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City Of Glass - New York Trilogy #1, City of Glass CD 04 parte I (1)

City of Glass CD 04 parte I (1)

Auster put the check on the coffee table, as if to say the matter had been settled. Then he leaned back on the sofa and looked Quinn in the eyes. “There's a much more important question than the check,” he said. “The fact that my name has been mixed up in this. I don't understand it at all.”

“I wonder if you've had any trouble with your phone lately. Wires sometimes get crossed. A person tries to call a number, and even though he dials correctly, he gets someone else.”

“Yes, that's happened to me before. But even if my phone was broken, that doesn't explain the real problem. It would tell us why the call went to you, but not why they wanted to speak to me in the first place.”

“Is it possible that you know the people involved?”

“I've never heard of the Stillmans.”

“Maybe someone wanted to play a practical joke on you.”

“I don't hang around with people like that.”

“You never know.”

“But the fact is, it's not a joke. It's a real case with real people.”

“Yes,” said Quinn after a long silence. “I'm aware of that.”

They had come to the end of what they could talk about. Beyond that point there was nothing: the random thoughts of men who knew nothing. Quinn realized that he should be going. He had been there almost an hour, and the time was approaching for his call to Virginia Stillman. Nevertheless, he was reluctant to move. The chair was comfortable, and the beer had gone slightly to his head. This Auster was the first intelligent person he had spoken to in a long time. He had read Quinn's old work, he had admired it, he had been looking forward to more. In spite of everything, it was impossible for Quinn not to feel glad of this.

They sat there for a short time without saying anything. At last, Auster gave a little shrug, which seemed to acknowledge that they had come to an impasse. He stood up and said, “I was about to make some lunch for myself. It's no trouble making it for two.”

Quinn hesitated. It was as though Auster had read his thoughts, divining the thing he wanted most—to eat, to have an excuse to stay a while. “I really should be going,” he said. “But yes, thank you. A little food can't do any harm.”

“How does a ham omelette sound?”

“Sounds good.”

Auster retreated to the kitchen to prepare the food. Quinn would have liked to offer to help, but he could not budge. His body felt like a stone. For want of any other idea, he closed his eyes. In the past, it had sometimes comforted him to make the world disappear. This time, however, Quinn found nothing interesting inside his head. It seemed as though things had ground to a halt in there. Then, from the darkness, he began to hear a voice, a chanting, idiotic voice that sang the same sentence over and over again: “You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.” He opened his eyes to make the words stop.

There was bread and butter, more beer, knives and forks, salt and pepper, napkins, and omelettes, two of them, oozing on white plates. Quinn ate with crude intensity, polishing off the meal in what seemed a matter of seconds. After that, he made a great effort to be calm. Tears lurked mysteriously behind his eyes, and his voice seemed to tremble as he spoke, but somehow he managed to hold his own. To prove that he was not a self-obsessed ingrate, he began to question Auster about his writing. Auster was somewhat reticent about it, but at last he conceded that he was working on a book of essays. The current piece was about Don Quixote.

“One of my favorite books,” said Quinn.

“Yes, mine too. There's nothing like it.”

Quinn asked him about the essay.

“I suppose you could call it speculative, since I'm not really out to prove anything. In fact, it's all done tongue-in-cheek. An imaginative reading, I guess you could say.”

“What's the gist?”

“It mostly has to do with the authorship of the book. Who wrote it, and how it was written.”

“Is there any question?”

“Of course not. But I mean the book inside the book Cervantes wrote, the one he imagined he was writing.”

“Ah.”

“It's quite simple. Cervantes, if you remember, goes to great lengths to convince the reader that he is not the author. The book, he says, was written in Arabic by Cid Hamete Benengeli. Cervantes describes how he discovered the manuscript by chance one day in the market at Toledo. He hires someone to translate it for him into Spanish, and thereafter he presents himself as no more than the editor of the translation. In fact, he cannot even vouch for the accuracy of the translation itself.”

“And yet he goes on to say,” Quinn added, “that Cid Hamete Benengeli's is the only true version of Don Quixote's story. All the other versions are frauds, written by imposters. He makes a great point of insisting that everything in the book really happened in the world.”

“Exactly. Because the book after all is an attack on the dangers of the make-believe. He couldn't very well offer a work of the imagination to do that, could he? He had to claim that it was real.”

