Gustavo Rodriguez: “I am an animal that writes, because I guide with intuition and ear to catch the rhythm”

There are a number of Jorge Luis Borges Who made a fortune when the Argentinian exposed it, too Thomas Eloy Martinez. The brilliant blind man was talking to his fellow as smart as himself, Fernandez of Macedon. He named it Leopoldo LugonesThis is what Borges, a prolific citizen, thought of Borges: “How strange is Lugones, with all that he reads, why not write books?”

If you read this author’s work, Gustavo Rodriguez (Lima, 1968), winner of Five guinea pigs From the recent Alfaguara award, this can be deduced immediately He doesn’t just write books, he reads them, reads them, keeps reading them so that the source of his very strong literature is neither chronological nor eventual, but raw material for art, for example, cultivated by Borges, Onetti or some of his teachers.

For this reason, because this is where his narrative experience comes from, Gustavo Rodriguez dared, also with humor, to tackle an issue that would otherwise have been cold lead in other pens. There his editor said, Pilar Reyes, in display of the novel at the Alberti Library in Madrid, Iceberg. “Hot Ice”. In order to dig under that iceberg, we spoke to him, starting with the roots of his humor in what warrants such amazing writing precisely because of the nature of his readings.

Q: Why do you approach such a difficult issue and do it with such humor?

R was found. Humor has always been a defensive weapon for me since I was a kid. When you are born with a certain sensitivity, you are hard-working And you don’t know how to fight & mldr; Using humor is a very useful thing. It’s something that also works as an escape from embarrassing situations. Therefore, humor in me is a natural thing and one of my biggest fears when writing this novel, which deals with loneliness, farewells and death, is that it will come out too clichéd. But I think, fortunately, the humor came in to counter that.

Q: What other concerns did you have when faced with writing?

R was found. The fear of it, basically: that something cheesy will come out. and … also … It was a job. This is the most textured job I’ve ever done. I didn’t tell anyone I was writing it, and I locked myself up for six or seven hours a day, six days a week, and when I finished I realized I had a manuscript full of madness. After my agent read it, he told me he loved it … Finally I breathed!

Q: What periods of hostility marked these moments in your life as the author of this book?

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R was found. In the case of my childhood it wasn’t episodes, it was context. I lived with my family in a wholesale market warehouse in Trujillo, the city where we arrived. It was a storeroom with only a small window to see the street. So I had nowhere to play. So I had to use my imagination and my books. This was the key in my training. Later I felt that he was too clumsy to speak. When it came time to start socializing, I started using humor. Only then can he communicate with a person. Or I just felt that it could.

Q: It’s all here. Something that sometimes reminds us of the satirical writing of Guillermo Cabrera Infante.

R was found. Because of my sense of humor and dark sense of humor, you say?

Q: Yes.

R was found. But besides those two things, I think I also have tenderness.

Q: I say this, for example, about the many times the films have appeared in the novel … .

R was found. Yes it is possible. But … I didn’t think of that. Now that you mentioned that … See: When I start a novel I say: If I can sum up the plot in a news ticker title, it’s because I already have a book. If I say: A woman becomes a euthanasia killer, I know I already have a story. And a great joke! [risas]. So: my job is to make this joke believable to the readers.

Q: How do you manage the tension of normal life and turn it into an abyss in this novel?

R was found. This is thanks to the learning that life gives you. I think writing is a craft. When I was little I wanted to show that I could be resourceful. Then, over time, I softened it up and took on a more Cervantine, less Kievidean sense of humor, Bryce Echenik said, right? On the other hand, I put together each novel based on a very clear structure. Before writing I have a diagram that guides me and helps me control.

Q. Here the reader sees the drama emerging from a very great distance, as if you were prolonging a polite suspense, so to speak..

R was found. I think I had a strategy that I’ve been improving over time: use a narrative voice that tries to be elegant, simple, and nonjudgmental, that introduces the location and the characters so that they later become the ones to show their intensity and intensity. madness at the same time. The novel starts off a little slow so that the reader becomes fond of everyday life and then feels the actions of the characters very close. Throughout the entire book I always tend to plant subtle puzzles, little things that keep the reader chasing after that mystery.

