Colombian writer Andrés Felipe Solano during an interview with Agencia Efe this Tuesday in Seoul. . / Andrés Sánchez Braun
(Andrés Sánchez Braun /)
Seoul, Jun 23 . .- In his new book, « The days of fever », the Colombian Andrés Felipe Solano reflects three months of perplexity and uncertainty in a Seoul in which the pandemic is making its way to configure a present reality , and also future, which seems increasingly unreal.
In the midst of an information storm due to the spread of COVID-19 and with South Korea becoming the second country in which the virus wreaked havoc, back in February, Solano (Bogotá, 1977) started a newspaper that has served to preserve diversity of impressions and fears derived from a trance that seems very far away.
« The passage of time has been strange. I don’t even remember many of the things I wrote for this book, » he tells Efe at a brewery in Seoul, where he has resided since 2013 and where another newspaper of his also runs – « Korea: notes from the tightrope « (2015) – and set his novel » Cemeteries of neon « (2016).
« Beyond registration, I think the book will be valid, since in the midst of this flood of information we started to erase things to free up memory because we are full of data, » he explains.
The work, on sale from today, arose at the proposal of the publisher Marcel Ventura, always interested in the Korean reality, and ended up being an original testimony about this strange transition between before and after the pandemic that for many, by the accumulation of emotions, it is already a nebula difficult to structure.
« It will be interesting in 10 or 50 years for anyone who wants to see what happened in Seoul when this started, » Solano says of the book, which ranges from the appearance of the first case in South Korea on January 20 to April, when the » new normal « begins to prevail in Seoul under the shadow of a second wave of infections.
« The Fever Days » is also a close look at the successful model with which South Korea has been able to literally follow in the footsteps of each person infected, and which allows Solano to discover a « voyeuristic » facet from which he is curious or even fantasizes about the lives of patients 14,16 or 28.
This connects with the right to privacy, an issue that has generated a dilemma in many countries in which South Koreans have been simplified as beings molded for obedience or a lack of critical spirit.
In this sense, Solano recalls that it was the 2015 MERS epidemic that changed everything in the Asian country – from laws to the methodology to track infections – and made its citizens understand that the use of their data can save many lives.
« The coronavirus has also been an excuse to project a lot of Western fantasies about Asia and surveillance, » explains the writer, who insists that « no one is raiding here to see whether or not people wear masks on the subway or is doing facial recognition at the entrance to the buildings. «