Remake, the obsession with the past and onomastics

Faced with the cancellation of the future, we can only turn to the past. This is the thesis of “Remake” (Aristas Martínez, 2020), the recent novel by Bruno Galindo, whose characters navigate through melancholy and thrown into “the obsession of onomastics”.

Bruno Galindo (Buenos Aires, 1968) is a writer, cultural journalist, poet, producer and music critic, living in Spain since his childhood, who is visiting Mexico, invited by Fundación Telefónica Movistar, to participate in the International Book Fair Guadalajara and in other forums, whose theme revolves around “rethinking tomorrow.”

Galindo agrees to chat with El Economista from Madrid, prior to his presentation this Friday at FIL Guadalajara, about his novel and how he sees the future of literature.

“’Remake’ is an essay novel that captures a feeling of nostalgia for the past. Where that feeling is like the central character -he says-. The characters live in a cultural melancholy, they go to exhibitions about the copy, about the remake, where everything revolves around spontaneous historical exhibitions made by groups of retired people, known as ‘renagmants’, who know everything about the Battle of Waterloo, for example, and they go on weekends, characterized, to recreate the battle. They live in the world of onomastics ”, he sums up.

Bruno explains: “Suddenly everything became ‘a long time ago’ that…”, and we begin to see how people recall past events on their social networks.

“Every day is an anniversary of something: David Bowie’s album, such a premiere, it’s been so long since Freddie Mercury died or this book came out … and we begin to live more and more within it.”

Remake appeared just before the pandemic was declared, at the beginning of 2020, “and although nothing is perceived in the novel that could anticipate it, many of the pandemic habits have proved this thesis right: as we could not go out, we could not We could travel, or project the future, we have had to dust off our past, and this has been seen a lot on social networks, we have cultivated onomastics as a new literary or journalistic genre ”, he points out.

Author of more than a dozen works, Galindo has been a privileged observer and narrator of the advent of the third millennium, both of what we expected to come and did not come or, at least has not happened, and of the changes that are transforming the world. world and its societies.

Remember that from the first year, the millennium was bellicose and discouraging, citing for example the attack on the twin towers in New York, the financial crash of 2008, equivalent to the crisis of 1929, and now the plague of Covid-19 . And in this context of a bleak future the feeling of unease and melancholy arises, because we do not see an encouraging future, changes give us vertigo, or we do not understand the world we are living, he explains.

“From this hypothesis, subjectively real, a plot is created where the characters navigate with the melancholy of looking back. There is a whole myriad, a constellation of things or daily events that manifest themselves in the form of recreation, remake, culturally, of onomastic repetitions, with all that I wanted to make a novel, and then all these characters that navigate in those Waters, they apply this whole world of onomastics to a relation of their own events ”.

Sneak peek without spoiler

Bruno Galindo, as an all-terrain writer, is also a screenwriter and takes us to the world of cinema, “which is the world of recreation and fantasy”, to introduce us to a powerful film producer, whose films no longer excite as they used to or achieve the desired box office , who decides to celebrate his birthday by having a “Renagmant Birthday”, a kind of party of memories, and to recreate all the milestones of his life throughout the night, decade by decade.

In such a way that this character pays for a party in which there are several rooms, in his large mansion, and in each room there is a sign that indicates the year that corresponds to what he wants to recreate. There is a DJ playing certain music and people dressed in a certain way.

“So in the novel you have characters who begin to repeat in great detail things from their past, in a kind of strange, dystopian and perverse satisfaction. In other words, desperately repeating to feel that they are alive because that is the only thing left for them ”.

Are we condemned to impossible happiness?

Bruno reflects that this existential anchor with the past may be due to dissatisfaction, to the confusion generated by having filled our lives with things that were supposed to be essential for us, that were going to make our lives better, we were going to fill ourselves with gadgets upgradeable, but they have finally made us more isolated, more vulnerable, colder, and with a fairly compromised mental health.

“There is a disease of the soul and there was one before the pandemic, I would also like to clarify that this melancholy that we have is human and makes us human, and I do not think we should take the whip and lash ourselves.”

I remind him that although Joaquín Sabina says that ‘to the place where you have been happy you should not try to return’, we always return, because many of us grew up with the idea that happiness is unattainable, that no one can be totally happy all the time, and then we become collectors of happy moments, and we do everything in our power to treasure them or return to them in some way. But there are also moments of epiphany, of shock, as the philosophers say, or moments of grace that we know are unrepeatable, but that we cling to and want to recreate at all costs.

