“Mother’s Sense of Fun”

Un ex colega me ha pasado un volumen de relatos de Angus Wilson, autor sudafricano ya fallecido. No lo conocía. La sorpresa ha sido mayúscula. El tío tenía un nivel literario galáctico. Reproduzco un pasaje del relato “Mother’s Sense of Fun”, donde el narrador habla de la relación entre una madre y su hijo adulto:

“The words she employed, too, were surely specially designed to rob the English language of any pretensions to beauty it might possess. It was not exactly that she used outmoded slang like Miss Rutherford who was always ‘unable to care less’ about things or to ‘like them more’, or even the earlier slang of Aunt Nora with her ‘topholes’ and ‘purple limits’. He had often thought that to find his mother’s phrases one would have to go to English translations of opera or the French and German prose books that he had used at school. It always ‘rained cats and dogs’, that is if the rain did not ‘look like holding off’; Alice Stockfield ‘was a bit down in the mouth’ but then she ‘let things get on top of her’; Roger Grant was ‘certainly no Adonis’, but she had ‘and awfully soft spot in her heart for him’. At the end of a tiring day he would often wait for one of these familiar phrases in an agony of apprehension that he feared to betray, for he knew that criticism would be met by wounded silence or the slow, crushing steam-roller of her banter, the terrible levelling force of her sense of humour.”

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