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BOOKS : 2013 Recap — MS. ROSA MONTERO

Ms. Rosa Montero’s book , TEARS IN RAIN, has been showcased in one of our earlier stories   http://wp.me/pOvMO-iz


Rosa Montero, an acclaimed novelist, has won Spain’s top book award, the Qué Leer Prize, twice—for The Lunatic of the House in 2003 and Story of the Transparent King in 2005. A prolific author of twenty-six books, her other titles include the short-story collection Lovers and Enemies and the novels Beautiful and Dark, My Beloved Boss, and The Heart of the Tartar. An award-winning journalist for the Spanish newspaper El País, a native of Madrid and the daughter of a professional bullfighter, Montero published her first novel at age twenty-eight

Ms. Montero was gracious enough to grant us an interview with separate answers in both English and Spanish. For our international readers, we are happy to provide both languages.

rosa montero cover Polish image005

1

Ms. Rosa Montero
>
> BACKGROUND
>
> QUESTION: Describe your career as a journalist and what your favorite
memories of that career have been? What were your personal triumphs and most
terrifying moments?

ANSWER: Being a journalist as I have been, a reporter, an interviewer, it´s
a wonderful thing because it allows you to know many worlds, and not only
geographical worlds but inner personal ones…. I don´t know, I have
interviewed very famous people: Ayatollah Khomeini, Nixon, Indira Gandhi,
Paul McCartney, Arafat, Mario Vargas Llosa and so on, but my best memories
are not the famous people, I prefer other moments… I have been for
instance in Berlin when the Wall fall, and that was amazing, I felt History
just developing in front of me… I have been in the North Pole at minus 37
Celsius degrees, walking on the Artic Sea and watching my breath getting
frozen around me like a diamond cloud… And I interviewed a former
terrorist who had killed five people in just three months when he was 18
years old. Then he was caught, and spent twenty years in jail and wrote a
book about how a human being can kill another person and celebrate his first
killing buying champagne, as he did… That is, he wrote a book about
fanatism. And I went to intervew him in jail and it was fascinating, because
it was a journey to the black Evil hole we all humans beings have in our
heart, and I did thar journey with a guide who had been there and had come
out.

Ser periodista como yo lo he sido, una reportera, una entrevistadora, es
algo fantástico porque te permite conocer muchos mundos, y no me refeiro
solo a los mundos geográficos sino a los mundos personales. No sé, he
entrevistado a mucha gente muy famosa, desde Jomeini a NIxon pasando por
Indira Gandhi o Mario vargas Llosa, Paul Mccartney y Arafat , pero los
famosos no son lo que recuerdo con más emoción. No, hay otros momentos
maravillosos en mi carrera periodistica, como, por ejemplo, haber estado en
Berlín cuando cayó el Muro: era ser testigo de la Historia. O también haber
ido a hacer un reportaje al Polo Norte…. y caminar por encima del helado
oceano Artico envuelta en una especie de nube de diamantes que es tu aliento
congelado. O, por ultimo, entrevistar a un terrorista que, a los 18 años de
edad y en solo tres meses, asesinó a cinco personas. Después lo detuvieron,
menos mal, y se pasó media vida en la cárcel. Veinte años mas tarde, se
arrepintió de lo que habia hecho y escribio un libro reflexionando sobre
cómo un ser humano podia matar a otros seres humanos y, para celebrar su
primer asesinato, comprar una botela de champán, como él habia hecho. Cuando
sacó este libro fui a entrevistarle a la carcel y resulto fascinante, porque
fue como hacer un viaje al agujero negro que todos llevamos en el corazón, a
lo peor de los humanos, y hacer el camino acompañada por un guía que había
estado allí y había salido.

> QUESTION: You are a journalist that has written over 25 novels, books and
short story collections. What is the distinction of working in the science
fiction genre?

