Virtual presentation of the novel ‘El corazón con que vivo’, by José María Pérez Peridis, winner of the 2020 Primavera Novel Prize from the Espasa publishing house.
“It is the chronicle of my dream novel,” José María Pérez González, Peridis, looses it point blank, (Cabezón de Liébana, 79 years old), just picking up the phone; point-blank like the shots that ended the lives of eight of the characters in The Heart I Live With (Espasa), Primavera Novel 2020 Prize. Peridis —a draftsman of EL PAÍS, journalist, novelist, architect… – has learned the history of the Civil War and the coup d’état of 1936 “from the writing of this novel”, a work that acts like a microscope in a sick body. It analyzes and scrutinizes the minimum to understand the whole.
Because Pérez González uses the microcosm of the Palentino Paredes Rubias (“Vetusta or Macondo style”, he says) to understand the armed confrontation that “turned until then political adversaries into enemies to the death”.
Based on the neighborhood, professional and personal relationships of two Paredes families – those of doctors Don Honorio and Don Arcadio, one from Falangist and the other from Republican, and both colleagues from Orla at the university – Pérez González rebuilds the five-year period 1936-1941 : from the coup to the postwar period. But without battles, or fronts, or bombings, or armies. Only people who suffer and feel. The writer, who was born precisely in 1941, has learned what happened, he admits, while typing “the war from below, not from above as it has always been described”. “Each house, each staircase, each neighborhood were split in two and I have put my life and heart to rebuild those experiences.”
The plot occurred to him when he was traveling by train and a man approached him because they had both been born in the same region. The stranger wore gold and diamond cufflinks that had belonged to a grandfather shot in the war. The twins, a kind of Proust’s cupcake for Pérez González, unleashed in the writer the desire to know more about those years before his childhood. And so Paredes was born, Don Honorio, Don Lucas, Esperanza or Don Arcadio, who are nothing more than transcripts of neighbors and landscapes of their land.
“The problem of those people was how to preserve their dignity and values, which they did, like the miners who approached Don Honorio’s clinic, the same one that treated them for their professional illnesses, to warn him that they were going to shoot him by phalangist or doctor [en la realidad el abuelo de Pablo Casado, líder del PP] who cared for the republican prisoners who came to his hospital in Palencia, or the father who bought the land where his son was thrown into a mass grave by the Francoists to recover his remains, “he explains.
“It is the metaphor of living together after the disaster,” the writer sadly mentions when he remembers the death of his own son Froilán last year, and to whom he dedicates the book, and whose excruciating pain undoubtedly made it easier for him to approach heartbreaking feelings. of those people who lost parents, grandparents, children, brothers and who had to rebuild their lives to survive.
At the presentation of the award, which was held this Wednesday on the networks, coordinated by the journalist Pepa Fernández, Peridis joked about his first memories of those events. “My mother said that the reds were shouting ‘Long live Russia’, and I did not understand anything. Because the reds were some of the people who said they were going to end God. But how could they end with God who is everywhere? ”. “The book,” in short, “are the memories of my childhood, the memory of friends and the study of documents of what happened.” Without hate. Just wanting to hug tight. Very strong.
The heart with which I live. (Espasa, 2020). 360 pages. 19.90 euros.