Albert Sanchez Pinyol: ``I prefer stings of louses to sermons in favor of Vatican!``
In an early autumn Moscow were visited by Albert Sanchez Pinyol - the author of the mad best-seller - a riddle “In the exciting silence“. This book really is not similar to anything... As well as her author. The charming Catalan Pinyol is extremely emotional and convincing. In cozy club on Big Bronna it told capital journalists about life with the African pygmies, the crisis of middle age and the first novel at last translated and on Russian.
- Heroes of the novel “In the Exciting Silence“ appear alone in the closed situation of the small island. Whether there were in your life similar situations?
- you are right. I really came up against a situation when throughout a long time had to share the shelter with the only person who lived a row - the missionary. Anthropology and missionary work - absolutely incompatible things. Besides, it was absolutely intolerable person, and I was forced to suffer his day and night... Sometimes I even remained in settlements of pygmies not to see it. (smiles) It is necessary to notice that pygmies are nomads, in many respects, from - for the louses who are living in a selva and looking for human heat. Pygmies seek to move away from them, it is impossible to spend there night that you were not bitten by the whole one thousand these insects!Now you can present to
what was this missionary if I preferred stings of louses to his sermons in favor of Vatican and the Pope? (laughs)
Is valid, in the closed situation between people there can be difficult relations. One more concerning moment: that priest was Italian. And I, being small, studied at religious school which belonged to the same award, as the missionary. Therefore he set for himself the task to return me to a religion bosom. However I do not know whether from this life situation there was an idea of two characters on one beacon...
- the Subject of Antarctica repeatedly rose in literature, for example, Lafkraftom, On and other writers as the center of a certain evil... Whether the white continent is for you the embodiment of a similar image?
- When I built for myself a novel plot, my thoughts did not go in this direction. Though I perfectly understand your question. I wanted to create certain metaphorical space on the island, in anthropology it is called “anywhere“, “place“. Therefore at the beginning of the book a set of nationalities are called and there are some elements connected with the most different countries. I created as if a certain space, the general for all, but at the same time - for anybody. Generally I wanted to concentrate on this idea.
to me needed to think up some closed space which would create feeling of alarm for my characters. . It seemed that for this history it will be more correct to place them in cold coordinates, but not to send me, for example, to the island in the Caribbean Sea moreover and that the person whom the main character meets was some nice Italian. Agree, on the cold island in the company of the Austrian the atmosphere much more suffocating is created. (smiles)
the Problem arises when I have to go to Vienna to the presentation of the book in German. Because the very first question which to me is asked: “And why such bad character - the Austrian?“ My answer is very simple: when I wrote this book, I could not think that it will be translated into German. For me defining was the fact that for us, Catalans and Spaniards, German sounds very roughly and unpleasantly.
- When you read up your book up to the end, rolls feeling of a full hopelessness... And not somewhere it is far in Antarctic, and here, in our everyday life. You really such terrible pessimist also consider that between people there will never be normal relations?
- I Want to notice that I began to write this book right after the return from Congo. From there I by miracle managed to get out live, civil war began. It was not the best situation to write some optimistic history... Besides, I was under a certain pressure to change the end of this novel and to finish it “happy end“. At the level of the plot it, generally, was possible... But it seemed to me that it would reduce novel level.
Ya I think that a problem of any work - to raise questions, but not to give any ready decisions. All this not the sermon. And those who want to listen to the sermon let will visit my companion - the missionary - there they are given free of charge. (laughs)
But I agree, the novel, maybe, and not pessimistic, but comes to an end on a disturbing note. What his main idea? It consists that our enemy is very similar to ourselves. But at the same time I do not say what each person in such situation has to do. It seems to me that here the novel comes to an end, and something else begins already...
- you are an author of the book of stories who was written to this novel. Tell about your stories and their heroes. Behind them there are real people?
- I never wrote realistic stories. In the majority of all my stories there is some fantastic element. But in it the literature charm - before you a blank page also consists. We can construct any plot which we will want. When I have some thought, I think of in what genre I could tell it. Therefore I wrote both short stories, and novels, and, besides, promotional essays.
For example, I have an essay about eight African dictators. Just there my requirement to itself was not to include any invented elements. To explain what crazy scales the power can reach, it is necessary to transfer events such what they were actually, without adding anything.
One of these dictators reached that proclaimed itself the emperor, and the ceremony of crowning in accuracy repeated Napoleon`s crowning... How I can think up something that will surpass irreality of this situation? (smiles) In the history of mankind there were thousands of mad persons who proclaimed themselves Napoleonami. Why to me to add still a certain invention?to
But in “The exciting silence“, for example, to me really needed a fantastic element. Observe how the conflict between people is expressed in the speech, in language... And so, in literature quite often there are attempts to create an image of an animal in relation to the enemy. To explain that the opponent - not an animal, it is necessary to create a certain parallel mankind and to add there an element of our doubt. Because at the end of the novel we doubt what beings are: certain humanoid society or not. If war of heroes of this novel about omokhitkham which are SO far from us seems to us absurd how any war between human communities can not seem absurd?
- Batis Kaff - not really Austrian name. It creates feeling of the gun which surely has to shoot...
Well, it is long conversation... Though the novel quite short, all scenes and fragments are thought very well over. Each purpose requires the concrete means. I can only tell that all names in the novel something mean. We already spoke about this space which as if “not the place“, anywhere. And similar to me the name Batis Kaff - it not Austrian, but anybody`s is pleasant. When I spoke to the Austrians about this character, I used such explanation as a justification. (laughs)
- the Main character of the book - the fighter for independence of Ireland. Considering that the novel is written in Catalan language, it is impossible to get off feeling of a certain parallel Catalonia - Ireland...