“Still, I've always suspected that Cervantes devoured those old romances. You can't hate something so violently unless a part of you also loves it. In some sense, Don Quixote was just a stand-in for himself.”

“I agree with you. What better portrait of a writer than to show a man who has been bewitched by books?”

“Precisely.”

“In any case, since the book is supposed to be real, it follows that the story has to be written by an eyewitness to the events that take place in it. But Cid Hamete, the acknowledged author, never makes an appearance. Not once does he claim to be present at what happens. So, my question is this: who is Cid Hamete Benengeli?”

“Yes, I see what you're getting at.”

“The theory I present in the essay is that he is actually a combination of four different people. Sancho Panza is of course the witness. There's no other candidate—since he is the only one who accompanies Don Quixote on all his adventures. But Sancho can neither read nor write. Therefore, he cannot be the author. On the other hand, we know that Sancho has a great gift for language. In spite of his inane malapropisms, he can talk circles around everyone else in the book. It seems perfectly possible to me that he dictated the story to someone else—namely, to the barber and the priest, Don Quixote's good friends. They put the story into proper literary form—in Spanish—and then turned the manuscript over to Samson Carrasco, the bachelor from Salamanca, who proceeded to translate it into Arabic. Cervantes found the translation, had it rendered back into Spanish, and then published the book The Adventures of Don Quixote.”

“But why would Sancho and the others go to all that trouble?”

“To cure Don Quixote of his madness. They want to save their friend. Remember, in the beginning they burn his books of chivalry, but that has no effect. The Knight of the Sad Countenance does not give up his obsession. Then, at one time or another, they all go out looking for him in various disguises—as a woman in distress, as the Knight of the Mirrors, as the Knight of the White Moon—in order to lure Don Quixote back home. In the end, they are actually successful. The book was just one of their ploys. The idea was to hold a mirror up to Don Quixote's madness, to record each of his absurd and ludicrous delusions, so that when he finally read the book himself, he would see the error of his ways.”

“I like that.”

“Yes. But there's one last twist. Don Quixote, in my view, was not really mad. He only pretended to be. In fact, he orchestrated the whole thing himself. Remember: throughout the book Don Quixote is preoccupied by the question of posterity. Again and again he wonders how accurately his chronicler will record his adventures. This implies knowledge on his part; he knows beforehand that this chronicler exists. And who else is it but Sancho Panza, the faithful squire whom Don Quixote has chosen for exactly this purpose? In the same way, he chose the three others to play the roles he destined for them. It was Don Quixote who engineered the Benengeli quartet. And not only did he select the authors, it was probably he who translated the Arabic manuscript back into Spanish. We shouldn't put it past him. For a man so skilled in the art of disguise, darkening his skin and donning the clothes of a Moor could not have been very difficult. I like to imagine that scene in the marketplace at Toledo. Cervantes hiring Don Quixote to decipher the story of Don Quixote himself. There's great beauty to it.”

“But you still haven't explained why a man like Don Quixote would disrupt his tranquil life to engage in such an elaborate hoax.”

“That's the most interesting part of all. In my opinion, Don Quixote was conducting an experiment. He wanted to test the gullibility of his fellow men. Would it be possible, he wondered, to stand up before the world and with the utmost conviction spew out lies and nonsense? To say that windmills were knights, that a barber's basin was a helmet, that puppets were real people? Would it be possible to persuade others to agree with what he said, even though they did not believe him? In other words, to what extent would people tolerate blasphemies if they gave them amusement? The answer is obvious, isn't it? To any extent. For the proof is that we still read the book. It remains highly amusing to us. And that's finally all anyone wants out of a book—to be amused.”

Auster leaned back on the sofa, smiled with a certain ironic pleasure, and lit a cigarette. The man was obviously enjoying himself, but the precise nature of that pleasure eluded Quinn. It seemed to be a kind of soundless laughter, a joke that stopped short of its punchline, a generalized mirth that had no object. Quinn was about to say something in response to Auster's theory, but he was not given the chance. Just as he opened his mouth to speak, he was interrupted by a clattering of keys at the front door, the sound of the door opening and then slamming shut, and a burst of voices. Auster's face perked up at the sound. He rose from his seat, excused himself to Quinn, and walked quickly towards the door.

