In 2011 the media squares in Spain were filled with young people outraged against the system and traditional political parties. The 15-M became a phenomenon of such magnitude that only three years later, in 2014, the new party that emerged from those squares, Podemos, was the fourth most voted force in the European elections. Cristina Morales did not experience 15-M in the first person. He spent that year studying in India. But the revolutionary echoes reached her and somehow starred in her debut, The Fighters , which was awarded the Injuve Prize for Narrative in 2012 and published in Trojan Horse in 2013.
Anagrama now recovers this novel about a university theater group that moves between rage, transgression and radicalism in which Morales poured the effervescence of a time marked by a call to action to change everything from top to bottom. "The jury of the contest celebrated it as the speech of a politically involved youth," recalls today's National Narrative Prize for Easy Reading . What the author did not count at the time (and took a long time to come to light) was that part of what the characters in The Fighters say was not inspired by what was heard in the squares, but copied from a much older speech: one pronounced in 1935 by Ramiro Ledesma, founder of the JONS and one of the most prominent fascist intellectuals.
"Then there was the PP in power. At the award ceremony at the Tabakalera, I was asked to read one of the most exciting excerpts, which was also that of Ramiro Ledesma. It was a great laugh. Not even the editor, Constantino Bértolo, I was aware, " recalls Morales. Read today The combatants have that added morbidity, that of trying to guess which passages were written 80 years ago. For Morales, that literary move "reveals how internalized we are in fascist discourse, so much so that we do not smell or singe. For me it was a great laugh that revealed the false division between reality and fiction: how a discourse written by the Falangists could to be celebrated by those who called themselves revolutionaries, of the left. It also revealed something magnificent, which is the falsehood between right and left. "
We have the fascist discourse so internalized that we do not smell the singeCristina Morales
Actually, if someone asked Morales at that time what he thought of the 15-M, she replied that under a revolutionary patina, the movement was nothing more than "I think for the system" led by young "aspiring bourgeois" to those who preferred not to judge too much because "it is very legitimate to aspire to the floor and the car, there is nothing wrong with that." The author of Easy Reading is not surprised today that "one of the little gods of the square" has become "a very powerful man who shares a seat with those parties that he criticized."
That of confusing outraged and falangists is not the only game between reality and fiction that Morales proposes, which in the novel places the female protagonist bursting with a performance a literary presentation starring an expert writer in Terenci Moix named Juan Bonilla, kiss of screw through. "It is a game, but not between reality and fiction, which are two falsely opposed entities. What a book contains is reality. I resist thinking that what is in books is apart from what happens to us," reasoned the author.
The truth is that Bonilla is, by chance or not, the author of the new prologue to Introduction to Teresa de Jesús (the other book that Anagrama now recovers), a commission made by the editor Silvia Querini in 2015, coinciding with the fifth centenary of the birth of Teresa de Ávila, and that appeared published in Lumen with another title, Bad Words. The idea was, as Bonilla remembers, to explain side B of the life of a saint who somehow revealed herself against the destiny that her condition as a woman held for her (marry and have children without stopping, like her mother) and also against how the Church at that time used (and sometimes abused) the idea of God. On the change of title, Morales confesses that he never liked the original and that his initial proposal to title it Last Afternoons with Teresa de Jesús was taken to the fun of the editorial in tribute to Juan Marsé, one of the authors who read the most when moving to Barcelona.
Until the moment of the commission, Morales knew the saint "like all Spaniards, from the institute." "She was a very institutionalized character, treated with a certain heroism and paternalism. For an anticlerical or at least secular generation like mine, she was considered something less. We are not interested in mystics. So I looked for what other versions of the saint there were." Said and done: Morales dove into the writings of Teresa de Cepeda and Ahumada (whom Franco worshiped with special devotion, keeping the reliquary of his uncorrupted hand in the Palacio del Pardo until after his death) and soon discovered " Teresa squatter, back against all her bosses ", even feminist.
Now it begins to be seen clearly where we lived. This stressful situation had to come to see the wickerwork democracy is made ofCristina Morales
And it is that if Morales is characterized by something, it is by a speech deeply allergic to what is politically correct. Last April, when the death toll from the coronavirus was around 600 newspapers in Spain and the de-escalation was still a distant dream, he published a text in the Journal of the Autonomous University of Mexico, very critical of confinement. It talks about "authoritarian revelry" and narrates the adventures of a group of friends who carry out "forays into the disheveled areas of Montjuïc" hiding from the mossos to practice boxing, yoga, kung fu and evaluate "the best place in which to stick a mushroom trip ". "We are dedicated to avoiding the police and their chamberlains, those sneaks who charge themselves in fascist moral comfort by denouncing their neighbor for being less afraid than they are." This starts a provocative text that ends with an even more provocative "FOLK ME, I HAVE CROWN".
Morales acknowledges that the text is critical of the state of alarm but denies that the "superficial" reflections of the characters are exactly his own. "I dedicate myself to literature and not to the press because literature seems to me a different way of presenting an idea about the world. So I do not think that the voice that speaks should be assimilated with the voice of the author who has a name , an ID, a family ... ", he explains. "That's why they don't buy columns from anywhere," he adds.
What is the opinion of the National Narrative Prize about the situation that the country has gone through in the midst of a pandemic? "I find it fascinating how this situation has brought out, as if they were pointed icebergs, the pillars that support democracy: arbitrariness, inequality, authoritarian revelry, colonialism, the difference between what has and does not have . It is like an old film development: now it begins to be seen clearly where we lived. This stressful situation has had to come to see the wickerwork of which democracy is made. "
And what do you think of the liturgy of applause at eight in the afternoon? "It is a fetish that creates a new frontier between the one who applauds and the one who does not applaud. A Manicheism between the one who is celebrating and the one who is not" which, according to the winner of the Herralde Prize, illuminates "a new figure, that of the unsupportive" . "It seems to me a tremendously violent gesture that only helps to point to the one who is not applauding or is not on the balcony, but on the street at the recess that the government has given him."
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