Argentine author tells all

Posted April 20, 2007

The fair and the dark skinned, the oval and the slanted eyes, the tall and the short; all came to hear the colorfully illustrated story that gave away the stillness in the library.

The theme was set around the idea that throughout the course of life we lay on many beds but, eventually as life slows down for the older human being, we end up on the same bed where we started.

Ana Maria Shua, an Argentine writer, read a couple of her most recent works on April 10, in the Wilson Library Foyer.

Roughly 15 students and faculty attended the reading.

“La Cama O La Vida,” was the featured short story. As an Argentine writer Shua writes in Spanish and her work is later translated into English. “Bed Time Story,” translated by University of La Verne Professor of Spanish Andrea Labinger, is the English version of Shua’s story.

“Bed Time Story,” is about a couple who begin their love lives on a waterbed. At first the two thoroughly enjoy their experiences on bed—the water movements, cleaning up after a leaking, the complaints from the neighbors with soggy roofs, and of course the touch of a naked human body. But when they began spending too much time together the annoyances began. Their once lovely experiences become chores.

Noticing that their bodies had grown tired of the waterbed, they decided tolook for something a bit more stable: a foam rubber mattress. As their bodies grew accustomed to the new mattress, so did their bodies—a child was born. The mattress was now too small for the three of them. And because the mattress was so small, the two got a mattress of their dreams, a spring mattress. But after a few incidents with the springs, they eventually went back to foam. But after a few health issues, they eventually were advised to go back to a waterbed.

Although this story may essentially be about a waterbed, the underlying meaning is that life is a circle; we begin and end up where we started.

More importantly this story brought a sense of closeness in the University, Shua may be an Argentine writer from across the country but she brought a theme that is fundamental to this University—diversity. Students agree.

“We are open to other types of lectures,” said Julianne Hadfield, senior liberal arts major.

Shua’s presence is just a reflection of the many faces that construct the University.

“We have a lot of everything, Caucasians, Hispanics, Blacks, Asians, and more…we do have some more than others but there seems to be a little bit of everything…it is definitely a lot more diverse than where I am from,” said Stephanie Fuentes, a freshmen from New Jersey.

Aside from her featured story, Shua read a couple of her microfictions, which are along the lines of short poems.

Shua has an ability to translate imagination into words. She draws her stories from both her imagination and real life-experiences.

“It is mostly fiction but some comes from life and literature,” said Shua, when asked about the origin of her topics.

“Fiction works like dreams, you take everything from reality and combine elements,” she added.

Priscilla Segura can be reached at

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