Quinn heard laughter in the hallway, first from a woman and then from a child—the high and the higher, a staccato of ringing shrapnel—and then the basso rumbling of Auster's guffaw. The child spoke: “Daddy, look what I found!” And then the woman explained that it had been lying on the street, and why not, it seemed perfectly okay. A moment later he heard the child running towards him down the hall. The child shot into the living room, caught sight of Quinn, and stopped dead in his tracks. He was a blond-haired boy of five or six.

“Good afternoon,” said Quinn.

The boy, rapidly withdrawing into shyness, managed no more than a faint hello. In his left hand he held a red object that Quinn could not identify. Quinn asked the boy what it was.

“It's a yoyo,” he answered, opening his hand to show him. “I found it on the street.”

“Does it work?”



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City of Glass CD 04 parte I (1)

Auster put the check on the coffee table, as if to say the matter had been settled. Auster dejó el cheque sobre la mesa de café, como diciendo que el asunto estaba resuelto. Then he leaned back on the sofa and looked Quinn in the eyes. Luego se recostó en el sofá y miró a Quinn a los ojos. “There's a much more important question than the check,” he said. “Hay una cuestión mucho más importante que el cheque”, dijo. “The fact that my name has been mixed up in this. “El hecho de que mi nombre se haya mezclado en esto. I don't understand it at all.” No lo entiendo en absoluto.

“I wonder if you've had any trouble with your phone lately. “Me pregunto si has tenido algún problema con tu teléfono últimamente. Wires sometimes get crossed. Los cables a veces se cruzan. A person tries to call a number, and even though he dials correctly, he gets someone else.” Una persona trata de llamar a un número y, aunque marca correctamente, se encuentra con otra persona”.

“Yes, that's happened to me before. “Sí, eso me ha pasado antes. But even if my phone was broken, that doesn't explain the real problem. Pero incluso si mi teléfono estuviera roto, eso no explica el verdadero problema. It would tell us why the call went to you, but not why they wanted to speak to me in the first place.” Nos diría por qué te llamaron a ti, pero no por qué querían hablar conmigo en primer lugar”.

“Is it possible that you know the people involved?” "¿Es posible que conozcas a las personas involucradas?"

“I've never heard of the Stillmans.” Nunca he oído hablar de los Stillman.

“Maybe someone wanted to play a practical joke on you.” "Tal vez alguien quería jugarte una broma pesada".

“I don't hang around with people like that.” “Yo no salgo con gente así”.

“You never know.” "Nunca sabes."

“But the fact is, it's not a joke. “Pero el hecho es que no es una broma. It's a real case with real people.” Es un caso real con personas reales”.

“Yes,” said Quinn after a long silence. "Sí", dijo Quinn después de un largo silencio. “I'm aware of that.” "Estoy al tanto."

They had come to the end of what they could talk about. Habían llegado al final de lo que podían hablar. Beyond that point there was nothing: the random thoughts of men who knew nothing. Más allá de ese punto no había nada: los pensamientos aleatorios de hombres que no sabían nada. Quinn realized that he should be going. Quinn se dio cuenta de que debería irse. He had been there almost an hour, and the time was approaching for his call to Virginia Stillman. Llevaba allí casi una hora y se acercaba la hora de llamar a Virginia Stillman. Nevertheless, he was reluctant to move. Sin embargo, se mostró reacio a moverse. The chair was comfortable, and the beer had gone slightly to his head. La silla era cómoda y la cerveza se le había subido un poco a la cabeza. This Auster was the first intelligent person he had spoken to in a long time. Este Auster era la primera persona inteligente con la que hablaba en mucho tiempo. He had read Quinn's old work, he had admired it, he had been looking forward to more. Había leído el antiguo trabajo de Quinn, lo había admirado, había estado esperando más. In spite of everything, it was impossible for Quinn not to feel glad of this. A pesar de todo, era imposible que Quinn no se sintiera feliz por esto.

They sat there for a short time without saying anything. Se sentaron allí por un corto tiempo sin decir nada. At last, Auster gave a little shrug, which seemed to acknowledge that they had come to an impasse. Por fin, Auster se encogió un poco de hombros, lo que pareció reconocer que habían llegado a un callejón sin salida. He stood up and said, “I was about to make some lunch for myself. Se puso de pie y dijo: “Estaba a punto de prepararme un almuerzo. It's no trouble making it for two.” No hay problema en hacerlo para dos.

