Fragmented Characters/Fragmented Narrative Voices: Textual and Extratextual Devices in Desde la sombra (2016) by Juan José Millás and La habitación oscura (2013) by Isaac Rosa

Marta Perez-Carbonell


This article explores different depictions of fragmentation in the realm of contemporary Spanish fiction, analysing diegetic literary devices in Desde la sombra (2016) by Juan Jose Millás and comparing them with the extradiegetic devices used by Isaac Rosa in La habitación oscura (2013). Through a close textual analysis of the main character’s fragmentation, the notion of ‘Otherness’ will be examined within the ‘real’ and imagined scenarios in Millás’s novel. In order to analyse its effect on the plot and the type of fragmented self proposed by the author, the figure of the ‘Other’ will be framed through Lacan’s Mirror Stage, and also trace the protagonist’s need to be narrated as part of his disorder. In Rosa’s text, the fragmentation responds to extratextual features; its unusual mode of narration (shifting between second person singular and first person plural) will be examined in the light of narratological theories that frame its extradiegetic nature as a most unusual text. As well as drawing on their unique textual characteristics (Desde la sombra) and narrative voices (La habitación oscura), this article attempts to expound on their less obvious common ground and establish what these two seemingly different texts have in common. Who is the real ‘Other’ in each text? Are they proposing something similar despite portraying fragmentation on different textual levels?


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