As a child, when I was just ten years old, I was lucky enough to see this unique place in the whole world. Unique because no sooner one reaches this site than they begin to understand the literature written by Horacio Quiroga, surrounded by real beings, magical beings, fictional and literary entities that owe much or everything to this beautiful scenery.
A couple of images had remained on my mind. It was the kind of images that either become magnified or degenerated, even emphasized, with the passing of time, but they contribute to giving shape to a grown-up’s personality.
I was most seduced by the story called “The Beheaded Hen” when I was a child, both due to the probability and the irrational nature of the narrative, as well as for the images seen in the pictures hanging on the walls of the petite house-museum where part of the writer’s furniture and objects are treasured today.
A narrow path made of red soil and bordered by jungle starts at small San Ignacio (the same location of the Jesuit ruins). After zigzagging around almost the entire town, it led us to Horacio Quiroga’s house, as evidenced by the sign standing at the entrance.
At that spot, sitting on an old wooden chair and resting her elbows on a deteriorated table/desk, a very polite lady welcomed visitors and told them the history and the secrets of the house.
The house, the real house, was burned down some years ago and it was rebuilt by a group of producers who shot a movie there. They paid attention to every single detail as they raised the house again, so that it would be exactly like the one Horacio Quiroga had built with his own hands.
Meters away from this rebuilt house, there lies a tiny construction, completely original, where Quiroga used to write and spend his time. Today, it shelters some of his belongings. His typewriter and his desk are seen at first sight, just like a camp bed used by guests during his time of glory.
But among the special details that stand out from the rest, some rarities can be found: for instance, an important collection of dissected butterflies and the skin of a large snake the writer himself killed, skinned and dissected to show it as a trophy and to leave track of how life and death are part of the jungle’s routine.
No wonder his Tales of Love, Madness and Death
are in all the libraries in the country. They have taught students from other areas in Argentina what Misiones, its rainforest and especially its lifestyle mean.
“Horacio’s House”, as referred to by his friends, or “The Writer’s House”, like even those who would not understand his art or his way of life in those days, continues to be a unique site.
Almost 30 years have passed since I was a child and the magic remains intact. Visiting this place, walking around its gardens and getting lost in the labyrinths of caña tacuara
that show visitors the different moments in the life of the writer is a must while staying at the City of Puerto Iguazú