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Mariana Enriquez: “A woman’s body has its very particular fears” | Culture

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The appointment with Mariana Enriquez (Buenos Aires, 51 years old) is a few hours before the end of the long presentation tour through eight Spanish cities of her new book, A sunny place for gloomy people (Anagrama), the collection of stories with which the author of Our part at night has returned to that disturbing world of ghosts and paranormal phenomena that she manages to insert into everyday reality with genius, humor and intelligence. Enriquez’s devotees are legion. This morning she wears a t-shirt that a fan made with the image of Orpheus and she talks excitedly about the circuit off of processions in Seville (those not recognized by the archbishopric) that another of his readers took him to see. In the coming months he has talks and meetings with readers in the United States, Puerto Rico, Lithuania, Ireland, Finland, France, Greece and Norway. And she will return to Madrid and Barcelona at the end of May.

Ask. The tour posters on the streets seemed to advertise concerts rather than literary talks.. Determined to prove that writers can be rock stars?

Answer. The publisher thought about it and I accepted. There is a tradition of writers who made these tours: Oscar Wilde, García Lorca, Dickens… And before that I spent a whole year doing readings in theaters in Argentina. The show was called Don’t bring flowersand he did it with a illustrator.

P. Are you surprised by the phenomenon fandom What surrounds your literature?

R. I understand that more pop writing generates that. In my case it seems strange to me because, beyond the horror books, I have the biography of Silvina Ocampo, strange things, the entire journalism collection, the trips to cemeteries. But I don’t have any heavy fans for now, and it’s very exciting.

An image of one of the promotional posters for Mariana Enriquez’s tour, which resembles a musical tour poster.Provided by Anagrama publishing house

P. In ‘My Sad Dead’, the first story in the new book, the protagonist tells her ex-husband that “fascism begins with fear and transforms into hatred.”

R. I wrote and published it in English a year and a half ago, but the text dialogues with the present. That rightward trend conspiparanoica It comes from many years ago. There are ghosts that cannot be appeased.

P. Do you believe in ghosts?

R. No, but because I didn’t see any. They must exist. Those in the story are that social dissolution.

P. Does literature allow us to understand from another place the dynamics that tighten the rope?

R. Each author is free to write what they feel like, but it is a bit inevitable. Look Hamnet, a book about Shakespeare’s woman and that finally talks about problems of some contemporary women.

P. Is horror the best way to portray the present or is it its way?

R. It’s my way, but, as a popular genre, it has to talk about contemporary fears, otherwise it doesn’t work.

P. Is it premonitory?

R. Despite himself, yes, because he is investigating unconscious currents. Fear is an elusive sensation and when you touch it you find something that later ends up happening.

P. In the story ‘Metamorphosis’ she writes about menopause. For women, the fear is the body?

R. A woman’s body has its very particular fears. The change of climacteric is a very long stage of life. What happens with aging, how your skin feels, what happens with sex, what happens with mood swings, what happens with hot flashes, it’s a lot of things. Your body stops having the capacity to give birth, you are carrying death, it announces the end to you in a much clearer way.

P. Should we talk more about this?

R. I think so, because we are very focused on a period of motherhood and youth, and it only lasts until we are 40 years old. I also understand those who don’t want to talk, because it is a moment that has something terrifying, of mourning, that is difficult to face.

P. After the victory of Milei who cloned her dog, and has a witch to talk to that mastiff, it seems that there was some realism in her novel Our part at night.

R. Dresses? It is the second time that we have a spiritualist leader, the first was López Rega, who in his circles called himself Brother Daniel. Perón died and his secretary was left governing with Isabel Perón. I had not been born, but that was my model of politics and Argentine folkloric esotericism. And suddenly he passes back. Clearly, there is something about capturing the Argentine idiosyncrasy, but it is also very explicit: the dog, cloning, transferring a mind to another body. Although Milei is a phenomenon that was created in a pandemic, with the networks.

P. What about networks?

R. It’s a difficult time. To speak is always to submit to misunderstanding, but on the networks it is to submit to lynching. I made a post to say that speaking has this cost. I can feel some anxiety about this, but I forget it and I start thinking about the album that is about to come out.

P. What album are you waiting for?

R. I’m looking forward to three: the one with the actor and musician Caleb Landry Jones, the one with Taylor Swift and the one with Nick Cave.

P. ¿Es swifty?

R. Quite. It has lyrics that are better than stories. Your song Tolerated, I hadn’t heard that insight in years. She had Joni Mitchell, but she’s a counterculture icon and Swift is in a stadium of 70,000 people singing a subtle heartbreak song. She is elegant, she read Scott Fitzgerald and it shows.

P. ¿Y Nick Cave?

R. That’s religion. All his aesthetics, all his search for transcendence. He hates being called Gothic, but he is because he is cathedral.

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