Elisa Victoria (Seville, 36 years old) arrives early in the morning at a coffee shop in her city, asks for a coffee and mixes it a bit. He comes from the Sierra de Huelva, where he now lives after escaping from an expensive apartment without a balcony in confined Madrid in April. On the table is The gospel (Blackie Books), his new novel. In 2019 he impressed with Vozdevieja, a book that functioned as a kick in the door for this writer, first, to meet that serious euphemism called “general public” and, second, to undertake a complex, crude and sensitive novel that she has titled, half seriously and half joking, The gospel. In its pages, Lali, a young woman who is going to do a teaching practice, forgets to take the instance and ends up in a school for nuns. From the first sentence, when Lali tells that as her birthday approaches, she looks at the products that are going to expire in the refrigerator, the story begins to roll like a ball of fire.
P. The gospel.
R. I have conceived it since 2013, but then I was not sure how to approach it.
When I stopped believing in the Magi I made an effort to believe in God because I missed having faith in something; it didn’t work
P. What was missing?
R. Stop being young. I was 28 years old and I wanted to write about someone in my 20s, I needed more perspective. At 34 I had it. Last year I put on iron and wrote hard for a long time. I was in the mountains with an extreme routine, of many hours a day.
P. The world was collapsing and you wrote The gospel.
R. He didn’t watch the news, he never lost track of what he wrote. That saved me a bit.
R. It is at the origin of the book, when he did not know if he was going to reach port. It seemed risky and symbolic to me. My intention is for you to keep that it made sense but you don’t really know why.
Read the criticism in Babelia of “Vozdevieja”, the novel with which the author broke in 2019
P. That’s okay because each reader is a universe.
R. Do you know the expression “I don’t know who has spoken the gospel”? Here too much is said “The vagelio”. The vagelio It is in Sevillian, and to curl it it is like “the vagelios”. It makes me very funny to think that I have “spoken the gospel”, that I have written it.
P. Lali, the protagonist, and you.
R. We have in common the feeling of strangeness of youth and many experiences that have to do with teaching, with children.
P. And the relationship with God?
R. When I stopped believing in the Magi I made an effort to believe in God because I missed having faith in something; it didn’t work.
P. And now who do you ask?
R. There is a stream that I ask to do well. I ask him: “You flow a lot, you know a lot about fluidity; Please, tell me a little about yours ”.
P. Is Lali’s redemption saving at least one child?
It is easier to give dignity to childhood than to youth
R. Saving those children is not possible, it is not in her hands, because the world is what it is and she cannot take those children and take them anywhere; as he says: “If I took them to a cabin, it wouldn’t work either.” But he does have a lot of respect for those creatures that have come to this world, which is not a comfortable or soft world.
P. In the end, what we’re all looking for is to make life a little easier for us?
R. Her great ambition is to make life a little warmer for those children. On a day-to-day basis, because that absolute happiness to which many parents aspire (“what do you want your son to be?”, “I don’t care, let him be happy”) is very difficult. You can be happy in small moments but normally no one is totally happy for long.
P. Did it cost you to detach yourself from the voice of Vozdevieja?
R. It is easy for the representation of youth to make me a bit embarrassed, because these are years that are often represented in a way I don’t know if bucolic or very “oh, how handsome we are, how good we had a good time.” I neither identify myself with that representation nor do I find it the most interesting. I think it was easier to give dignity to childhood than to give dignity to youth. And I rehearsed a lot what the voice of this character was like. That she was bewildered but that she also had that spark of clumsiness, that great longing, that intensity of living things.
P. Lali is suddenly seen teaching at a school for nuns. Something that I neither expected nor desired. Did you ever feel on a stage that was not yours?
R. I have never felt on my stage, but I did hope that there would be a youth inauguration. Un: “Come on, childhood and adolescence have been swampy ground, adapting to everything, and there will come a time when I will have my definitive body.” Which is an absurd idea, because the body is never final.
P. When you are a child, you are not thinking about the relationship you have with your body, are you?
R. Because you feel it very ephemeral and you are always longing for the adult body to arrive, to know what it is like; I at least remember it that way.
P. His childhood.
Children want to get on a higher swing every time
R. In sevilla. We moved many times. It was quite terrifying for me to come into existence, I had great hope that when I grew up the terror would pass but it did not pass.
R. Between Akira and Dragon ball, Akira. In Dragon Ball there are a lot of risky jokes and stuff, but Akira It was a topic much darker and more serious: it was like “oh, this is what moves me the most, what attracts me the most”.
P. Its protagonists have one foot in a world they leave behind.
R. I am interested in the periods of transit, how one adjusts to new situations, how one changes and how the environment changes, what are the conflicts that arise. I am not aware when I write, but it is there.
P. He studied Teaching and Philosophy combining them with jobs in a Telepizza and in a McDonalds.
R. I was an irregular student, I just barely finished my degrees. And I really appreciate having been to those fast food places – I’ve learned a ton about the human condition.
P. And a clerk in a clothing store.
R. You learn a lot by observing the staff, and also seeing how you are perceived by them. Many people treat you like some kind of robot and don’t wonder how it feels to be working on a Saturday night; you are on your Saturday, and I have my fucked up Saturday to be here putting on the pizza, and they pay me very little, and on top of that you are not treating me with much politeness. All those things sharpen your eyes.
I will not write more smoothly when intuition or the body asks me for another style just because my mother does not bother
P. And that destructive slogan, the customer is always right.
R. There are good services and bad services, but bad services almost always have a reason behind them. If you are benevolent and understanding of that kind of service, you are almost always right; almost always employees have had a shitty day, almost always are saturated or have had any kind of accident. Sometimes they have a manager who is whipping them from the first hour, or who is not treating them well behind the bar, and it is not easy to arrive with a smile. And there are also many clients who are very hard on you and that is undermining you. You always have to be very friendly, you have to always be the favorite customer, you have to try that.
P. Vozdevieja It was important.
R. There was a big jump, yes.
P. But The gospel it is something else. More ambitious?
R. Vozdevieja perhaps it is more marginal than this, because childhood is a period that is separated from the official. The girl protagonist asks herself from the outside: “What will it be like? I imagine this and this ”. Here is an adult character who is within the system and his reflections are much more complex and harsh, his type of thinking is more intricate, and the stories more convoluted. Children want to get on a higher swing every time.
P. Those who write with everything, like you, often have conflicts with the real world. Because they loot it without asking.
R. Sometimes there are those who think they recognize themselves and you weren’t thinking that way; sometimes it’s clear, like when I portrayed my grandmother in Vozdevieja: for my mother it was very evident. My writing is very risky on some subjects. I know that my mother does not find it easy to read some passages that are rough; she’s used to it by now and generally appreciates it. It is literature, it is not personal. I am not going to write softer when intuition or the body asks me for another style just so that my mother does not bother, it is not a sufficient reason. So i shoot palante. If he fucks, he fucks like that and these are the details; If you go to the bathroom, this is how it affects you. Sometimes it is a little crude.