Quinn hesitated. Quinn vaciló. It was as though Auster had read his thoughts, divining the thing he wanted most—to eat, to have an excuse to stay a while. Era como si Auster hubiera leído sus pensamientos, adivinando lo que más deseaba: comer, tener una excusa para quedarse un rato. “I really should be going,” he said. "Realmente debería irme", dijo. “But yes, thank you. “Pero sí, gracias. A little food can't do any harm.” Un poco de comida no puede hacer ningún daño.

“How does a ham omelette sound?” “¿Cómo suena una tortilla de jamón?”

“Sounds good.” "Suena bien."

Auster retreated to the kitchen to prepare the food. Auster se retiró a la cocina para preparar la comida. Quinn would have liked to offer to help, but he could not budge. A Quinn le hubiera gustado ofrecerse a ayudar, pero no pudo moverse. His body felt like a stone. Su cuerpo se sentía como una piedra. For want of any other idea, he closed his eyes. A falta de cualquier otra idea, cerró los ojos. In the past, it had sometimes comforted him to make the world disappear. En el pasado, a veces lo había consolado hacer desaparecer el mundo. This time, however, Quinn found nothing interesting inside his head. Esta vez, sin embargo, Quinn no encontró nada interesante dentro de su cabeza. It seemed as though things had ground to a halt in there. Parecía como si las cosas se hubieran detenido allí. Then, from the darkness, he began to hear a voice, a chanting, idiotic voice that sang the same sentence over and over again: “You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs.” He opened his eyes to make the words stop. Entonces, desde la oscuridad, comenzó a escuchar una voz, una voz cantora, idiota, que cantaba la misma frase una y otra vez: “No se puede hacer una tortilla sin romper los huevos”. Abrió los ojos para que las palabras se detuvieran.

There was bread and butter, more beer, knives and forks, salt and pepper, napkins, and omelettes, two of them, oozing on white plates. Había pan y mantequilla, más cerveza, cuchillos y tenedores, sal y pimienta, servilletas y tortillas, dos de ellas rebosantes en platos blancos. Quinn ate with crude intensity, polishing off the meal in what seemed a matter of seconds. Quinn comió con cruda intensidad, terminando la comida en lo que pareció cuestión de segundos. After that, he made a great effort to be calm. Después de eso, hizo un gran esfuerzo por mantener la calma. Tears lurked mysteriously behind his eyes, and his voice seemed to tremble as he spoke, but somehow he managed to hold his own. Las lágrimas acechaban misteriosamente detrás de sus ojos, y su voz parecía temblar mientras hablaba, pero de alguna manera se las arregló para contenerse. To prove that he was not a self-obsessed ingrate, he began to question Auster about his writing. Para demostrar que no era un ingrato obsesionado consigo mismo, comenzó a interrogar a Auster sobre su escritura. Auster was somewhat reticent about it, but at last he conceded that he was working on a book of essays. Auster se mostró algo reticente al respecto, pero al final reconoció que estaba trabajando en un libro de ensayos. The current piece was about Don Quixote. La pieza actual era sobre Don Quijote.

“One of my favorite books,” said Quinn. “Uno de mis libros favoritos”, dijo Quinn.

“Yes, mine too. “Sí, la mía también. There's nothing like it.” No hay nada como eso.

Quinn asked him about the essay. Quinn le preguntó sobre el ensayo.

“I suppose you could call it speculative, since I'm not really out to prove anything. “Supongo que podrías llamarlo especulativo, ya que en realidad no estoy dispuesto a probar nada. In fact, it's all done tongue-in-cheek. De hecho, todo se hace de forma irónica. An imaginative reading, I guess you could say.” Una lectura imaginativa, supongo que se podría decir”.

“What's the gist?” "¿Cuál es la esencia?"

“It mostly has to do with the authorship of the book. “Principalmente tiene que ver con la autoría del libro. Who wrote it, and how it was written.” Quién lo escribió y cómo fue escrito”.

“Is there any question?” "¿Hay alguna pregunta?"

“Of course not. "Por supuesto que no. But I mean the book inside the book Cervantes wrote, the one he imagined he was writing.” Pero me refiero al libro dentro del libro que escribió Cervantes, el que él imaginaba que estaba escribiendo”.

“Ah.” "Ah".

