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In the last decade,
Inés Martín Rodrigo (Madrid, 1983) has had the privilege −she understands it as well− sitting down to chat with many of the great authors of our time. For these pages, and your hand, have passed Margaret Atwood, Elena Poniatowska, Ida Vitale, Deborah Levy, Lena Dunham, or Zadie Smith, among many others. With them has talked of literature, yes, but about all of life, of their lives, of what it means to be a woman and a writer in the world of today and of yesterday. Now all of these meetings were concentrated in the book “ A shared room ” (Debate), which goes on sale today, and that invites the reader to enter in a universe that is intimate, intimísimo, that deserves to be known. Says Enrique Vila-Matas in the prologue: one turns the pages almost as a “visitor”, as an “intruder”.
—Already from the title, which retrieves the image of Virginia Woolf, it is clear that the book is a space not so much of interviews, interrogation, as a conversation.
—The idea was that, convey that it is a shared space and conversation. Each of the 31 writers who are part of this book, we have built a very own and also very different. In the end, the book is presented or read as a dialogue between the own writers in that I am a mere spectator. What I was looking for was to convey a little, this idea of intergenerational dialogue, there is also the sort them from the youngest to the oldest. So, in some way, we can see how it will evolve the personality but also the thought.
—In that sense, what differences mark the age?
—When we are young, our opinions are more vehement, we have an idea a little more pre-planned things, and as we mature, fulfilling years, we realize that saying Gil de Biedma, that life is serious, and then we have a few opinions filtered by the passage of time and therefore less fickle, more restful.
—The variety of voices that parade through the book makes it clear that feminism is far from monolithic.
—I really like that two rivals faced throughout his life, enemy acérrimas, intimate, as are Camille Paglia and Gloria Steinem, are in the same workbook. Because somehow that makes you can dialogue in a way that had not been able to talk ever… I think they all have very clear what is feminism, that is the claim of the equality of rights between men and women, for a lot of that over the past few years has attempted to distort its meaning. And on that basis a very important lesson that is taken out of the book is that feminism has many forms, and also that not everything is white or black.
—The blessed shades.
—we are increasingly installed, for everything that is happening, and not just for the past three months, in an atmosphere that everything has to be white or black, in that polarity, or you’re with me or you’re against me, and this book allows you to realize that where is best to live is in the nuances, and that life is full of gray and it is in those gray in that probably, if there is any truth, it will be there.
—it Seems that, in the end, all these conversations sum up what it means to be a woman in this world.
—of Course, and being a woman writer. That is to say, despite the fact that all have managed to make a gap in the literature, in culture, all it has cost them an effort, and that effort would not have been the same if they had been men. Many of them are mothers, many of them give their children the breakfast, bring them to school, and then in addition have their life as writers. And that makes marvel even more.
—Le reboto a question he did to Carmen Maria Machado: why is it so difficult for society to understand the universe emotional women?
—She gives a response a little vehement, “because society doesn’t matter”, and I don’t think you get to the end, but it is obvious that their universes are different emotional. The men and women we share so many things, and there is that necessity of equality, but it is obvious that the universes are emotional, they are different.
—Can the literature help to empathize, to understand those universes are intimate who are different from our own?
—I think that has to have that power. For me any book that does not generate empathy, has lost its value.
—By the way, what do you think of the label of literature feminist?
—I hate it. I do not like anything the labels and literature of the female, or literature black, nor a police… literature is literature, and point. I don’t think that you have more books for a reader-female reader male. If we speak of literature, of what it is to tell a story, and that story interests the reader. It doesn’t matter who write it and what to try.
—In this shared room are almost all the major reference female of the current literature. Is there any interview with him to resist?
—Joan Didion. Would have to be in the book and is not. If there is any possibility for remote it… Hopefully, for me it would be a dream.
—And if you could resurrect an author to have a conversation, who would you choose?
—Susan Sontag. I would like to know more. When you read the books of the writers you most admire, somehow you have the feeling to know them. And those preconceived ideas that I have created while reading these books I have come down (laughs).
—For better, or for worse?
—There is everything, there is everything, but I believe that human beings are potentially disappointing. And when you get close to someone is more likely to disappoint to surprise you. Although there is everything. One of the talks most beautiful that there is in the book is Anne Tyler, it was a miracle almost because she does not give interviews, almost never, and I went with the preconceived idea that it was going to be very dry, that was going to cost me a lot of work to talk to her, approach her, and yet it opened. And we ended up talking about something as personal as alzheimer’s disease because of his mother, and the fear that she had to suffer from it. However, the Jeanette Winterson, a writer who I admire very much, is one of the interviews that strange taste in the mouth left me, because she is very dry, and somehow I realized during that conversation that he was on the defensive, and I have the feeling that I couldn’t break that barrier.