We will avoid horrible and hackneyed metaphors alluding to the most celebrated author of Latin American literature, such as “a piece of Macondo in Barcelona”, because it has nothing to do with that. Neus Castilianthe director of the Library Gabriel Garcia Marquez, says that the space has been conceived more as a service for the 55,000 inhabitants of San Martí, Verneda and La Pau, the districts closest to this architectural marvel, an irregularly shaped box covered in wood and glass, where natural light it goes through and interacts with the different rooms that seem to move, like the limbs of a living organism. “From this point,” he says, standing on the stairs that make up the internal levels, “you see people walking on two different streetsIn short, it is very transparent”, she maintains, a little more relieved after the inauguration, about a project that took more than 20 years to complete.
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That’s why they launched the program. “Kilometer America” one of the pillars of this library of exclusive dissemination of Latin American literature-that is what distinguishes it from others-so that readers reach new authors by the hand of established names. Yes, the boom, of course, but above all, a new generation of storytellers who today are surfing a wave that hasn’t stopped growing. “You are a mini boom”says Neus smiling, alluding to the editorial wink with the names that populate the shelves and the reviews of prestigious literary publications. Unlike that boom, made up exclusively of lords (led by Gabo, Mario Vargas Llosa, Carlos Fuentes, and Julio Cortazar.) this movement has the face of women with original and powerful voices. The Argentines Samantha Schweblin and Mariana Enriquez or the mexican Valeria Luselli, to name a few. “Not only happens with Latin Americans, there is the Italian Elena Ferrante or the Catalan Irene Solá, Eva Baltazar or Milena Busquets, among others. Literature should be more sensitive regarding the visualization of women as authors”, says Neus.
But is there real interest from European readers? “We have always had a benchmark, beyond the boom. already out Laura Restrepo, Isabel Allende, Laura Esquivel, Pedro Mairal or Martín Caparrós. Right now Patricio Pron or Enríquez. They have all joined. Two years ago, “La Uruguaya” by Mairal was a success in bookstores in Barcelona, they requested it in places where there were no Latin American authors”, says Neus.
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What are the Spanish looking for in our narrative? “Readers continue to come through referrals and often through advertising. There has always been a lot of editorial marketing, but word of mouth continues to work, which is why the awards given by readers end up being big surprises. With Latin American authors there is still no continuity in the reader, but there are these mini booms, that is, a true pedagogy has not been made regarding Latin Americans.
A study cycle of García Márquez
“After the summer we will begin by explaining García Márquez again-because the public is renewed after all-magical realism, and We will continue with other essential authors”, advances the director.
The first Spanish edition of One Hundred Years of Solitude with the cover in red and blue by Vicente Rojo, (the legendary first Argentine edition of Sudamericana illustrated with the galleon cost them a small fortune) is preserved in a glass case next to Colonel Buendía’s little fish ; Mauricio Babilonia’s yellow butterflies appear with the Catalan and Japanese edition and, on another shelf, are the English and Greek translations covered by the ants that carry off the last of the Buendía lineage born with a pig’s tail, the gypsy’s prophecy Melquiades. Too There are editions in Arabic, Hebrew and Korean, among the 51 translations that the novel had.
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We reserve the genesis of the library for last, which, far from magical realism, is the result of sustained planning. Whom Barcelonathe Colombian lived from 1967 to 1975 with success and glory on his shoulders, after exercising a very peculiar journalism in Bogota y Cartagena and later, almost starving to death in an apartment in Paris where he wrote The Colonel There is no one to write to him -for him, his most perfect novel- as a catharsis, sharing the illusion of the protagonist for a letter that never arrives. The success would come in Argentina, a country where El Gabo would not return after the presentation of A hundred yearsas he himself explained -and that is magical realism- so as not to break the spell of success. “There it started and there it could also leave me.”
The name of the author had been proposed since 1998, within the Barcelona public library network, when it was diagnosed that the city had a deficit of reading spaces. For this reason, a planning was carried out that lasted until the year 2010.. The project, however, was extended, despite being on paper, according to a survey, the service most valued by citizens, after the fire service.
“The original idea was for a resident of the city to have a library a 20-minute walk from his house, at the most, which is why a network was deployed that today reaches forty libraries and also forty markets. The other time he said, we feed the body and soul equally”, says Neus smiling.
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