ANSWER: First, let me tell you I consider myself just a writer, not a
journalist. Most writers work on different genres; they are poets and
novelists, for example; or they write essays and theatre plays and
journalism…. For me, written journalism is a literary genre like any
other. And I consider myself a writer who writes journalism, novels and
essais…. Novels are my passion, and journalism my work, even if I love it.
As most novelists, I began to write in my chilhood (I was 5 years old when I
wrote my first short stories, awful tales of talking mice) and if I become a
journalist was to work on something near to my writing passion…. Now, this
is not the first time I have written Sci.Fi. My fifth novel, Temblor,
published in 1991, was also Sci-Fi (I have written 12 novels up to now).
And you know what? For me it is just exactly the same as writing a novel set
in Medieval Age (as I also did) or in the contemporary world, as are most of
my novels. It is the same!! You always write about the same subjects, the
same obsessions, and you just want to find a better way to dig on them, to
explain them for your readears but also for yourself… And science fiction
gives you a powerful metaphorical tool to explain reality, that´s all.

rosa montero cover foreign o4

Lo primero, déjame decirte que yo me considero no una periodista, sino
simplemente una escritora. La mayoria de los escriores cultivan distintos
géneros:son poetas y ramaturgos, ensayistas y novelistas… Yo me considero
una escritora que cultiva la ficción, el ensayo y el periodismo, porque para
mí el periodismo escrito es un género literario como cualquier otro. Ahora
bien, la novela es mi pasión, mientras que el periodismo es mi trabajo,
aunque me guste mucho. Como la mayoria de los novelistas, empecé a escribir
ficcion de niña (mis primeros cuentos, unos textos horribles de ratitas que
hablaban, los escribi a los cinco años) y si escogí el periodismo como
profesion fue precisamente porque estaba cerca de mi pasión por la
escritura…. Volviendo a tu pregunta, te diré que no es la primera vez que
escribo ciencia ficcion. Mi quinta novela, Temblor, publicada en 1991 (hasta
ahora he escrito doce novelas) también era de ciencia ficcion. Y, ¿sabes
qué? Pues que para mí es exactamente igual escribir una novela de ciencia
ficcion que escribir una historia que sucede en la Edad Media (tengo una
novela que transcurre en el siglo XII) o novelas contemporaneas, como en la
mayor parte de mis libros. ¡Es lo mismo! Una siempre escribe sobre los
mismos temas, sobre las mismas obsesiones, y lo único que quieres es
encontrar una manera de profundizar en ellos, de explicarlos mejor no sólo
para tus lectores sino también para ti misma. Y la ciencia ficcion te
proporciona una poderosa herramienta metafórica para explicar la realidad.

> QUESTION: We are very intrigued as to your upbringing in the Franco era
where your dad was a celebrity. What was that life like? How did you
navigate what is clearly a brave but introspective nature?

ANSWER: Lol! My father was not a celebrity at all, poor thing. He was a
bullfighter, yes (by the way I hate bullfighting), but a poor, not famous at
all bullfighter … Most of them are not celebrities, as most actors are not
famous. . My father and my mother came from a modest social level. They left
school at ten years old… We were rather poor in my childhood…. actually,
Spain was very poor in those years. We had no hot water at home till I was
16, for instance. And Madrid is quite cold in winter. lol. And dictatorship
was… an awful, stupid, narrow, preposterous, sad reality… Dictatorship,
any dictatorship, is an anomalous and sick social organization. Luckily I
grew up in the last Franco years; by then, distatorship was beginning to
collapse and we lived a dual sociaty…. the real one, which was not
allowed but existed, and the oficial one, which was the only one allowed but
somehow was not real. Besides, it was a very chauvinistic society, very
unfair in every sense. I think it taught me to be rebellious and to hate
opressive power.

Jajaja, mi padre no fue una celebridad en absoluto, pobrecito. Fue torero,
sí (y por cierto yo detesto los toros), pero un torero pobre y nada famoso.
La mayoría de los toreros son pobres y nada famosos, igual que la mayoria
delos actores no son estrellas de Hollywood. Tanto mi madre como mi padre
vienen de familias modestas y solo fueron a la escuela hasta los diez
años…. Ersamos bastante pobres en mi infancia; bueno, toda España era muy
pobre en esos años… Por ejemplo, no tuvimos agua caliente hasta que no
cimplí 16 años, y Madrid es una ciudad muy fria en invierno, jaja. En cuanto
a la dictadura, era una estúpida, espantosa, triste y grotesca realidad.
Todas las dictaduras son anomalías sociales, construcciones sociales
enfermas. Afortunadamente pille los ultimos años de la dictadura de Franco y
por entonces la dictadura empezaba a tambalearse. Viviamos en una sociedad
dual en la que por un lado estaba el país real, que estaba prohibido pero
existía, y por otro el país oficial, que era el único permitido pero que de
alguna manera no era real. Además era una sociedad muy machista y muy
injusta en todos los sentidos. Creo que ese entorno me hizo ser rebelde y
odiar cualquier tipo de abuso de poder.

