A big success can be very confusing if it comes too early in your life. When you are young, you are more vulnerable to vanity. I was 36 when I wrote The Shadow of the Wind and the success of it was very gradual. If you have this kind of success straight off, I think there is a danger you can become an idiot, because you don't have a perspective. It hasn't changed me a lot. I fly first class now. But those things don't change you. If I am pretentious, I was before, I haven't changed. The only thing... Read more »
...until that moment I had not understood that this was a story about lonely people, about absence and loss, and that that was why I had taken refuge in it until it became confused with my own life, like someone who has escaped into the pages of a novel because those whom he needs to love seem nothing more than ghosts inhabiting the mind of a stranger.
That afternoon the sky was scattered with black clouds galloping in from the sea and clustering over the city. Flashes of lightening echoed on the horizon and a charged warm wind smelling of dust announced a powerful summer storm. When I reached the station I noticed the first few drops, shiny and heavy, like coins falling from heaven...Night seemed to fall suddenly, interrupted only by the lightning now bursting over the city, leaving a trail of noise and fury.
The teachers tried everything, even pleading, but Tomas was in the habit of addressing them only in Latin, a language he spoke with papal fluency and in which he did not stammer. Sooner or later they all resigned in despair, fearing he might be possessed: he might be spouting demonic instructions in Aramaic at them, for all they knew.
Bea says that the art of reading is slowly dying, that it's an intimate ritual, that a book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us, that when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind, and great readers are becoming more scarce by the day.
Normal people bring children into the world; we novelists bring books. We are condemned to put our whole lives into them, even though they hardly ever thank us for it. We are condemned to die in their pages and sometimes even to let our books be the ones who, in the end, will take our lives.
Not evil. Moronic, which isn't quite the same thing. Evil presupposes a moral decision, intention, and some forethought. A moron or a lout, however, doesn't stop to think or reason. He acts on instinct, like a stable animal, convinced he's doing good, that he's always right, and sanctimoniously proud to go around f***ing up ... anyone he perceives to be different from himself, be it because of skin color, creed, language, nationality, or ... leisure habits. What the world needs is more thoroughly evil people and fewer borderline pigheads.
I was very bored at school. I found it very easy and slow and grey. My teachers didn't really know how to handle me, because I was very sarcastic. I was over-confident, arrogant, a typical youngest child. I went through periods of withdrawing into myself and school psychologists tried to figure me out, work out why I didn't fit in. I found that irritating, too.
It is part of our nature to survive. Faith is an instinctive response to aspects of existence that we cannot explain by any other means - be it the moral void we perceive in the universe, the certainty of death, the mystery of the origin of things, the meaning of our own lives or the absence of meaning.
I see cities as organisms, as living creatures. To me Madrid is a man and Barcelona is a woman. And it's a woman who's extremely vain. One of the great Catalan poets, Joan Maragall, wrote this famous poem in which he called Barcelona the great enchantress, or some kind of sorceress, and in which the city has this dark enticing presence that seduces and lures people. I think Barcelona has a lot of that.
All interpretation or observation of reality is necessarily fiction. In this case, the problem is that man is a moral animal abandoned in an amoral universe and condemned to a finite existence with no other purpose than to perpetuate the natural cycle of the species. It is impossible to survive in a prolonged state of reality, at least for a human being. We spend a good part of our lives dreaming, especially when we're awake.
Life had taught her that we all require big and small lies in order to survive, just as much as we need air. She used to say that if during one single day, from dawn to dusk, we could see the naked reality of the world, and of ourselves, we would either take our own lives or lose our minds.
In fact I don't think of literature, or music, or any art form as having a nationality. Where you're born is simply an accident of fate. I don't see why I shouldn't be more interested in say, Dickens, than in an author from Barcelona simply because I wasn't born in the UK. I do not have an ethno-centric view of things, much less of literature. Books hold no passports. There's only one true literary tradition: the human.
I was secretly convinced that with such a marvel one would be able to write anything, from novels to encyclopedias, and letters whose supernatural power would surpass any postal limitations--a letter written with that pen would reach the most remote corners of the world, even that unknowable place to which my father said my mother had gone and from where she would never return.
He didn't know whether we created God in our own image or whether God created us without quite knowing what he was doing. He believed that God, or whatever brought us here, lives in each of our deeds, in each of our words, and manifests himself in all those things that show us to be more than mere figures of clay.
The thing is that my first novel, which was basically a mystery adventure story, won quite an important award in Spain for young adult fiction, and because of this it became a very successful book, and right now it's some sort of a standard title, it's read widely in many high schools in Spain, so I think, in a way, I was a victim of my own success in the field of young adult fiction, because it was never my own natural register. I never intended to write that kind of fiction, but I became very successful at it.
I wondered what on earth she saw in me that could make her want to befriend me, other than a pale reflection of herself, an echo of solitude and loss. In my ..reveries, we were always two fugitives riding on the spine of a book, eager to escape into worlds of fiction and second hand dreams