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The poorly written novel by Daniel Ruiz: “There are people who laugh at the book and then ask themselves: ‘Why am I laughing?’ | Culture

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The writer Daniel Ruiz, portrayed on March 13 at the Las Letras hotel in Madrid.Pablo Monge

This book is poorly written. This book is tremendously poorly written. But it’s on purpose. In Mosturito (Tusquets), whose title is the word little monster poorly said, Daniel Ruiz (Seville, 1976) is about creating a particular language within which a unique world arises.

It is a mixture of children’s language with the Andalusian accent and the way of speaking of the suburban working-class neighborhoods. Because the protagonist is a boy who lives in a peripheral neighborhood of an Andalusian city in the eighties, the time and place in which the author grew up. In Mosturito There is a mixture of sleaze and humor. “There are people who tell me that they laugh at the novel and then ask themselves: ‘Why am I laughing?’” says Ruiz.

Example of that strange language: “Oh my heaven, says Tata. Oh how done. They’re going to find out from her fucking mother, and she goes to the kitchen and I tell her Tata, calm down, she’s leaving you, she’s leaving you. No, I’ll kill you, you bastard sons of bitches,” says one paragraph. So poorly written that you have to insist a lot for the word processor to reflect it without correcting it.

Orality and colloquialism have always interested the author, and have had their way in literature. The author quotes A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess, where his own language is created, but also other works where informal speech and different accents become important. For example, The bitchy life of Juanita Narboniby Ángel Vázquez, The brief life of Oscar Wao, by Junot Díaz, the work of Fernando Quiñones or Aurora Venturini. Or the successful and striking novel donkey bellyby Andrea Abreu, which recreates the deep speech of the Canary Islands.

“I wanted to propose the most radical option: that the entire novel could be built with one voice, and that the form was in the end the substance,” he says. It is about the look and voice of this child, with little respect for spelling and syntactic conventions. Pedro, Periquín, is the object of ridicule from his classmates for his physical condition and lives with his aunt, Tata, always smelling of tobacco and drinking calimocho, surrounded by the colorful characters of his neighborhood. His mother died from beatings by his father, who is now in prison. But the social services want to remove Pedro from Tata’s arms and put him in a boarding school. He Mosturito You will find liberation at the hands of a band of young teenage punks, with mohawks and colored hair, fans of litronas, smoking and arcades.

The writer Daniel Ruiz, portrayed on March 13 at the Las Letras hotel in Madrid.
The writer Daniel Ruiz, portrayed on March 13 at the Las Letras hotel in Madrid.Pablo Monge

The orality that Ruiz proposes also has its interest as a differential feature of a text in the times in which machines have begun to write, and writers have begun to tremble. “People get carried away with artificial intelligence, with the possibility of it creating novels, without realizing that we have been swallowing plots of fiction for decades. best seller that seem concocted by an algorithm. Writing manuals are a preview of AI: narrative arc, climax, anticlimax, character modeling…

Humor is fundamental in Ruiz’s work, and it is not very well considered in literature. “The truth is that seriousness is better seen in Spanish literature,” says the writer. He recounts the long comic tradition in national literature: from Lazarillo de Tormes to Cervantes, Quevedo, Valle Inclán… “There is a problem in Spanish literature: for a long time it was wildly humorous, but there came a time when it became sour, starting from certain social realism, and became too serious. That Spanish humor was lost, which often comes from sadness.”

Reactive writing

Gender violence, pedophilia in the church, child abuse, Ruiz faces many issues that, 40 years after the time of the novel, continue to worry us. “These are issues that were in my childhood, but in a different way: in a hidden way, behind closed doors, they stayed in the neighbors’ yard. It’s that culture of false discretion that was actually a culture of masking,” he says.

His writing is reactive. “I write when a situation causes me incomprehension, anger or indignation,” explains the author. Interest in social and current affairs has, in fact, been a constant in Ruiz’s work. For example, in his novel Friends forever (2021), settles scores with his generation, which is now dangerously close to 50 years old. “We are the generation postboomer, the last to occupy spaces of power and who have stopped any type of aspiration of later generations. Our parents broke their backs to build the welfare society, and we have depleted it and exhausted it for those who come. “We have aged very badly,” says the author.

In Global warming (2019) criticizes the environmental sustainability policies of companies, in Everything’s fine (2015) addresses the excesses and corruptions of the world of politics and The great wave (2016) makes a vitriolic critique of the culture of coaching business. All of them published by Tusquets.

Mosturito It is also an ode to those working-class neighborhoods of his childhood, especially in times when urban centers are the subject of gentrification and touristification. “The historic centers become papier-mâché spaces and true life is only found in the neighborhoods where the usual bars are, the parks, the shared areas, where one reconciles with a certain humanity that has been requested in the cities” , Explain. Migration has reached the neighborhoods, many young people have left, the elderly remain… “But the same atmosphere of survival remains, as in the eighties; now with Pakistani hair salons and kebab trunks.”

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