Rosa Montero next book March 5 la ridicula idea de no volver a vert portada

> QUESTION: What was your mom like?

ANSWER: She was and is (she is 91 and is great) a wonderful woman. She
painted very well, her two brothers were professional painters; she had this
artistic talent, but as she was a woman in a very chauvinistic society, she
didn´t work outside home. She was a housewife. A rather frustrated one, I
think, as so many have been.>

Era y es (tiene 91 años y está genial) una mujer maravillosa. Pintaba muy
bien y sus dos hermanos han sido pintores profesionales; mi madre siempre
tuvo ese talento artístico, pero como era una mujer en una sociedad muy
machista, jamás persiguió su vocación. Fue ama de casa. Un ama de casa
bastante frustrada, me parece, como muchas lo han sido.

rosa montero foreign cover 2
> QUESTION: Does your work, singularly or on the whole, have particular
resonance for a female readership ?

ANSWER: I don´t believe in female readership, as I don´t believe in female
writing, lol. I mean, I consider myself a feminist, and I think nowadays it
is a must to be like that for men and women, is a must to be antisexist as
much as to be antiracist. It is a sensible, obvious thing to be. But novels
are outside this level. Novels shouldn´t be utilitarian at all, shouldn´t be
feminist, nor socialist, nor pacifist or animalist, even if you as a citizen
are pacifist, animalist and so on. Because the sense of writing it to look
for the sense of life; and you cannot begin that search if you have already
the answers. Besides, I hate sexist reading prejudices… I mean, I hate
that if a woman writes a novel in which the main character is a woman,
everybody, women included, think she is writing about women; but if a man
writes a novel with a man in the main character, everybody think he is
writing about the humankind. I have no interes at all in writing about
women; I want to write about humankind, but the thing is 51% of humans
beings are women.

Digamos que no creo en la lectura femenina, de la misma manera que no creo
en la escritura femenina, jaja. Me considero feminista, y creo que hoy en
día es una obviedad ser femista, es una obligación moral básica, tanto para
hombres como para mujeres: uno debe ser antisexista de la misma manera que
es antiracista. Pero las novelas son otra cosa. Las novelas no deben de ser
utilitarias en absoluto, es decir, no deben ser pacifistas, feministas,
animalistas ni ningún ista, aunque el autor, como ciudadano, sea feminista,
pacifista, etcétera. Porque el sentido de escribir es la búsqueda del
sentido de la existencia, y tu no puedes emprender ese viaje de conocimiento

llevando previamente las respuestas. Además, siempre he detestado esos
prejuicios sexistas que hacen que, si una mujer escribe una novela
protagonizada por una mujer, todo el mundo, mujeres incluñidas, crean que
está escrbiendo sobre mujeres, mientras que si un hombre escribe una novela
protagonizada por un hombre, todo el mundo considera que está escribiendo
sobre el género humano. Yo no tengo ningun interes en escribir sobre
mujeres, yo quiero escribir sobre el género humano, pero resulta que el 51%
de los humanos somos mujeres.>
>

Layout 1

6
> PROCESS
>
QUESTION: Compare the writing of historical novels and science fiction
novels.

ANSWER: As I said before, it is exactly the same. In both novels I am
writing about human condition, that is, I am writing about permanent values
and problems, about now and here.

Como dije antes, es exactamente lo mismo. En ambos casos estoy escribiendo
sobre la condicion humana, es decir, sobre problemas y valores que son
permanentes, sobre el aqui y el ahora.

rosa montero Beautiful and Dark cover
> QUESTION: Is journalism easier or more confining because your perspective
or opinion must be either subtle or eliminated?

ANSWER: They are just different literary genres with different rules….
Easier in some things and more difficult in others. They are like talking
two languages…. I mean, a different organization of world through
different words. For instance, in journalism is very good to be clear, to be
precise, not to have room for doubt. And in fiction, the best thing is
ambiguity…. The more interpretations, even contradictory, a work of
fiction has, the better.

Simplemente son géneros diferentes con regas diferentes…. en algunas cosas
más fáciles y en otras más difíciles. Es como hablar dos lenguas, son
diferentes organizaciones del mundo a traves de palabras distintas. Por
ejemplo, en periodismo la claridad es un valor. Cuanto más clara y menos
equivoca sea una pieza periodística, mejor. Y en novela la ambigüedad es un
valor; cuantas más interpretaciones tenga una obra ficcion, incluso
interpretaciones contradictorias, mejor.