Bruno listens patiently to my spiel, and after a thoughtful pause he replies: “And see to what extent, that we are willing to go not only where we were happy but where our ancestors were happy,” he says. We are made of repetition. A traumatic repetition in the best of senses, like a sacred fire that we always want to return to, like Ithaca, like childhood “.

And he adds that we all seek to be happy and that there is a part of happiness that is in reencountering the people and events that have made us happy.

“We like to meet again with the same things, it is human, it is beautiful, for example when we return to a city where we were happy, when we go to the house of a relative who prepared such a meal for us, when we see a friend again, etc., there are something in repetition and melancholy that is part of how human we are ”.

The eternal return?

Remake’s thesis reminds me of Nietzsche’s eternal return. I tell him, and he confirms that “Remake is a story about the eternal return”, although … “It would have to be a very privileged person who decided to repeat his entire life as it was, because we all have terrible events, there are always scars, And precisely those scars is where one returns to fix it, ‘this time it will, this time it will not happen to me’, and it turns out that sometimes it can and that is a great gift of life.

-Do you give that opportunity to the characters in your novel?

Ah, yes of course! There are characters who are condemned to melancholy, there are others who find redemption and there are others who finance a magnificent repetition. There are even characters who finance the reconstruction of his life with arrangements that he did not like, such as the film producer. It is a post-capitalist trompe l’oeil that the novel has at a certain moment. But in the end life usually gives truce or you have to try to give it up ”.

The future of literature

Bruno Galindo knows about literature. In addition to being an author, he has been a contributor to newspapers such as El País, El Mundo and La Vanguardia and in Rolling Stone magazine, and from his vast experience he believes that literature now finds itself with an enemy that it did not have, which is the loss of attention .

“Maybe your book is a novel that you have been writing for years, but the reader wonders, does it give me answers? Does it narrate what is happening to me? Does it narrate what I see? Does it represent me? Does it help to decode the signals around me? And even so, mind you, there are still great successes in the younger audience, although also, now the younger audience has books, but they also have Tik Tok, they have social networks and they also have big problems at work and to go away from home. His parents”.

“We say that people do not read and that books are in crisis, and that is true in a way, but literature is also evolving into orality, there are many stories in search of a format, now the stories are in the audiobook, in the audiovisuals, in the podcast, there are stories everywhere. Not a day goes by without us stopping to listen to a story across multiple platforms. “

“So there is a crisis and there isn’t. Books no longer have the same pull, but the same thing happens to information, we have left the logic of the press, radio and television triangle, as exclusive vehicles for the narration of the world, and now that, which continues to exist, is amplified and conveyed by social networks and all online and auditory platforms.

Faced with the pessimists or skeptics who have been singing funerals for the physical book for years, he considers that it continues to have its “totemic role” and “for people it is still as important as having a child or planting a tree, and the pandemic proved it, although that may or may not be temporary, at this moment I would speak of the book as a living and powerful object ”.

On the other hand, he declares that the book should not be saved, “it is already saved, the Library of Alexandria exists. And the knowledge is stored, what happens is that the knowledge is stored between everything else, between all the noise, all the garbage and all the distortion, but it is. “

Bruno refers to the new generations of readers whom he will surely meet this Friday, December 3 at 6 in the afternoon, in Room A of the international area of ​​FIL Guadalajara, to present a preview of the Telos magazine, in whose issue 18 collaborates.

“I would not be surprised if an unexpected cultural renaissance was suddenly experienced, in the manner of the Italian Cinquecento, because the new generations are acting forcefully regarding what world they want to have. And they want to live in a much better world than the one we have had. The talent of the new generations is spectacular in every way, there is a barbaric renewal, and I think that despite the fatality we are living a time of social and cultural renewal, I would almost tell you that at the height of the 60s (20th century) , there is a change in mentality and sensitivity regarding sexuality, gender, the environment, the relationship between people and with animals, I see that with optimism ”.

And he concludes: “One can choose between optimism and pessimism, between depression or enthusiasm, I think that today the world is more disturbing, it is more uncomfortable, but the game continues and it is interesting. I try to measure up, I try to understand it and not die an idiot. “

To know more:

  • Bruno Galindo will also talk with Daniela Franco at the Casa del Lago, UNAM, on December 10 at 5 in the afternoon.

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