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Q: And you were not afraid when imagining the result of ambiguity, in the midst of a narration that narrates the importance of the life of the old in its last stage?

R was found. Yes, in other words, fear of saying: How credible is that? Because they are extreme positions that I said in the novel. But my agent dispelled that fear by reading the manuscript, and then when they told me I had won the prize, it all melted away. [risas].

Q: Is the mystery based on true events?

R was found. There is one character I did, a character whose life and death was based on: Jack Harrison. In fact, I dedicated the novel to him. Jack Harrison, an important doctor, someone very close to me, because he is the father of my girlfriend, he had a cancer that was complicated by someone else, but he knew how to command the last months of his life to say goodbye in style, with hospital care set aside to be at home, surrounded by Family, dying with whiskey in hand.

Q: What is the relationship between those who stay and those who leave?

R was found. I’m at an age where I’m starting to see that many people around me are starting to get weak and getting sick… and one starts to realize what’s ahead as well. This is why I think we should do an exercise in empathy with this situation.

P. Let’s go back to humor: Could this novel have been written without humor?

R was found. I cannot. Without humor I could have written an essay, but not a novel. I began to feel the novel flowing as I began to smile as I sat down to write. And this is important, right? I loved meeting those characters. Because it’s a group of people that made me want to connect.

Q: What are the books that influenced your literary style and their importance in your work?

R was found. It’s just that I forgot everything I read. Also what I see, movies and stuff. But what I don’t forget are my teenage readings. I remember Julio Ramón Ribeiro, Osvaldo Renso, and Alfredo Bryce Ichnik. The three of them were very important at that point in my life. After: Rulfo and Borges, Cortázar, Vargas Llosa, García Márquez, Onetti & mldr; And I think my style was born out of that mix. And I cannot deny the influence that audiovisual film had on me, like the films of Spielberg and Woody Allen, for example.

Q: Of those writers, Vargas Llosa is quoted here.

R was found. Clear. I like him very much. Jelly has not been dulled by its brilliance, as it once was. For us, it has been like opening the door in other countries.

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Q: The residences are the home of your book. “Morideros”.

R was found. Yes, but this expression is said by a character, Dona Carmen, who is disappointed in life. The narrator uses these characters to express the things he really believes. I think it’s like what actors do. I think that in my prose I argue between the elegance of Julio Ramón Ribeiro and the intensity of the Baroque style.

Q: This is called forcing yourself to quality.

R was found. Well, that’s the job. I am a writing animal, because I guide with intuition and an ear to pick up the rhythm. Part of my drama as a reader is that I really like poetry, I read it, but … Forgot everything you read like I told you before. However, I believe that what I read stays in my subconscious mind and helps me in the creative process.

Q: Here pain and happiness come together.

R was found. Yes, because that’s life, right? One day as I was lying in my bed, a beautiful light came in from the window and I had an epiphany. I said, “What if in a few years I’m sick and don’t realize that such moments were happiness?” This painless, debt-free Sunday stillness … I think that later came to rest in this novel.

Q: But the winter cold here is a threat to the veteran.

R was found. Yes, I know it’s a cliché metaphor, but I think the challenge for every writer is twisting clichés so they sound fresh.

Q: A scene that is itself a poem, when old Carmen mixes facts with movies, looking at the ceiling..

R was found. Note that this is one of the scenes that moved me the most. Because the only thing I was looking for with Carmen or Euphrasia, the person who takes care of the elderly, is that they get along with a lot of respect and affection because they are in an age where you can only see the human side of people. That’s what the two of them do and that’s why I love this scene so much. Well, also when the two of them start singing huayno.

Q: But old age hints at disaster.

R was found. Yes, but I don’t know what to say to that. I think I see that in my mom, for example.

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Q: What role does your mother play in your life now?

R was found. The role of Wadih Hanani, and my desire for care. I know that when you die, my childhood testimony will be over.

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