“It's quite simple. “Es bastante simple. Cervantes, if you remember, goes to great lengths to convince the reader that he is not the author. Cervantes, si recuerdas, hace todo lo posible para convencer al lector de que él no es el autor. The book, he says, was written in Arabic by Cid Hamete Benengeli. El libro, dice, fue escrito en árabe por Cid Hamete Benengeli. Cervantes describes how he discovered the manuscript by chance one day in the market at Toledo. Cervantes describe cómo descubrió el manuscrito por casualidad un día en el mercado de Toledo. He hires someone to translate it for him into Spanish, and thereafter he presents himself as no more than the editor of the translation. Contrata a alguien para que se lo traduzca al español y, a partir de entonces, se presenta como nada más que el editor de la traducción. In fact, he cannot even vouch for the accuracy of the translation itself.” De hecho, ni siquiera puede garantizar la precisión de la traducción en sí misma”.

“And yet he goes on to say,” Quinn added, “that Cid Hamete Benengeli's is the only true version of Don Quixote's story. “Y sin embargo continúa diciendo”, agregó Quinn, “que la de Cid Hamete Benengeli es la única versión verdadera de la historia de Don Quijote. All the other versions are frauds, written by imposters. Todas las demás versiones son fraudes, escritas por impostores. He makes a great point of insisting that everything in the book really happened in the world.” Hace un gran punto al insistir en que todo en el libro realmente sucedió en el mundo”.

“Exactly. "Exactamente. Because the book after all is an attack on the dangers of the make-believe. Porque el libro, después de todo, es un ataque a los peligros de la fantasía. He couldn't very well offer a work of the imagination to do that, could he? No podría muy bien ofrecer un trabajo de la imaginación para hacer eso, ¿verdad? He had to claim that it was real.” Tuvo que afirmar que era real”.

“Still, I've always suspected that Cervantes devoured those old romances. You can't hate something so violently unless a part of you also loves it. No puedes odiar algo tan violentamente a menos que una parte de ti también lo ame. In some sense, Don Quixote was just a stand-in for himself.” En cierto sentido, Don Quijote era solo un sustituto de sí mismo”.

“I agree with you. "Estoy de acuerdo contigo. What better portrait of a writer than to show a man who has been bewitched by books?” ¿Qué mejor retrato de un escritor que mostrar a un hombre que ha sido hechizado por los libros?

“Precisely.” "Precisamente."

“In any case, since the book is supposed to be real, it follows that the story has to be written by an eyewitness to the events that take place in it. “En cualquier caso, dado que se supone que el libro es real, se deduce que la historia debe ser escrita por un testigo presencial de los eventos que tienen lugar en él. But Cid Hamete, the acknowledged author, never makes an appearance. Pero Cid Hamete, el autor reconocido, nunca aparece. Not once does he claim to be present at what happens. Ni una sola vez afirma estar presente en lo que sucede. So, my question is this: who is Cid Hamete Benengeli?” Entonces, mi pregunta es esta: ¿quién es Cid Hamete Benengeli?

“Yes, I see what you're getting at.” "Sí, ya veo a lo que te refieres".

“The theory I present in the essay is that he is actually a combination of four different people. “La teoría que presento en el ensayo es que en realidad es una combinación de cuatro personas diferentes. Sancho Panza is of course the witness. Sancho Panza es, por supuesto, el testigo. There's no other candidate—since he is the only one who accompanies Don Quixote on all his adventures. No hay otro candidato, ya que es el único que acompaña a Don Quijote en todas sus aventuras. But Sancho can neither read nor write. Pero Sancho no sabe leer ni escribir. Therefore, he cannot be the author. Por lo tanto, no puede ser el autor. On the other hand, we know that Sancho has a great gift for language. Por otro lado, sabemos que Sancho tiene un gran don para el lenguaje. In spite of his inane malapropisms, he can talk circles around everyone else in the book. A pesar de sus estúpidos errores, puede hablar en círculos alrededor de todos los demás en el libro. It seems perfectly possible to me that he dictated the story to someone else—namely, to the barber and the priest, Don Quixote's good friends. Me parece perfectamente posible que le dictara la historia a otra persona, es decir, al barbero y al cura, buenos amigos de don Quijote. They put the story into proper literary form—in Spanish—and then turned the manuscript over to Samson Carrasco, the bachelor from Salamanca, who proceeded to translate it into Arabic. Pusieron la historia en forma literaria adecuada, en español, y luego le entregaron el manuscrito a Sansón Carrasco, el soltero de Salamanca, quien procedió a traducirlo al árabe. Cervantes found the translation, had it rendered back into Spanish, and then published the book The Adventures of Don Quixote.” Cervantes encontró la traducción, la hizo traducir al español y luego publicó el libro Las aventuras de Don Quijote”.

