Penguin Random House/Caligrama – Published in Spain 2017
— ¡There you have it!, ¡Take it! — yelled the Leader while standing on a stool, on the edge of the suburban city lines.
And the city, mattresses in hand, advanced.
A collection of short stories that take place in a hypothetical future. A future populated by hive cities in which individuals are assigned their living spaces, people, beings with no name which we only know as him or her.
Stories that give us moments, with the possibility of entering these hive city dwellers thoughts and longings, what they desire to express, to act on when faced with threatening situations. Lost characters, dreaming of performing heroic acts, if only they found the courage to say what they believe.
Thats why you should, ¡Listen Up! (¡Oiga Bien!)
“About the essence of life, existence and deliciously twisted thoughts. We feel a tenderness towards these characters that reflect and share their thoughts for no apparent reason. Unrequested of them, they think, they exist.”
“Vivacity, lacking in strained rhetoric, vibrating in interest and tension… characteristics that stand out in the collection of stories ¡Oiga Bien! (Ed. Caligrama), a collection of short stories in which the dramatics of everyday life burst out of every corner. It is no surprise to discover through the story´s language’s, a writer that masters the art of storytelling through the structures and language of scriptwriting, (Martin Romanella’s profession, Buenos Aires, 1972).The delicate stories take direct action towards the heart of the matter, the center of the conflict. In this path they reveal our own pale routines, making us question our own existence. These stories will always surprise, they reveal the unexpected, uncover a hidden profile or an illuminating detail.
I have read them all, all the stories, finished the book, today, in a bar in Madrid, a Madrid changing seasons, I felt time stood still.”
“Martin Romanella´s writing reveals a certain detachment and lack of overworked fuss. As the author, his place is at a distance from the characters that inhabit his stories, he objectively observes them, their conflicts, their misfortunes. His focus is in telling their stories, the events, in the purest way, taking no sides.”
¡Oiga Bien!, like a bomb about to explode, cleanly narrates instants in characters lives, characters of which we only know their age and gender. Nameless, short of breath and hope, these characters head towards their new assigned homes, their only possession, a mattress . They arrive at the new sleeper cities that reveal little life beyond the disconnected sounds of a television, a distant barking dog, or tiered steps on a staircase.
Martin Romanella brings us intimately close to his characters, we see through their eyes, we look at our own reflection in a mirror. A reflection that overlaps the real and projected image mixing present and future of the same reality. Once you’ve started a story, there is no turning back.
Magazine Review, October 15 2017