Sara Gallardo

No 13

Sara Gallardo

At her older sister's wedding, a drunkard rapes Nefer and gets her pregnant at sixteen. The tragedy is twofold. The unwanted child will also disable her, already remote, chance of a relationship with el Negro (disclaimer: in Argentina, this is a friendly nickname), the man with whom she is helplessly in love.



Sara Gallardo once told Reina Roffé that her characters “don't fight for anynthing, they simply know that against adversity or heartbreak there is nothing worth fighting for”.


If Nefer knows about an option that would solve her troubles (at an old lady's house) and will even explore it (she rides her horse -maybe the gallop can also help- and lies to nosy relatives asking about her whereabouts), she is unable to bring herself to action. "In the sleepy infinite of the Pampas horizon, Nefer is surrounded".


She already knows that she is not, nor will she ever be, the owner of her body. Against such adversity, there is nothing worth fighting for.


María Elena Walsh read January in 1958 and wrote the most precise review for Sur, so often quoted: This is a love story, not pink but earth-colored. The true protagonist is teenage love, failed and absurd.


January is a distorted, dystopian reflection of Jane Austen's world. An earth-colored love story that offers nor love nor redemption. A marriage will be hastily arranged between Nefer and Nicolás, her rapist. There are no promesses of delicacy, riches or happiness. “To be dead -she thinks-; that would suit me better”.


Idea Vilariño has written a specially cruel poem that could have been the perfect epigraph:


If you would die
and they would die
and I would die
and the dog
how clean


January, Frances Riddle and Maureen Shaughnessy trans., Archipelago, 2023 [1958]



Sara Gallardo
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