El emigrante (micro story)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

"El emigrante" (The migrant) is a flash fiction story by Mexican writer Luis Felipe Lomelí, published in 2005. It is one of the best known and most widely cited examples of the genre in Spanish.

The story

-¿Olvida usted algo?


The type of micronarrative or microfiction of which "El emigrante" is a famous example has precursors in the 1980s and 1990s with the work of Jacques Sternberg and Philippe Delerm, but perhaps has been brought back to life through the influence of Facebook and Twitter. However, one should not considered micronarrative exclusively as a (post)modern form of literature. Micronarrative is better understood as one of many (re)configurations in the fragmentary writing continuum. In fact, microtexts are as old as literature itself. Old manifestations of brevity in writing include, to name but a few examples, Sumerian and Egyptian instructions and Greek epigrams and aphorisms.

The author explains that the story came from the little sign he kept seeing when leaving buses or airplanes, saying ¿Olvida usted algo? (Did you forget anything?). That made him think of all the things he would like to remember but could not, and the other things he would prefer to forget. Thinking of these things became a private game for him, whenever he saw the sign. He was given a grant by the Mexican Foundation for Literature that included obligatory attendance at a workshop on micro-stories and, without thinking much, wrote the story down. He added ¡Ojalá! (If only!) to the text of the sign to create the story. Later, when taking his book of short stories to the publisher, it struck him that the micro-story summarized all the others, so he added it at the beginning. He had no idea it would become so widely known. In fact, it had already been submitted to a magazine and rejected.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "El emigrante (micro story)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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