The Girona writer of Extremadura origin has won the 2019 Planet Prize writing about what he knows best: the past. What we did, or what they did before us, determines our present. A Terra Alta, a squad man without more homeland than his wife, his daughter and The miserable ones Víctor Hugo tries to solve the cruel murder of the owners of the main company in the region.
This premise serves Javier Cercas (Ibahernando, Cáceres, 1962) to reflect on the value of the law, the possibility of justice and the legitimacy of revenge. "The thriller scheme is not alien to my previous books or the books I like," he explains. There is always an enigma and someone trying to decipher it. But are you sure this is a thriller? "
A Terra Alta, a squad man without more homeland than his wife, his daughter and The miserable ones Víctor Hugo tries to solve the cruel murder of the owners of the main company in the region. This premise serves Javier Cercas (Ibahernando, Cáceres, 1962) to reflect on the value of the law, the possibility of justice and the legitimacy of revenge. "The thriller scheme is not alien to my previous books or the books I like," he explains. There is always an enigma and someone trying to decipher it. But are you sure this is a thriller? "
I think it is no longer the same as the novel advances.
The important thing is not the genres but what are you doing with them? I have tried to take it to my land to say the things that interest me most at this time.
And why is it at this time interested in talking about justice and revenge?
Honestly, I do not know. These are subjects that I had not tried before, or had not dealt with such depth. But writers are not aware of many of the things we do. The monarch of the shadows, my previous novel, was the limit of a territory I had opened with Salamis soldiers and needed to change. I did not know where I was going, but reality has changed me.
I started to imagine the book before the fall of 2017, but at the hardest moment of the Catalan crisis I did something I had never done before: doing nothing except anguish myself and trying to fight the storm of lies we were in sunk When I came out of this misfortune was a different person and, therefore, a different writer. In that time, I saw, I lived, I experienced things I never thought I would see and experience. I never believed that one of the most privileged societies in the world, the Catalan, would start in half.
Then, when he writes "not respecting the norms of justice is not respecting justice", think about the Adell's crime or in the process?
When I wrote this book, things were going very badly in Catalonia, like now. I got into the book as who gets into an atomic shelter and thought that the writer had nothing to do with what was happening. But I finished and I realized that I really had to watch it. Terra Alta It's not about the Catalan crisis, but it's obvious that fuel is the Catalan crisis.
Write Terra Alta He has changed him so much as Melchor read The miserable ones?
Of course, a book that does not change the life of the writer can not change the life of the reader and can not be a good book. Writing is not like doing a bus trip, but how to go to the jungle and fight with monsters, fairies and explore a territory you did not know.
Is it good to take literature with fanaticism, like Melchor?
Literature is a pleasure, but pleasure is a form of knowledge and literature serves to live in a richer, more complex, and more intense way. Literature is not something separate from life. Melchor is the ideal reader, because he does not see literature on one side and the life of another. Reading is your way of life.
Like a Don Quixote?
Of course, because the Don Quixote It is the best book in the world. Don Quixote is, perhaps, as good reader as Melchor, because literature encourages him to live more. You need to bring your dreams into reality.
What is his "miserable"?
I changed my life a book that I have never read again and I do not know if it is good or bad: San Manuel Bueno, martyr. I was 14 years old and I fell in love as a boar of a girl who lived in my town in Extremadura. Then I went to Girona and wanted to hang on the dome of the Cathedral because I was desperate. The situation was very serious, so I went to look for the most serious book he had at home, which turned out to be this story about the priest who loses his faith but continues to preach. I, who had been a catholic and obedient boy, lost faith. I started smoking, drinking and going into a state of confusion that I have not yet come out.
A Terra Alta There is another classic in his literature, the Civil War. Will there be another event that marks both the Spaniards? Perhaps the Catalan conflict?
We'll see it The Civil War is not the past, it is the beginning of the present. Here the present begins and nothing will mark us as much as that. The Civil War ends for me in 1981 and now there is an imperfect democracy, yes, but with quality indexes that would already like Italy or Belgium, or even the United States. From this point of view, the past has passed, but at the same time it never happens because you have to take it into account to understand the present.
For Melchor the country is the place where one finds affection. Is it also for you?
Of couse. There is a claim of homeland not in the modern, toxic, political sense, but the meaning that Cervantes gave him: the country is a small, manageable, sentimental place, where there are people who want. The word "motherland" one day will have to clear all the rubbish that has fallen on it.
Melchor seems alien to any ideology. Envy
I do not know how he, unfortunately and fortunately. I am a mournful mourning for the culture and who is interested in the politics because he comes from polis. Melchor does not have this vision of things. It has its own ethical and moral code and everything else does not matter. But it is a boy whom I adore, with all its shadows, with all its contradictions. Do you know why? Because he is clean of heart and that is wonderful.
Can someone who hates as much as he can have the heart clean?
This is a big question. We do not know because the book is very ambiguous. We do not know if in the end Melchor learns something.
Will there be a second part to know?
Could, but I will not tell you.
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