Caballería Roja


Leer los cuentos de Caballería Roja de Isaac Bábel es asistir a una revelación. La revelación de alguien que resulta ser a la vez un desgraciado guerrero y un milagroso poeta. La revelación de un país y una historia convulsionados. La revelación de eso que conforma la bajeza y la cima de los hombres.

El estilo utilizado en estos cuentos es como balas perdidas en la soledad de las estepas. Proyectiles modelados con la convicción del que vive frenéticamente porque sabe que pronto va a morir. Se trata de una prosa que goza del frescor de la noche en esas jornadas en que los hombres declinan sus armas, para luego dormir el hartazgo de los excesos cometidos.

¿Cómo no pensar en la muerte cuando se lee a Bábel? Ella huele a vómito, a orina, a mierda. Aunque tales fluidos son descritos como luminiscencias en medio de una realidad atroz. La muerte en Caballería Roja posee la exuberancia de esas frutas que se deben morder ya porque sino se llenan de gusanos. Y es que la protagonista en estas historias de cosacos asesinos y polacos y judíos aniquilados no es más que la hormigueante humanidad de siempre que palpita entre la noche de la guerra y el alba que se atisba pasadas las tinieblas.

Estas breves historias de guerra continúan, y acaso superan en intensidad, los cuadros épicos del Tolstoi de Guerra y paz y sus pinceladas narrativas sobre el desguace sangriento de Sebastopol. Las de Bábel se leen entre el terror y la felicidad, entre la melancolía y la rabia, entre el fracaso y la esperanza que suscitan los milagros con que a veces se viste la literatura.

En Caballería Roja, cuentos escritos durante la avanzada del ejército rojo para enfrentar la contrarrevolución blanca, todo es irremediablemente cierto. Bábel nos mantiene perplejos en la proximidad de esa muerte absurda y asquerosa a la que están destinadas las historias narradas. Porque en la guerra, que pretende justificar con heroísmo los crímenes, todo es grotesco e insensato. Sin embargo, ¿cómo negar que la guerra de Caballería Roja es una inmersión en heces perfumadas? ¿Cómo negar que estamos confrontados a los hedores que brotan de las expansiones violentas de esas ideas justas pero tiránicas que enarboló el comunismo? Ideas que defienden campesinos delirantes y analfabetas. Elementales hombres, por no decir inútiles – Prischepa, Balmashov, Apanásenko- que sienten que la historia les ha dado el turno para entrar en escena y arrasar entre risas, hipos y llanto, el equilibrio frágil de un orden imperante.

Bábel indaga con curiosidad en los vertederos de la sangre. Observa, con repugnancia y asombro, ese matadero incesante que llamamos Historia. De esa observación directa surgen los cuentos de Caballería Roja. Libro impar, por no decir único, como afirmaba Borges. Libro de donde brotan hombres que parecen pétalos de violetas destrozados por los pantanos de la sangre. Pétalos que este judío de Odesa supo oler y nombrar en medio del horror. Porque éste no ceja. Y no lo hará hasta que el hombre sea esa criatura descrita por Homero y Maupassant, por Tácito y Céline, por Voltaire y Grossman. Ese hombre que ocasiona las peores desdichas y sigue buscando con afán el aire de una brisa fugitiva.

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