“But why would Sancho and the others go to all that trouble?” Pero ¿por qué se tomarían tantas molestias Sancho y los demás?

“To cure Don Quixote of his madness. “Para curar a Don Quijote de su locura. They want to save their friend. Quieren salvar a su amigo. Remember, in the beginning they burn his books of chivalry, but that has no effect. Recuerda, al principio queman sus libros de caballerías, pero eso no tiene efecto. The Knight of the Sad Countenance does not give up his obsession. El Caballero del Triste Rostro no abandona su obsesión. Then, at one time or another, they all go out looking for him in various disguises—as a woman in distress, as the Knight of the Mirrors, as the Knight of the White Moon—in order to lure Don Quixote back home. Entonces, en un momento u otro, todos salen a buscarlo disfrazado de mujer en apuros, de Caballero de los Espejos, de Caballero de la Blanca Luna, para atraer a Don Quijote de vuelta a casa. In the end, they are actually successful. Al final, en realidad tienen éxito. The book was just one of their ploys. El libro era solo una de sus estratagemas. The idea was to hold a mirror up to Don Quixote's madness, to record each of his absurd and ludicrous delusions, so that when he finally read the book himself, he would see the error of his ways.” La idea era poner un espejo frente a la locura de Don Quijote, registrar cada uno de sus absurdos y ridículos delirios, para que cuando finalmente leyera él mismo el libro, viera el error de sus caminos.

“I like that.” "Me gusta eso."

“Yes. "Sí. But there's one last twist. Pero hay un último giro. Don Quixote, in my view, was not really mad. Don Quijote, a mi modo de ver, no estaba realmente loco. He only pretended to be. Solo fingió serlo. In fact, he orchestrated the whole thing himself. De hecho, él mismo orquestó todo el asunto. Remember: throughout the book Don Quixote is preoccupied by the question of posterity. Recuerda: a lo largo del libro Don Quijote está preocupado por la cuestión de la posteridad. Again and again he wonders how accurately his chronicler will record his adventures. Una y otra vez se pregunta con qué precisión registrará su cronista sus aventuras. This implies knowledge on his part; he knows beforehand that this chronicler exists. Esto implica conocimiento de su parte; él sabe de antemano que este cronista existe. And who else is it but Sancho Panza, the faithful squire whom Don Quixote has chosen for exactly this purpose? ¿Y quién es sino Sancho Panza, el fiel escudero que Don Quijote ha elegido precisamente para este fin? In the same way, he chose the three others to play the roles he destined for them. Del mismo modo, eligió a los otros tres para desempeñar los papeles que les había destinado. It was Don Quixote who engineered the Benengeli quartet. Fue Don Quijote quien ingenió el cuarteto Benengeli. And not only did he select the authors, it was probably he who translated the Arabic manuscript back into Spanish. Y no solo seleccionó a los autores, probablemente fue él quien tradujo el manuscrito árabe de nuevo al español. We shouldn't put it past him. No deberíamos dejarlo pasar. For a man so skilled in the art of disguise, darkening his skin and donning the clothes of a Moor could not have been very difficult. Para un hombre tan hábil en el arte del disfraz, oscurecerse la piel y vestirse con ropas de moro no podía ser muy difícil. I like to imagine that scene in the marketplace at Toledo. Me gusta imaginarme esa escena en el mercado de Toledo. Cervantes hiring Don Quixote to decipher the story of Don Quixote himself. Cervantes contrata a Don Quijote para descifrar la historia del propio Don Quijote. There's great beauty to it.” Hay una gran belleza en ello”.

“But you still haven't explained why a man like Don Quixote would disrupt his tranquil life to engage in such an elaborate hoax.” Pero todavía no has explicado por qué un hombre como don Quijote trastornaría su tranquila vida para dedicarse a tan elaborada patraña.

