader out of the story as the writing has a unique style to it that is enjoyable to follow. Reading what little description there is about the book, would-be readers may have some preconceived notions about what to expect from the book, but they will be well surprised as it is a unique work that they have likely not come across before.
Harvard Square Editions