Osvaldo Soriano has a biography at his height

The last pages of the 524 of Soriano – A story (South American) are a waste of nostalgia. They are those in which Angel Berlanga, the author-biographer, recounts the last times of the writer. Here is an example: “Section 7E, plank 19, grave 1. Some schoolmates accompanied Manuel, who was wearing a San Lorenzo jersey. “He chose to put it on, I didn’t tell him anything,” Catherine recalls. That was impressive. Because he was not interested in soccer: she put it on because of her father. Manuel also carried a small garden shovel, with which he threw the first soil ”. Manuel is the little son of Sorianowho at that time (Soriano died on January 29, 1997) – recalls Berlanga – was 6 years old. Catherine Brucher was his partner and mother of the little boy, whom Soriano met during his exile, in Paris.

When we reach that point of reading we already know everything about Osvaldo Soriano and we even become fond of him. We know about his parents, about his childhood and adolescence, a nomad in the interior due to his father’s work, about his love for soccer and in particular for San Lorenzo. From his social and political positions, of his criticism of the military governments and of his regrets for the opportunity that -he thinks- the country lost with Ricardo Alfonsín. And of the collapse that Menem meant to us. We also know about his love for cats, how he got his first jobs as a journalist from Tandil and his texts until he became a one of the greatest Argentine writers. Someone who painted several decades of the country through his characters in stories, novels and journalistic texts. Such is Berlanga’s achievement: he tells his life in detail. A complete job. A journalism class.

Berlanga he spent almost ten years working on this book. She even traveled to France to talk to friends and acquaintances of Soriano. He got letters and other personal texts. He walked his same streets. Over time they would share a profession, although they would not physically meet in Page 12, where Berlanga would enter a year after the death of Soriano, one of the founders of this newspaper.

If this text appears among the sports topics of the morning it is because Soriano always clung to sports. He was one of the first Argentine writers to take soccer as a theme. When he did it, there were very few who encouraged him. Glimpses of Julio Cortázar, something of Roberto Arlt, Roberto Santoro. The world of literature used to minimize sport; later he minimized Soriano for being bestseller: he was not spared the sales success. But Soriano was, by far, one of the best storytellers in our literature. In addition, he is a member of the Olympus of Argentine soccer writers along with Roberto Fontanarrosa, Juan Sasturain and Ariel Scher.

Popular culture was always in Soriano’s writing. He added other topics to soccer. He questioned Carlos Monzón when he died in a road accident, remembering that he had killed Alicia Muñiz. He recounted the life of Mono Gatica -although boxing specialists point out some errors- like no one else. your text A hatred that should not be forgotten He paints, through Gatica, Peronism and the hatred of the ruling classes. He told us about Alberto Olmedo and many other references or social idols and even events that moved, such as the Robledo Puch case or the murder of Rucci. He also told of his love for Raymond Chandler and the genius of George Simenon. And he even told Argentina through Diego: “Maradona is the great story of this country. A great story that is not over yet. We are seeing it now in the immediacy. Because what happens to the subject of our love cannot be foreign to us. That’s why don’t count on me to crucify Diego.”.

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The father figure is another of the themes in Soriano’s writing. Few painted a father like him. In any book, but especially in the shadowless hour. Berlanga recalls a text in which he talks about soccer and the inverse: Soriano is now the father and he exemplifies it with an article titled Manuel’s dilemma: “My son is already two and a half years old and it is time for him to decide. At three I was already walking around with a Barça scarf and the shield in the shape of a heart. My father was a River fan but without exaggerating and my mother was neither fu nor fa. Now, a fan of San Lorenzo is tolerated in the La Boca neighborhood if he is a writer, painter, musician or sculptor. Nobility obliges (…) Among my son’s first words are: mom, dad, pee, poop, cat, boat, book and San Lorenzo. Pronounced ‘Banoenzo’. But, horror!, the neighborhood weighs as much as the tango says and the other day he threw a terrible ‘Dad… Mouth?’ I almost had a heart attack. If San Lorenzo doesn’t win today and Víctor Hugo doesn’t shout a goal from Acosta very loudly, I run a serious risk that the boy will appear at home one day with a blue and gold rag”.

The playwright Roberto Tito Cossa, now 88 years old, defines his friend in dialogue with Berlanga: “He had a very broad, popular but cultured look, and he could go from Borges to a player from San Lorenzo”. Berlanga remembers an interview from 1983 in which Soriano would say that he liked soccer more than literature. From another report, a statement by Soriano about to return to the country after being exiled by the military dictatorship stands out: “There were ways and ways of being in the country, in addition to being in prison; the dignity of Roberto Cossa, of the people who created Teatro Abierto, of the boys who played goals the most honorable of the magazines that circulated then”, in contrast with The graphicmore of a seller but editorially identified with the military government (not so its great journalists).

There will be more of San Lorenzo. The nostalgia of following him from Europe in his career to return to First Division after the relegation of ’81, and -further back- the loss of the Old Gasometer. There is the anecdote of the talk with José Sanfilippo, his idol, in which he recreates some of his goals between the gondolas of the Carrefour on Avenida La Plata. There is no lack of expectation before the inauguration of the field in Bajo Flores and criticism of the president, Fernando Miele, who compared San Lorenzo with Real Madrid. That’s when he turns to his son Manuel: “I still need to tell him that he does not choose a winner, that being from San Lorenzo is an endless shock; a burden that drags through life with as much bewilderment and pride as being an Argentine”.

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