QUESTION: Was it totally an existential experience for you to write an
original novel (which pays homage to both a novel and a film) featuring
copies(“replicants”) who find themselves in settings (the Fake works of Art
section of the Museum) amid conversations about the added perceived value of
“acknowledged” fake works of art? Is that outwardly ironic, humorous, or
really academically deeply philosophical writing? Or does it just engender
in you the mindset of writing in a way Phillip K. Dick might have written?

ANSWER: I have never had it in mind to write a sequel of Blade Runner nor
the novel by Dick. Both things, film and novel, I saw and read many years
ago and, although I liked them very much, I am not a fanatic about them at
all. What I did was to take the modern myth of replicants to write my own
novel, as I could have taken a classic myth as Oedipus. And the Fake
exhibition I think simply talks about our society, it is a metaphor of a
world in which the Apparent aren’t and the copies are valued as better than
true things: when we want to say that a flower is beautiful, for instance,
we often say: it is so pretty it seems artificial!!! Lol. And yes, you have
a point: I think my novel is above all an existential thriller.

Nunca pensé en escribir una secuela a Blade Runner ni a la novela de Dick.
Aunque ambas cosas me encantaron, vi la pelicula y lei la novela hace muchos
años y nunca he sido una fanática de ellas. Lo que he hecho ha sido tomar el
mito moderno de los replicantes y escribir mi propia obra apartir de ahi, de
la misma manera que podria haber tomado un mito clásico como Edipo para
escribir algo. En cuanto a la exposicion de los Falsos, ye es una metafora
para representar nuestra sociedad actual, este mundo de suplantación y de
artificio en el que vivimos, en donde parece que lo falso se valora mas que
lo real: cuando queremos alabar una flor bonita, por ejemplo, a menudo
decimos: es tan bella que parece artificial, jajaja…. Y sí, yo considero
que mi novela es sobre todo un trhiller existencial.
8
QUESTION: Is there something deeply feminist about being underestimated in
the thought you devote to your work even though you have obviously been
working on it for years?

ANSWER: I don´t know if I understand the question. Who underestimated the
thought I devote to my work??? I have not that feeling. If you are talking
generally, yes, usually people tend to think women works are less…. real
work, so to say, lol. Luckily this prejudice is also changing.

No sé si entiendo tu pregunta. ¿Quien minusvalora el trabajo que he
invertido en mi obra? No tengo esa sensacion. Pero si estas hablando en
general, si, habitualmente la gente tiende a pensar que el trabajo que las
mujeres hacen es…. menos “verdadero trabajo”. Afortundamente este
prejuicio tambien esta cambiando
>
rosa montero by violetta de lama01
>
>QUESTION: How much does the post Civil War inform much, if not all of your
work?

ANSWER: I think it informs it very little, actually. In my twelve novels I
have only one in which I talk about the Civil War and its sequels. The Civil
War ended 73 years ago. The Second World War ended 67 years ago and people
don´t ask British or French writers my age if the Second World War inform
their works, do they?

Creo que influye poquisimo, la verdad. De mis doce novelas, solo en una se
habla directamente de la guerra civil y sus secuelas. La guerra civil
española termino hace 73 años. La segunda guerra mundial terminó hace 67
años y la gente no pregunta a los autores británicos o franceses de mi edad
si la segunda guerra mundial influye en sus obras, ¿verdad?

10
> QUESTION: Do you consider your other works as philosophical or are they
more photo-realist?
>
ANSWER: I think they are existential. Like this one!!!!

Creo que son existencialistas. Como esta!!!!

rosa montero cover foreign001
> QUESTION: Is there a sense in which you are approaching a mostly male
preserve of genre fiction in s way in which other female authors have not or
are you widening the field as other women have before you?

ANSWER: Oh, no I don´t think this is an special male preserve!!!! Lot of
women have written wonderful science fiction novels. Among them, one of my
most beloved authors, Ursula K. LeGuin. She is one of my masters in
literature, not in science fiction literature, but just plain and major
literature.

Happy New Year, Rosa!

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December 31, 2013 - Posted by | CULTURE, Uncategorized, We Recommend | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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