- I understand that from the point of view of Russians of a situation of Catalonia and Ireland are very similar. But we, Catalans, represent ourselves absolutely in a different way, than Irish. For me the most important was to create the character who seeks to leave the world. This is the hero who from one island gets on another. He says that he runs from certain human contradictions. But when he arrives to this island, from the very beginning is engaged in the fact that he reproduces these contradictions. If in Ireland the hero struggled with aggressors, then having arrived to the island, he puts on himself the English uniform which he finds on a beacon, and shoots from the guns which were there even before his arrival.But then a story about how this hero tries to see something else begins
... Therefore I tried to give to the book the form of the adventure novel. However in it there are things which we can observe in our life every day.
- whether the novel in “The exciting silence“ attempt of the answer to a question is how to overcome crisis of middle age? How you endured this crisis and what you could tell that desperate which do not manage it yet? >
- In Spain it is considered p that the crisis age is the fortieth anniversary. To me already soon forty one. Crisis means I worried. (laughs)
But it was last year. And I wrote the novel to the two thousand first... Therefore for me then crisis of the fortieth anniversary seemed some far moment. But, having used your question, I will tell: in the literary critic there is an opinion that heroes of the novel are a certain extrapolation of a condition of the author.
It is natural, in this novel and in any my works there is my vision of the world, but I would like to remind you that the anthropology is the discipline wishing “to learn another“. Therefore the world is not only extrapolation of our being. The same as in anthropology we can “study another“, in literature we are free to create characters who us are not. Because differently literature would become quite limited.
- the Novel is translated into 32 languages of the world. In what countries at you the biggest circulations? Whether the offer to picturize the novel arrived?
- Yes, already bought the rights for the screen version of this work. It is the Spanish production company working in the United States...definitely I cannot tell
About circulations. But it seems to me that today the biggest circulations - in the Spanish and German languages. Because in the publishing relation in these countries the largest enterprises. Roman left at the end of 2002 in Catalonia and still is on sale. In total more than 135 thousand copies are let out. For Catalonia it is a lot of, considering that there only 5 thousand inhabitants, including chest babies and persons who on - Catalan do not speak... All Catalans of the world will go in in one Moskovsky district. Therefore for us it is huge sales level. The edition of the book in Catalan language always competes to the edition of the same book in Spanish. Just because we, Catalans, speak in two languages.
- What for you it is more difficult - to live with pygmies or to write the world best-seller?- it was more difficult than
with the missionary. When I wrote the novel, did not know yet that it will be the world best-seller. And it did not occupy me at all. But as soon as I arrived to Africa and got acquainted with the Italian - the missionary, he in five minutes got me. (laughs)
- One of the main ideas in the book - misunderstanding. How often you faced it in life?
- All of us at some moment endure misunderstanding. And the person who writes in Catalan language in the conditions of other, more powerful languages often feels misunderstood. In time a press - conferences in all countries asked me almost same question: and why you write on - Catalan? And here present that the lady - the journalist asks me it a question for the first time, but I heard it already one thousand times:“ If you can write in other language, in which gain recognition quicker - why not to be engaged in it?“ In reply I usually joke. Because it is much better to laugh, than to cry. I answer: “I write on - Catalan because I do not know Chinese“. (laughs)
When there was this book, I wanted that there was a critic who would tell: look, there is an author who writes something else... The first edition badly was on sale. And when I was called by my publisher, very sad, and told about it, I answered her: “And you what thought?“ But I have to tell that she is very good publisher and worked hard over this book. She believed that at the novel big prospects. And, despite all difficulties, gradually the book began to gain steam.
- When the novel was published how you celebrated this event?
- I celebrated... tenth edition. In Catalonia “editions“ is called circulation. I noted the tenth circulation a big holiday with friends. But it was also the vengeance holiday. Because while the book was only on Catalan, any critic on me did not pay any attention. But when there was an edition in Spanish, I was given at once an award. (smiles)
- you translated the book into Spanish?
- the Translation of the book into Spanish became its first translation into a foreign language. It was, apparently, 2003... Perhaps it will seem improbable, but by that moment I was very tired of talk on this book. Therefore it was translated by other person, and I just saw that turned out. As I know Spanish too, I changed some things there.
- What you are engaged now? What your further creative plans?
- I can tell about the project which now very much occupies me. This history has the novel form though on everything that I describe there, really happened. The novel about the five first Europeans who came into contact with pygmies in Africa. I as the anthropologist, went directly to places of their life, lifted archives and everything that was written about it earlier. I opened for myself that the first five Europeans who came into contact with pygmies were absolutely outstanding persons.
By the way, the first who appears in the world of pygmies and as if officially opens them, in 1859, comes back to the United States and writes about it the book. But it is just not trusted. Say to it that this novel - an invention. And it became history of the American literature as the author of the second category, the writer of adventure novels. Though its book is a real history.
A of people which is considered an official opener of pygmies it is the German who arrives to Africa only 10 years later. And just he tells about them stories absolutely fantastic and improbable. For example, he said that he found those pygmies about whom Homer in “Illiada“ wrote in the center of Africa. Naturally, it is full absurdity. But in the 19th century the situation in the world was such that it was believed. And even the concept “pygmies“ is that name which appears for the first time in “Illiada“.
In general, all this combination of various stories, adventures and imaginations is perfect is exclusive. As you can see, I should not think out anything because there is a documentary basis. I understood that research work is much heavier than work of the writer. To write - that can everyone, and here find all necessary in archives - it is much more difficult.
But I hope that this work will make for me sense.