We recommend “The suitcase”, by Amalia Decker M.; review by Alberto Hernandez

The bagby Amalia Decker M. (Kipus, 2022). Available on the publisher’s website

The bag
Amalia Decker M.
Kipus Publishing Group
Cochabamba (Bolivia), 2022
ISBN: 978-9917-32-023-4
152 pages


Stories, hints of novels? The narrator, who offers her voice to become a character, opens a trunk, a drawer where she keeps her stories, her life, her memorial skills, her lights and shadows, the different trips and adventures, some risky, others sublime, through glances and jolts. of those who accompany her on these pages titled The bagpublished by the Kipus Editorial Group, in Cochabamba, Bolivia, 2022.

The reader will be able to decide if it is about short stories or novels in the making. The bag It is divided into four books in which the characters have similar profiles. They are actants who combine their intimate lives with the history of the country where they live, Bolivia. It is then a kaleidoscopic book that seeks and finds in each subject what they represent and what they hide, although the syntax and wording do not succumb to experimentalism: they are stories that really tell, without deviating from time: a linearity that catches the reader and it keeps him tied to each movement, to each displacement, dialogue or description that our author reveals with skill, with determination.

This book is a matter of reading as reading for a book. That is to say, it has been written with the idea that nothing is lost, that everything told has been forged by a reality unquestionable: fiction is the only reality that can be inhabited by characters of different models without calling them false. It is an anthology of behaviors.

A suitcase is a reservoir of secrets. Of memories, of mysteries, of sins and miracles. A suitcase is a box —like Pandora’s— that can house dangers, but also salvation. A suitcase is an old trunk, generally where stories rest, the ghosts of the past, the mistakes of a present about to become the future or the past, because time moves as it pleases.

Amalia Decker M. counts without the need to resort to searches that break her language. She knows how to tell without ties: she shares her stories with traces of novels that precipitate the reader to be convinced that she is before a memory that she tells through the conjunction of precise narrations, descriptions, dialogues and monologues. And in some the reader will be able to notice a poetic approach.

There are several voices that pilgrimage through these pages. Various tones, enriched by the fervor of changes, by travel, by lost love. For the social and political hatred that forms a dense part of the historical memory of Bolivia.

It is the novel of the conspiracy, the novel of the revolutionary nightmare, the one of repentance for the mistakes committed in the midst of guerrilla violence.


The first book, “Passed through the sieve of time”, for this reader is a novel. It is the novel of the conspiracy, the novel of the revolutionary nightmare, the one of repentance for the mistakes committed in the midst of guerrilla violence. It is the novel of a kind of “Tania” (the one who accompanied Che Guevara on his Bolivian incursion) who spends a period of training in Cuba, the land from which she brings criticism of that absurd reality, ideologically dislocated, after forming part of groups that would return to South America to make the revolution.

“I was a fan of Che’s guerrilla,” says the character’s voice. The voice.

They are “guerrilla apprentices”, as Marcela, the singing and acting voice of this first narrative incursion by Amalia Decker M.

From this sort of novel comes “blind faith”, the myth of taking heaven by storm. But also the criticism of the machismo of those who were part of those cells that were training in Cuba. Marcela is raw when she says, when she recounts her experience. She tells us of the violence of the attacks, of the shots to confront the military dictatorship. La Paz, the capital of Bolivia, would be a kind of battlefield. She is also shocked to learn of Sofia’s madness, who is also in line with the riots. “The hidden face of the revolution”, is how the narrator expresses it, to round off all the adversities caused by a man named Fidel Castro.

“We thought we were invincible… And, in reality, we were already defeated”, expresses the character. And so, “committed to death”, failure, loss, disappointment. The doubt, the revolution as a scam. Blind obedience brings more blindness, because “being a guerrilla” obeys “a macabre challenge.”

The life in Cuba of the aspiring guerrilla allows her to learn about the trade of the jineteras. Know how Cubans live: in misery, in houses in ruins. A whole critical portrait of Fidel and his revolution, of “the rigidity of his beliefs.”


In the second book, “Querencias”, the author immerses herself in the memories of love but also does not stop talking about the miseries of her country. Two characters roam these places: Enrique and the memory of Lea. A story of comings and goings, of disappearances of a woman who always returned. Infidelity, marriage, eroticism.

The narrative fabric urges the reader not to get out of the way of the different anecdotes where the actants move.

The third book, entitled “El Edén”, shows the underworld, that of prostitution, drug trafficking, the prison of the character Eva, a kind of lady of drugs and who manages the paradise of shady businesses. And her sister, who succumbs to reality and becomes part of what her criminal sister has been, who tries to get her out of that place, El Paraíso, a brothel where the most powerful of the population meet. Putería as a theme, in the character La Muda.

The narrative fabric urges the reader not to get out of the way of the different anecdotes where the actants move.

The fourth book, “Inventing cities”, is the one of reverie, the one of dreams. Dream text in which the reference to Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz appears as inspiration.

In this story, violence, the wounds of time, the city and nightmares do not cease to be present.

Streets, names that the reader could imagine, are behind these cities that grow in the imagination of who counts, who discounts, who traces or erases.


Closed the suitcase, the reader is left with the desire to continue reading. The old trunk, the one that has no age, the one that opens hastily or slowly, contains many surprises.

Amalia Decker M. has left us with a good taste in our mouths. Her stories, wanting to be novels, will have all the readers she deserves.

Venezuelan poet, narrator, journalist and educator (Calabozo, 1952). He resides in Maracay, Aragua. In 2020 he was appointed a corresponding member of the Venezuelan Academy of Language by the state of Aragua. He has a postgraduate degree in Latin American literature from the Simón Bolívar University (USB) and was the founder of the magazine umbra. He has published, among other titles, the poetry collections the moss mockery (1980), amazon (1981), Last instance (1989), sunstroke eyelid (1989), outside eyes (1989), north (1991), attempts and exile (nineteen ninety six), surface beasts (1998), Poetics of nonsense (2001), In someone else’s mouth: poetic anthology 1980-2001 (2001), Land I’m from (2002), the city poem (2003), The everyday sky: poetry in transit (2008), Gates of Galina (2010), The Offense Drills (2010), Stravaganza (2012), Clothing (2012) and 70 bourgeois poems (2014). He has also published essay books New Venezuelan theater critic (1981) and notes to the hare (1999); story books Fragments of the same memory (1994), short film (1999), Virginities and other challenges (2000) and fascist stories (2012), the novel the only hour (2016) and the chronicle books Valles de Aragua, the visible region (1999) and changing shadows (2001). She directed the cultural supplement Contents, From the newspaper the newspaper (Maracay), where he also served as director, editorial secretary and editor of the political source. He posts regularly on Create in Salamanca (Spain), in [email protected] (Denver, United States) and in different blogs in Venezuela and other countries. His essays and literary writings have been published in journals The National, The universal, Last News Y The Carabobo, among others. Some of his work has been translated into English, Italian, Portuguese and Arabic. with the novel the poetic nerve won the XVII Transgender Prize of the Foundation for Urban Culture (2018).

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Alberto Hernandez

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