viernes, 9 de diciembre de 2016

Two centuries of lost advances

“Blood of partisan” is Alain Martin Molina’s fifth book, based on an obscure Carlist figure

“Blood of partisan” is the fifth book of the young Santurtzian writer Alain Martin Molina, published by the Almud editorial. The novel was presented in the Tower House of Santurtzi alongside the mayor Aintzane Urkijo and writer Pablo Zapata, who was Alain’s teacher in school. “Authors like you and local artists will always be helped and welcomed”, announces Urkijo, “thank you for remembering your town”. The book was previously presented in Madrid, but Alain’s people are in Santurtzi and filled the room during the presentation.

Pablo Zapata, who helped creating a net of libraries, feels honored that a former student invited him instead of forgetting. The teacher stands up to speak and describes Alain’s career, who has published five books, articles in magazines and won prizes for tales with 36 years. Zapata says the novel is physically an “exquisite work that feels good” to explain nobody should ask Alain for free books “because they don’t grow in a tree”. The best thing that can be said about a novel is want to continue reading after the first chapter, which happened to Zapata twenty days before the presentation.

The background of the novel has two centuries of lost advances after “the two Spains” with intellectuals exiling for the Inquisition and Don Carlos. All of it because problems with Isabel II’s heritage, who couldn’t reign for being a woman. Spain became the country of late fruits and Fernando VII was, in Zapata’s words, “the worst that happened to the kingdom” for massacring the Constitution and jews who didn’t escape.

Spain is always losing brains

Pablo Zapata doesn’t want to speak for more than seven minutes because he has taken part in book presentations of one hour about nothing. Culture didn’t return to Spain until 1875 for the intellectuals made in Europe. He synthesizes that Spain has always lost its “illustrious and brilliant minds” for some reason or another. History repeated itself with 80% of intellectuals dying or exiling for the Spanish Civil War and the cultural “brain drain”.

“Nobody knows about the war because don’t read books or just by the winners”, elaborates Zapata, “foreign writers are more objective”. Before returning the word to Alain Martin Molina, he concludes that Spain “reads with the Index as censorship”. Half of Spanish homes don’t receive books or newspapers and engineers still vote “even if they only know about Engineering”.

Working on “Blood of partisan”, Alain noticed that Carlists from the south of Madrid were unknown in the popular Spanish culture. So he converted into a character “some guy called Palillos”, who appeared in some lacking documents and war reports since 1833. Alain realized it was the Carlist he needed and that would use fiction to “fill the holes of History”.

How the novel was made

Alain Martin Molina mimics Pablo Zapata standing up and joking that his speech was the reason he was invited to the presentation. “Blood of partisan” was started to be written in January 2015. Alain’s bibliography includes “The search for Yannick”, “The past was a war” and “A road to Santurtzi”, which was also based on the Castilian past, but the Spanish Civil War instead of Carlism. That interested a married couple of lawyers who suggested the next novel to be about Carlism at the south of Madrid, there was just one book about that.

The research started and Alain found the Salian Law, which didn’t let the baby Isabel II to rule and half of Spain demanded for Fernando VII’s brother Don Carlos to inherit the throne. It resulted in a seven-year war with an ideological and social background that even today is still relevant.

Palillos almost changed the present because reunited seven thousands of Carlists kilometers away from their origin door to door. The government realized that Madrid could be surrounded if Palillos attacked from the south and Tomas de Zumalacarregui from the north. It didn’t happen like that because the south had a system of guerrillas and sabotages to Isabelline troops.

Carlists defended Conservatism, so every place with regional codes of laws or “fueros” reunited against Isabel II and Canovas del Castillo punished them deleting them after the last war in 1876. Just fifteen years later, the National Basque Party (PNV) was formed to “return an identity lost with a war”.

Carlism still exists nowadays

Alain Martin Molina visited the Carlist Museum of Estella, which he calls illustrative for showing the ideology has been inherited. There are still Carlists asking for Don Carlos’s descendant being put into the throne, especially because the Spanish Constitution has to be changed because Felipe VI’s descendants are female.

“Blood of partisan” does the same transition from an historical past to current times because Carlists are defeated and stay in a secondary and obscure plane. The novel isn’t described as typical historic fiction because it has action, love and politics in a seven-year war period. Winners had statues and well-known names, while people who could change the present fall into obscurity.

On the other hand, losers disappear or they pass to History as “the symbol of evil”. That’s why the biggest task of writing historical fiction is not being historian and using misleading sources. Alain defines History as “the basis of the plot”, but the book isn’t a historic manual because he used fiction to fill the gaps.

A teacher in the audience says that Alain’s eyes shine when he talks about History. She describes the novel as experimental for showing the image of women as they were put into History, in the shadow of an important man. The wife of Palillos is a protagonist who helps the hero not to be cruel.

Contriving for the mind

Pablo Zapata states that Alain Martin Molina has “blood of writer” because, “unlike the poet who’s born like that”, he’s making himself. Nine years have passed since his first novel “The search for Yannick” and nowadays he doesn’t like it. He tries to capture a personal growth in literature trough anecdotes, trips and paternity. Zapata reminds that the best writers are above sixty years, he jokes “Alain is still with the feeding bottle”.

“Editorial processes are eternal”, expresses Alain, “and they commit mistakes even if they reread”. That’s why he wants to relax before trying to write his next book. Zapata adverts that good writers have to delete plenty of content and that he also cannot read his older works for embarrassment. Alain states that he doesn’t try to make a living trough books and his grandfather bookends “nothing is better for the human mind that contriving”.

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