“Our novelist – who, of course, is not yet a novelist at all and is not ours either – wants to be a writer,” writes Patricio Pron in one of his most acclaimed stories, Es el realismo; “One day he wants to be Antonin Artaud, another day he wants to be Jorge Luis Borges, the next, Herman Hesse and later, Julio Cortazar; our novelist is an idiot, but at least he reads what there is to read at his age.” Pron (Rosario, Argentina, 1975) brings together the stories he wrote between 1990 and 2020 in Bringing everything back home (Alfaguara), a volume of brilliant, imaginative and brilliant stories with which he shows that he has managed to be himself, a very singular author in the literary scene in Castilian .
–In the preliminary note, he notes that, since the past cannot be corrected, he has reviewed some of the stories…
–I reviewed them, yes. But I was not always able to correct them in the full dimension of the word. In several cases, especially in the case of the oldest stories, those that correspond to my beginnings as a writer, it became clear to me that I was no longer the one who wrote them, and that I could not correct them because I was no longer fully capable of understanding what they were. that writer that I had been proposed. So I made practically no changes to them.
-In these texts, the oldest, the reader finds the stories of a horse that pretended to be a man, a city of drowned people at the bottom of the river, the children of the same woman who spoke the most disparate languages… That young author had a powerful imagination.
–I remember myself as someone who knew of his belonging to a very important tradition, that of the Hispano-American story, with its extraordinary writers. At that time I was trying to find out if there was a place for me in that tradition and how I could write stories that, if they were not up to those of my teachers and teachers, those of that tradition, could at least be placed by their side, like a kind of shadow line. Later I had other interests and a different relationship with the teachers, but at that time it was about visiting the sites they had frequented and operating within the framework created by them.
“In the beginning I tried to find out if there was a space for me in the tradition of the Hispanic-American story”
–In Es el realismo he does not present a very enthusiastic view of the writer’s craft: “Having lunch with A, praising D’s book to the point of salivation, supporting H’s novel as a jury”… And in Este es el futuro that both feared in the past tells how terrible the promotion is. What a pity, as he says, not to be an author with a pseudonym like Elena Ferrante and to be able to renounce so much servitude.
“No time for pseudonyms anymore, I’m afraid. But on one occasion, in Buenos Aires, someone told me with complete conviction that she knew Patricio Pron and that Patricio Pron was the pseudonym used by a friend of hers from school. I didn’t impose myself: I replied that, indeed, I pretended to be Patricio Pron on occasion because I had a certain interest in his books. And so we move on to talk about other things, from which derives the little importance that literary life has for most people. And yet, that is the only life that some of us have, the life of reading and writing and thinking about literature. The easements are real and lie in wait for the writer, but there are forms of resistance, and I am very much of the idea that only resistance to external requirements can save us as individuals.
–In A divorce from 1974, correct me if I’m wrong, he talks about the experiences of parents who are not exactly his own, but ends by saying: “Years later, a son of both tells this story.” To what extent does History, in capital letters, invoke us, belong to us
We live in time and it inhabits us. But it doesn’t always seem easy to remember that the present is the place where the past manifests itself, where it spreads its wings, covering everything. We like to believe that we have a great margin of action, but that margin is limited by history, social class, gender, the parents we have. The characters in this book have, if anything, a greater awareness of it than the rest of the people. They are often at a crossroads, at a crossroads, and they know that the decision they make will make their life no longer the same. There is a border, an edge. And they cross it.
“The literary life has little importance, but for some it is the only life we ​​have: reading, writing”
-In their stories, the narrators express their opposition to realism and Chilean poetry. Do you subscribe to any of those manias
–Only in part. I am a great admirer of Chilean poetry and, in general, of its literature, which for different reasons I have come to know quite well; his contemporary literature is one of the most important that exist at this time in Spanish. Realism, on the other hand, interests me only as a problem. The problem is that of the implications of believing that we live in an understandable and orderly world despite the fact that, as is evident, and as Martin Heidegger stated, “to live is to have fallen” since the world itself is far from being realistic. Fictional literature is a way of thinking, an enormous intelligence that transcends the limitations of space and time. But mimesis, the idea that reality could be mimicked by words arranged in a certain way,
–In some pieces he uses (and exaggerates) an alter ego called Patricio Pron. What differences are there between the literary character and the real one (because everyone in life, after all, is a character)
-Well, the Patricio Pron of some of my stories is somewhat more attentive than I am to matters related to prestige, the writing profession and the existence of a book industry that systematically and perhaps deliberately devalues ​​its product, books. who says he wants to publish, replacing them with stuffy tweets, autofictional narcissism, generational portraits, and the rest written about activities that are not very bookish or literary, such as having a YouTube channel, being a talk show host on the radio, or working as a folklore. That literature resists all this is proof of its extraordinary strength, as well as of the fact that some of us cannot live without literature, even though what is offered to us as such is not always or very much like it. I suppose that Patricio Pron whips himself daily thinking about these matters.
“There is a Patricio Pron who cares about the literary thing, but I wonder what the cats are doing with my furniture”
–He brings red / It’s blood came up in response to the question they used to ask him about how he understands literature. It is curious that it is presented as an instruction manual for war…
-That’s how it is. There is a bellicose component in the background of the instructions, but the enemy they speak of is oneself and the dangers that lie in wait for you as a writer: complacency, the fiction of self-importance, the mistaken idea that sales of a book say something about its quality, the fantasy that writers would be a kind of critical conscience of society, etc. Naturally, the instruction manual is a joke. But it’s a serious joke, which is what the best jokes always are.

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