“That's the most interesting part of all. “Esa es la parte más interesante de todas. In my opinion, Don Quixote was conducting an experiment. En mi opinión, Don Quijote estaba haciendo un experimento. He wanted to test the gullibility of his fellow men. Quería poner a prueba la credulidad de sus semejantes. Would it be possible, he wondered, to stand up before the world and with the utmost conviction spew out lies and nonsense? ¿Sería posible, se preguntó, levantarse ante el mundo y escupir mentiras y tonterías con la máxima convicción? To say that windmills were knights, that a barber's basin was a helmet, that puppets were real people? ¿Decir que los molinos de viento eran caballeros, que la palangana de un barbero era un casco, que los títeres eran personas reales? Would it be possible to persuade others to agree with what he said, even though they did not believe him? ¿Sería posible persuadir a otros para que estuvieran de acuerdo con lo que dijo, aunque no le creyeran? In other words, to what extent would people tolerate blasphemies if they gave them amusement? En otras palabras, ¿hasta qué punto la gente toleraría las blasfemias si les divirtieran? The answer is obvious, isn't it? La respuesta es obvia, ¿no? To any extent. En cualquier medida. For the proof is that we still read the book. Porque la prueba es que aún leemos el libro. It remains highly amusing to us. Sigue siendo muy divertido para nosotros. And that's finally all anyone wants out of a book—to be amused.” Y eso es finalmente todo lo que cualquiera quiere de un libro: divertirse”.

Auster leaned back on the sofa, smiled with a certain ironic pleasure, and lit a cigarette. Auster se recostó en el sofá, sonrió con cierto placer irónico y encendió un cigarrillo. The man was obviously enjoying himself, but the precise nature of that pleasure eluded Quinn. El hombre obviamente se estaba divirtiendo, pero la naturaleza precisa de ese placer eludió a Quinn. It seemed to be a kind of soundless laughter, a joke that stopped short of its punchline, a generalized mirth that had no object. Parecía ser una especie de risa silenciosa, una broma que no llegaba a su final, una alegría generalizada que no tenía objeto. Quinn was about to say something in response to Auster's theory, but he was not given the chance. Quinn estuvo a punto de decir algo en respuesta a la teoría de Auster, pero no se le dio la oportunidad. Just as he opened his mouth to speak, he was interrupted by a clattering of keys at the front door, the sound of the door opening and then slamming shut, and a burst of voices. Justo cuando abrió la boca para hablar, fue interrumpido por un ruido de llaves en la puerta principal, el sonido de la puerta al abrirse y luego cerrarse de golpe, y un estallido de voces. Auster's face perked up at the sound. El rostro de Auster se animó con el sonido. He rose from his seat, excused himself to Quinn, and walked quickly towards the door. Se levantó de su asiento, se disculpó con Quinn y caminó rápidamente hacia la puerta.

Quinn heard laughter in the hallway, first from a woman and then from a child—the high and the higher, a staccato of ringing shrapnel—and then the basso rumbling of Auster's guffaw. Quinn escuchó risas en el pasillo, primero de una mujer y luego de un niño, cada vez más alto, un staccato de metralla resonante, y luego el bajo retumbante de la carcajada de Auster. The child spoke: “Daddy, look what I found!” And then the woman explained that it had been lying on the street, and why not, it seemed perfectly okay. El niño habló: “¡Papá, mira lo que encontré!” Y entonces la mujer explicó que había estado tirado en la calle, y por qué no, parecía perfectamente bien. A moment later he heard the child running towards him down the hall. Un momento después escuchó al niño correr hacia él por el pasillo. The child shot into the living room, caught sight of Quinn, and stopped dead in his tracks. El niño salió disparado a la sala de estar, vio a Quinn y se detuvo en seco. He was a blond-haired boy of five or six. Era un niño rubio de cinco o seis años.

“Good afternoon,” said Quinn. "Buenas tardes", dijo Quinn.

The boy, rapidly withdrawing into shyness, managed no more than a faint hello. El chico, retirándose rápidamente a la timidez, no logró más que un débil hola. In his left hand he held a red object that Quinn could not identify. En su mano izquierda sostenía un objeto rojo que Quinn no pudo identificar. Quinn asked the boy what it was. Quinn le preguntó al chico qué era.

“It's a yoyo,” he answered, opening his hand to show him. “Es un yoyo”, respondió, abriendo la mano para mostrárselo. “I found it on the street.” “Lo encontré en la calle”.

“Does it work?” "¿Funciona?"

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