Snippet: Elvira Navarro’s “Last days of Adelaida García Morales”

megustaleer - Los últimos días de Adelaida García Morales - Elvira Navarro

Elvira Navarro, Los últimos días de Adelaida García Morales [The last days of A.G.M.], 2016, 128 p.

Publisher’s promotion/summary:

A novel that reproduces the last days of the enigmatic Spanish writer Adelaida García Morales and that reaffirms Elvira Navarro as one of the most unique voices of her generation, revitalising committed literature and a master in the field of individual psychological portrait and of social portrait.

Adelaida García Morales is one of the most mysterious figures that emerged in the culture world during the last decades. The celebrity acquired by her books El Sur [The south] (adapted by Víctor Erice into the famous movie of the same name) and El silencio de las sirenas [The sirens’ silence] made the mutism into which the author delved especially worrisome. In 2014 she died hardly acknowledged.

Los últimos días de Adelaida García Morales is the fictionalized account of the days that preceded the writer’s death. Shortly before her demise García Morales went to an official government equality office asking for 50,- EUR so that she could visit her son in Madrid. Inspired by this real anecdote, Elvira Navarro’s novel combines two stories, giving rise to an intensive and very unique narration close to a false documentary that covers topics such as parent-child relationships, the nature of creating, the treatment of women artists, the institutions’ ignorance, autodestructon and madness.

 

Los últimos días… will be published on Sept. 22, 2016, exactly two years after the death of Adelaida García Morales (1945-2014). Her last novels, published in 2001, Una historia perversa [A perverse story] and El testamento de Regina [Regina’s will] had received negative reviews and were hardly read. Navarro’s novel pretends to be plausible but not truthful as most of the narrated is fiction.

The Wikipedia article on the writer Elvira Navarro (Huelva, 1978) is only available in Spanish. She studied philosophy at Complutense University in Madrid and received a prestigious fellowship at Residencia de Estudiantes. Apart from writing novels, she also comments on literature, and she teaches creative writing. In 2010 she was considered one of the most important of young Spanish novelists by Granta magazine. Her previous novels are La ciudad en invierno [The city in winter], La ciudad feliz [The happy city] and La trabajadora [The female worker]. Reader commentators at amazon.es describe La trabajadora as very intense, haunting; a good book but not for everyone…

Update (Oct. 20, 2016):

This book has led to a fierce controversy between relatives of the presumably portrayed author García Morales, especial her former husband and a sister, and the book’s author ,Elvira Navarro. One point of criticism is that the author did not ask the family beforehand what they thought about her idea of writing this book. Another point is that the author used García Morales real name, her photograph on the cover, and appendices for her sources, making readers believe she really wrote about her, while in reality a lot of the contents of the book is pure fiction. While this is considered a legitimate practice in “autofiction”, it is difficult to defend when writing about other people. The most important point of criticism is that the episode about García Morales asking for money to be able to visit her son is ficticous, too, as García Morales lived in hard circumstances but not in utter poverty. And on this piece of fiction the whole publicity campaign was based.

SOURCE: Penguin Random House (publisher); El Cultural, Sept. 9, 2016; author blog; for the update cf. “Cultura/s”, La Vanguardia, Oct. 15, 2016, p. 10-11 [printed edition]

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