“I wanted to write about a wedding, one that ended badly, and suddenly, in the remains of the party, when it is already dawn, with that light that is sad the way things have gone, the lights of a car appear. police”. With that image, and with that of a bride who “was said – as we read in the opening sentence of the book – that she had appeared at her own wedding in white as if she were involved in a sect” – “and of course: all the fucking brides go white, so why does someone say that, right
– wrote Manuel Jaboisa few paragraphs, still not knowing what the story would be, or even if it would end up being a story as such. It was: it is Miss Marte, her second novel after Malaherba, also published by Alfaguara. The author will present his work next Sunday, at 1:00 p.m., at the Tomares Book Fair.
Then came the tone – “I found it, and I was very happy, when it occurred to me that the story would be told by a journalist who, 25 years later, goes to town to shoot a documentary about what happened,” he says – and finally the story, a plot that is read in one go and that keeps in its final stretch one of those twists that not only cause surprise, but also give everything previously read another texture: that ofa girl who mysteriously disappears during a wedding that is the talk of a small town on the Costa de la Muerte , and her mother, an unpredictable, funny, wild and slightly unbalanced girl who falls in love with the son of a local businessman and they become –she and that sudden love affair– in the entertainment of all the neighbors.
On the other end of the phone, Manuel Jabois, a star of national journalism, acknowledges that after the experience with Malaherba, a story of children who are initiated into the bitter truths of the adult world set in Pontevedra, his debut in fiction, he now begins to believe more in himself and to have ” more self-esteem as a novelist, because I’ve been doing chronicles and reports for 25 years, but not novels.” “And they’re still frontier novels,” says the Galician about the links between that book and Miss Mars, in which he portrays the irruption of love and not a few disappointments. in the stage of adolescence and early youth “In Malaherba the child grows up suddenly, to blows, and in this let’s say that the kids are not allowed to be adults. It was comfortable for me to write about these two stages of life because obviously I have lived them, not in those same circumstances, of course, but in terms of the emotions that I wanted to talk about: the discovery of sex, death, of love, family, secrets, and all families have some because otherwise they would not survive together, friendship and something very painful: the erosion of friendship until its disappearance…”.
Somehow, Miss Mars is also the story of how two women turn upside down, each in their own way, a small universe, with their chorus of male voices, fascinated and troubled in the background, or rather to the side, looking at them dumbfounded. One is Mai Lavinia, the lost girl who at the beginning of the 90s arrived like a hurricane in Xaxebe, with a two-year-old girl by the hand; the other is Berta Soneira, a young journalist with a brilliant career and captivating personality, who in the present goes to that same enclave to try to find out what was behind that disappearance that decades ago monopolized hours and hours of television programs, to finally fall into oblivion without anything being resolved. This certain intrigue gives rise to Jabois to elaborate a magnetic gallery of portraits of human typesand ultimately – “because the novel has several layers” – to reflect on the notion of truth. About what exactly is the truth, if such accuracy were possible, and about whether it is convenient, sometimes, not to tell it even if it has been accessed.
“I was interested in talking about what Berta Soneira calls pious truths. That is, something that is told to you at a given moment to calm you down or to satisfy you but that will surely hurt you in the long run. We could also call it adult truths, because what I also talk about in the novel is that moment in which the most delicate deceptions begin”, says Jabois, who addresses in the novel –Soneira herself, as we said, shares a profession with him– not a few considerations about journalism and its peculiar ecosystem. “I would not say that the current state of journalism is unmitigatedly bad, as some maintain. This profession was always very delicate because it deals with very delicate issues such as telling things as they are, and one soon understands, as soon as one is interested, that Telling things as they are depends on many factors, many pressures, many biases and prejudices.The main problem of journalism, beyond the fact that many unfairly when hearing journalism imagine a talk show host giving voices on television, is the precariousness of journalists And I know that I speak from a privileged position. And hey, you can also talk about a type of reader who doesn’t help, which is the reader who scolds his newspaper because it doesn’t publish the things he wants to read, that type of hooligan reader who opens the newspaper like someone who goes to soccer”.
There is a character in the novel, tangential and hilarious, the director Ventin, at the head of a hard-working local newspaper, who puts his hands to his head and exclaims “what a job” every time an editor brings a scoop to his office. “There are many Ventines who do not want to get their hands or shoes dirty, types who do not clean where they go and do not stain either. But it does not seem comparable to the case of the emeritus king –well, we asked him if the problem with Juan Carlos I was also to a great extent the ventines who, knowingly, kept silent–: it is one thing to hate the current situation, not wanting to complicate your life, and another to know what was happening and decide to hide it out of loyalty to the Crown or institutional stability or any of those syntagmas that intoxicate journalism”.

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