• Obituary: the writer Juan Marsé dies at 87: that boy who invented Barcelona
  • Marsé and the cinema: reality but well
  • Juan Marsé Communism, loneliness and confusion

In Juan Marsé's writing room, at his home in Barcelona's Ensanche, there is an oil portrait of the poet Jaime Gil de Biedma. Not far from Marsé's chalet in Calafell, the poet and publisher Carlos Barral had his den. It seems that Marsé never wrote poems (or at least did not keep them), but some of his closest friends were mainly poets. Also José Manuel Caballero Bonald. And José Agustín Goytisolo. Poetry was not among his reader preferences, but some poets were among the enthusiasms of their conversation . Also soccer. And other novelists. And some filmmakers. And a handful of musicians. And other people without cataloging.

Marsé is fixed to the history of literature of the last half century by a handful of novels of extraordinary wake. But it will remain anchored in some memories also by an attitude. For a way of being. For this way of going around from the bottom of his difficult vicissitudes, of his convulsive biography . Juan Marsé is a civic man who remained civil without giving in to stupidity or being run over. He assumed to inhabit the world with an ethical burden made of his own certainties and some mistakes, renouncing the vile merchandise of gifted smiles, of unstable compliments.

He served in the Communist Party for four years and attended the perfumed homilies of Jorge Semprún. He left the party fence, but assumed an intimate militancy in his own ideas. On the left side. He was someone convinced that the only inalienable democratic balance is equality and justice (without naivety or wizardry). He rejected award juries, he rejected specific works, he rejected manifestos, he rejected soflamas, he rejected nationalisms, and he claimed himself as one of the best writers of the language. I knew that 'yes' adds, but 'no' multiplies .

Writer Juan Marsé dies at 87

This man who, if he could choose, chose not to speak of himself was a direct conversationalist. Something metallic sometimes. A guy capable of recycling his alleged inappetence for confession in a discharge of ideas that impact against the sacristies of contemporary stupidity. Against stupidity. Without raising your voice. Looking at the bottom of things with a disciplined, provocative and irreparable disappointment .

At some point, on his return from Paris, where he was working for the Pasteur Institute, a teacher of Spanish for the poet Pierre Emmanuel and the daughter of the pianist Casadeus, he decided that literature was the only true god. His literature: made from the side of the voiceless. He was openly suspicious of nostalgia . He did not sleepwalk with the past. Among his demons he always kept the Church. Among his passions, the Hollywood of the 40s . And by hand, where the remaining things are kept, the embers of some poets.

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