Oblivion (and cold) at the Book Fair

The strangest Madrid Book Fair has concluded, in an unusual month in which people entered, sometimes after enduring long queues in the sun, wearing their masks, when capacity control allowed. At least, it can be considered, it has been possible to celebrate.

I have lived it from a triple perspective. As an editor, I have been able to see a reader grasp the hand almost passionately Ursula Calvo, author of Towards me now (Kailas, 2021), while saying, smiling: “You have changed my life, I thank you so much …!” .

The writer and speaker who most defends the permanence in the present, with an overwhelmed countenance, returned the energy to her reader. I imagine that for an author of a work that deals with one’s place in the world, in his space but especially in his time, there may be few greater rewards.

As an author, I have seen the eyes of a girl of “almost eleven” years grow (as she herself said), until almost impossible, due to the amazement of having in front of the author of the Lolota collection, her favorite child character. Still ecstatic, perhaps wondering if I was not an impostor (I would suppose that the author of Lolota had to be like the girl herself, a magical character and not an ordinary individual), I wondered how I conceived that little Chinese and Spanish girl whom I so much he likes to travel, and tell about it.

His huge eyes, behind his brown plastic glasses, his mouth that could be guessed open, behind the mask, and his excitement at the entire children’s collection are difficult to forget.

As a reader, I asked for several signatures. The authors have a few seconds to consolidate the infatuation of those who are going to see them and, also, the same time to allow their myth to collapse causing a resounding and irreversible noise.

David trueba signed his Dear children with all the enthusiasm and affection to know that it was for a young aid worker who is now in Ethiopia, after passing through Somalia and, before, through Uganda. “Thank you for your work” he wrote, with a careful and beautiful handwriting. As if, knowing that she cared for others, he felt equally cared for.

I also asked for the signature James Rhodes, which he wrote on the third page of his Made in Spain (Plan B, 2021) the most insignificant and desolate “with love” that I have ever seen. The pianist feels very Spanish, but his signature could well have been made by the coldest Scandinavian north of the Viking peninsula, or by any other machine.

Nor did he have the closeness that one would have longed for Leonardo Padura, perhaps despite its Caribbean origin. Its excellent The novel of my life She received her spelling and also her education, but she was more fugitive than passionate.

Luckily, it also rocked the LWF Hector Abad Faciolince. To the author of The oblivion that we will be He was moved that the future recipient of his delicious novel was a woman who decided to change profession after 45 years of age, applying herself to start and then finish Nursing and give (that already does) her time to others. “For Marta, who is dedicated to that trade that we are so grateful for those of us who have suffered,” carefully outlined the Colombian writer and journalist.

The gratitude and humility (thank you, Hector; thank you, David), are manifested in the few seconds in which they treat their readers; without them, the authors are nobody, nor are they anything. Only that forgetfulness, the one that has been attributed to Borges, that we will all be.


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