Álvaro Uribe, the past as raw material


ANDhe writer Álvaro Uribe (1953) was not a rockstar, as he always dreamed of; but neither was he a philosopher or an ambassador, as he tried. Even when he found out that he wanted to write literature, he did not want to study any major in Literature.

I thought I was going to be contaminated with academic histories and I studied philosophy, something as rare or difficult as being a poet; That is why I did not practice the profession, although I did teach. Something that I went halfway through was being a diplomat. I think that in life there is more what you are not, than what you are “, he confesses in an interview with Excelsior.

At 68 years old, the narrator has just published Los que no (Alfaguara), “my freest, most saucy novel”, in which he recreates his own life and that of his generation and reflects on those who did not reach the goal, about the passage of time, skepticism, disappointment and death.

This novel has a lot of recounting, review, recapitulation, because the central theme is the youth of a group of people who were adolescents in the 60s, young in the 70s and stopped being so in the 80s of the last century.

This corresponds to my own youth. But the omniscient narrator is not a young man, but is told from old age. In other words, I was only able to undertake it until I reached this age ”, says whoever worked on this story for three years.

Explain that the protagonist of Those who does not share a biography with him. “But I also alter what I can alter and try not to improve it, because it seems a bit tricky to me. Even if I have to choose between making it better or worse, I opt for the latter to appear more credible ”.

The essayist also adds that “they are stories that are a lot made up and true, that haunted me for 40 years. And only when I found the narrator capable of telling them with literary efficiency, did I dare to do so, it was until I was 65 years old ”.

She clarifies that age not only served her to compile a compilation of the past, but also to take the liberty of “doing whatever I want, whatever I want with my book, and using all the literary tricks of which I am capable. ”.

Among those tricks, the UNAM Philosophy graduate cites the idea that the omniscient narrator meddles in history, detracts from it, and corrects himself. “Who tells is a writer who modifies events in the eyes of the reader, I hope with his complicity, because he often warns that he will make changes. It is a reassessment of the written word ”.

He admits that bringing this book to life was an adventure. “I learned about the stories as I was writing it. And the three years in which I did it were of life, things kept happening that got into the book and even modified the content ”.

Who was a fellow of the narrative workshop of the writer Augusto Monterroso was guided by a unique conception of the past. “I gave certain fixation or immobility to events whose nature is a bit elusive. Who rummages in the past should not give the illusion that he is remembering what it was like; the past no longer exists, by definition it is what it no longer is.

It recreates itself at the very moment of evoking it. Once recreated, it has already been modified. I no longer have the slightest idea of ​​what things were true and how many I recomposed to make the novel better. That’s where a part of my memory stayed. I used it as a raw material and I already spent it. This is the result ”, indicates Uribe.

The former cultural adviser in France (1977-1985), and cultural attaché in Nicaragua (1986), points out that “I took a load off my shoulders by making a novel that delves into my past; but at the same time you feel the weight of how those you mention will take it. You stay light and heavy at the same time ”.

He notes that philosophy has given him “a certain mental order, a certain clarity, which is useful for writing.”

He says that after delivering Los que no, in which he emphasizes irony, he sits with empty arms. “What I do when I don’t have a novel on the doorstep is write essays or stories anyway. I already started a novel very different from this one, in which I really threw everything, but I will not repeat the formula ”, concludes the 2014 Xavier Villaurrutia Prize.

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