Harkaitz Cano

Harkaitz Cano
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'Cano's book Telefono kaiolatua (1997, The Caged Telephone), from which we have chosen the story The mattress, includes elements both black and absurd. As in the short stories of the masters Chekov and Carver, humble elements and details report on the protagonist's inner life, with compelling comparisons and metaphors in which to delight. The old and stained mattress which serves as an x-ray of the protagonists' lives, or the agreements which function as premonitions, situate us in a story in which apparently little happens.' (Olaziregi, M.J., An Anthology of Basque Short Stories, Center for Basque Studies-University of Nevada, 2004).

'I spent my childhood in a tree watching the swollen river rush by. Children don't climb trees anymore and the river doesn't rise that high, but those floods and trees appeared in my first book of poetry Kea behelainopean bezala (Like smoke in a low-lying fog, 1994). When I picked the books up at the printer's, I tripped and dropped them all. I thought it was a good sign, as if they had a life of their own.

I am a writer because I have no talent for drawing or music. Those inadequacies, and all my other ones, help me write. You could say that's why my books often have something to do with music, such as Beluna jazz (Dark jazz, 1996) and Pasaia blues (Landscape blues, 1999).

I studied law, but I never worked as a lawyer. I've been doing scriptwriting for a long time. I spent the 1998-99 academic year in New York and ever since then the Brooklyn Bridge has been part of my spine. The chronicle Piano gainean gosaltzen (Breakfast on the piano, 2000) was the product of my stay in New York.

My favorite genre is the short story, as witnessed by Telefono kaiolatua (The caged telephone, 1997) and Bizkarrean tatuaturiko mapak (The maps tattooed on his back, 1998). Tell a novelist to pack a suitcase and he'll organize an entire move. Not the short story writer. He'll only put in the bare essentials. When a short story unfolds, it fits on the kitchen floor like a map of the city.

Read poems by this author in Transcript 5.

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