To return to the years of youth while keeping your eyes clean, almost naive and that dazzled vehemence that only that moment can give you, you have to have great generosity as a writer. Marcos Ordóñez (Barcelona, 1957), who has just published the novel ‘A young couple’ (Pepitas de Calabaza), knows the secret. The first paragraph says it all: “Iván and Patricia fell in love in the spring of 1979. They had turned 23 years old. They often forgot the watch at home. Life was still cheap and they came up with two of pipes. They hardly ever thought about the future and no one had died yet. They would always remember the glory of that day & rdquor ;. In those six initial lines, Ordóñez appreciates, is the novel, which Throughout 350 pages, he develops the feeling of a full, festive and daily happiness with hardly any surprises. The task is not easy because happiness itself has little history and carries a bad reputation as a material for literature. But Ordóñez needed a happy novel now more than ever.
Here it must be explained that the writer and theater critic, in addition to suffering from the pandemic like any neighbor’s child, is going through a health slump and this novel must be viewed through that light: Instead of plunging into Dostoevskian abysses, he has wanted to give a happy existence to some protagonists in whom the reader intuits the author’s experience. It is that Iván tries to become a writer -very similar to the one Ordóñez is today- while listening to music of all colors and conditions -from Manolo Caracol to Elvis Costello- and reading Modiano, one of Ordóñez’s leading authors.
“From the final writing I eliminated sad episodes that referred me to the dark Barcelona of the dodgy neighborhoods of the 80s that naturally existed, but had nothing to do with the novel I wanted to write & rdquor ;, he explains, aware that he has applied that special filter of the memory that embellishes the past. “In this I am in tune with Alfredo Sanzol, an author and theater director who also has that look. I recognize myself in it & rdquor ;. Barcelona, as in so many other Ordóñez novels, is once again the protagonist, as well as that micro-universe that was La Floresta, the cradle of the local ‘underground’, where the young couple lived for a while – “but let it be clear that they are not modern “, he emphasizes – and where luxury extras such as Jaume Sisa and Carles Flavià parade.
The death of a dog
And so it happens that the second dramatically ‘hardest’ thing that happens to the protagonist is doing the military in his city, in Barcelona – the first is the death of a dog. Nothing that many boys of that generation have not experienced. “I didn’t have a bad time in the military, where I met amazing people who had nothing to do with the cliché of the garrulous and bitter officer. Hence, in fiction, Captain Longares, who puts the protagonist under his wing, is a well-read guy who loves Wodehouse, the English humorist – “I ran into people like that, I don’t have that much fantasy & rdquor ;, he says-. He imagines the captain with the features of the actor Miguel Rellán, a good friend.
Ordóñez speaks passionately about his characters, but places a special emphasis on Patricia. “She is a very intelligent woman, she studies and teaches math and she is also a singer, I am in love with her & rdquor ;. He feels a great responsibility towards his creatures, one would even say that he protects them and above all he needs them to be perceived as real. “My way of being a writer has little to do with being smart. The important thing for me is that everything is true. That is my intention and I am not always sure I have achieved it but I do not give up. I need to know that what I am doing is true. My wife is the first to read me, if she says yes, it’s fine”.
Author Marcos Ordonez
Editorial Pumpkin seeds
288 pages. 20.99 €