"Life is about building new smiles every time you can": Gabriel Rodríguez Liceaga | Video

“You have to get closer to the readers making them laugh so that the final reflection is even harder,” says an accurate Gabriel Rodriguez Liceaga (Mexico City, 1980). The narrator knows that relationships and love itself are rough, intense and dramatic, but at the same time he knows that there are fun, complex and sometimes absurd. Much of what we read in the shadow of the planets (Random House Literature), his new novel.

The novel focuses on a couple Damiana and Santiago, she has just been fired and he has an office job, while at night he dedicates himself to writing about his love dissatisfactions. By dint of counterpointing, they exhibit his weaknesses and seem unaware of his strengths.

The best way to tell your story is through humor? Impossible to know, what is clear is that Rodríguez Liceaga does it in this tone and gets a book corrosivewhich, moreover, by the way, marks the end of a stage as a writer: “for me this novel is the farewell to youth.”

What kind of teacher gives her students a task to find out why they weren’t aborted?

A teacher who thinks in the 21st century and encourages her students to think about things differently. At some point we all wonder why we were born or what we are in the world for, I believe that these questions must be adapted to the needs of today. Of course, she is also a teacher who would be kicked out of an institution like Opus Dei, that’s what happens to Damiana, my character. The only moment where we see her being a drawing teacher is when she is fired. That is the question that drives the novel and is resolved at the end. The only time Damiana and Santiago agree on something is in the answer.

Were you always clear that the structure of the novel would be the counterpoint between Damiana and Santiago?

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It was always clear to me that he was going to be introspecting his emotional past and that she was going to go around town in an internal monologue about her grief over the fact that she can’t be a mom. She knew that her pain was going to be very similar and since they don’t talk about it, that’s what ends up separating them. One of the theses of my book is that many times we don’t realize why we are with the other, but even so, immense things unite us. In the end, only the reader is the one who realizes that they have everything to be happy. Love is very complicated.

What kind of reflections does the novel leave you in this sense?

For me the novel is a farewell to youth. I’ve been saying goodbye to a certain youthful brilliance for a while and now comes the good part, perhaps a stage of intellectual plenitude. As a 42 year old man I look for love in a very different way and in the shadow of the planets I still rehearse the melancholy for having been young. It shocks me to be at a table and everyone talks about how old you are and all that obsession with being young. The fear of aging is very inoculated in us, not for nothing in Mexico we continue to dress octagenarians like children. There is an obsession with not maturing or growing and in my almost with this novel I establish a watershed. I don’t know what I’m going to write, but surely they won’t be books with these characteristics.

Another thing that unites your characters is a bunch of unfulfilled expectations.

Exactly, I feel that there is nothing more Mexican than not being able to simply dedicate yourself to what you came to do in the world. In this environment you cannot dedicate yourself to art one hundred percent, even the same talent is synonymous with frustration. The novel, it seems to me, also shows frustration with creation, literary in this case.

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In this box cut, is there a reconsideration of why or what you write for?

No, I know that my role on Earth is to write and translate the world into the written word, I find much joy in it. I am a lucky man because my book is published by a major publisher, but the novel has already slipped out of my hands and is now in the hands of readers. Hemingway used to say that a published book is a dead lion, I am very sorry about this novel, it seems something majestic to me but it is going to rot away from my hands. From now on I have to become a better writer, prepare more and understand that literature is difficult. the shadow of the planets It makes me want to do better and better things. It’s my turn to stick my finger into the wound even deeper, so that it ends up hurting everyone. The goal of artistic creation should be to put a spotlight on what is wrong with our species.

Humor attenuates pain and we see that in the novel…

Yes, I always try to make my literature very joyful. In the end this is a book full of comedy. You have to access wisdom or crying from laughter.

What does humor bring you when dealing with your wounds?

Humor is the future. As things get more narratively inventive, you get glimpses of ways of thinking you didn’t have before. There are extraordinary comedians who, in addition to saving my life, taught me to laugh in new ways. Life is about building new smiles whenever possible.

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What comedians saved your life?

The American Eric André is fantastic and the other is a little-known Spaniard, Miguel Noguera. I mention them as influences, but it’s not like I do humor like theirs. My comedy is different. We say that everything makes us laugh and we don’t take anything seriously, but our literature is not humorous, there are very few who practice it or have practiced it, I think of Juan Pablo Villalobos, Julio Torri, Arreola or Monterroso.

Of course, I forgot the patron saint!, the master of laughter. How we need it now! I subscribe within that tradition, although I am not saying that I am already in that row. You have to approach the readers making them laugh so that the final reflection is even harder.

Something I liked about the novel is that you don’t caricature your characters, the absurd is reality.

That was the intention, we are part of a generational block that grew up without the internet or social networks. We take contemporary developments for granted, but I think it was time to write a novel about how we still aspire to love. There is nothing more important in this life than love and the search for beauty, to know oneself loving in the different facets of life.

I don’t know, I like what Alfonso Reyes says: “Only those we love shine before God.” That would justify his silence a lot, when you ask him for health or money he doesn’t hear us because we’re not in love. I like the image of God peeking out at humanity and since he only sees those who love, he says “these guys are super good.” I don’t know what love is, but in the shadow of the planets It is defined as something that we cannot visualize or conceptualize, but that we have all felt.


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