“When I open a book I hope to find wisdom,” says María Lobo

“When I open a book I hope to find wisdom,” says María Lobo
“When I open a book I hope to find wisdom,” says María Lobo

The writer is preparing to publish her fourth novel: “Ciudad, 1951”. La tucumana was already awarded for her previous books. Her admiration for Truman Capote: “she has that thing of wonder, which makes writing dazzling.”

“I am interested in a book that is well written; “That is the wonder that the writer does with a blank page,” summarizes María Lobo, who has published three novels: “El interior exterior”, “Los planes” and “San Miguel” (finalist for the Sara Gallardo National Novel Prize 2023). ), and the short story collections “Santiago” and “A small militant of the PO.”

His latest novel, “Ciudad, 1951” has been awarded the 2022 National Fund for the Arts Novel Prize and will be published next June by the Tusquets label. In this meeting of our “Reading Appointments” we tour the bookstore to talk about what we are passionate about: books.

Verne, current

What was the first book that came into your hands and that you devoured? María remembers that it was “A 15-Year-Old Captain” by Jules Verne, which belonged to a collection published by the magazine Billiken. She even highlights that many years later, in some rereadings, she found in the text an endless number of topics that interested her to work on with her students at the university or in her workshops.

“It is full of those themes that interest me in critical terms: the encounter between two cultures, what happens with the relationship between the dominant classes…”, he analyzes. These are some of those topics that Verne’s adventure raises and that have not lost validity.

The relationship with the book and reading is so personal that in this cycle we have set out to know some small details that make up the reader’s profile.

The library: that space that condenses a life of reading is one of them. And what does María’s library have? “There are several libraries because I live in an apartment and I have one there that, we could say, is the most operational. And in my weekend house it is more… the one for enjoyment (laughs) that is arranged in strict alphabetical order and that also has rehearsals. And there is also my husband’s, who is into film and photography, which also has a special place,” she reveals.

When recommending three books: María shares “Complete Stories” by Truman Capote (1924-1984) and makes a reservation: “it is a mistake to start reading Capote with ‘In Cold Blood’.” The writer considers that the real Truman (“or at least the one that interests me”) is not there, but in these stories or in those unclassifiable stories from “Music for Chameleons.” “It has that question of wonder, which makes writing something dazzling,” she maintains. She also assures that, far from that snob image that rubs shoulders with New York high society, in her stories there is a lot of tenderness and “characters that hug you.”

His second recommendation is the latest novel by Englishman Julian Barnes, “Elizabeth Finch”, who once again demonstrates “enormous power” when writing a story. It is about a teacher who, when she dies, one of her former students, as a tribute to her, begins to rebuild her life. “I think I could have been friends in real life with that teacher,” Maria jokes.

And the third is “Phoenix”, a book of stories written by the Argentine Eduardo Muslip that take place in the desert. “I connect it and think about our Tucumanidad and the problematization that people have with the territory,” explains María.

-How would you complete the phrase “books are for the reader….”?

– What a painting, a photograph or a film is for a sensitive soul.

-What do you expect from a book when you open it?

-I would distinguish two types of books, the type that I recommended, I hope for wisdom, but not in the sense of knowing things, but of not knowing them and asking myself many questions. In a second group of books, which are those by authors that I am not interested in, such as public figures or that touch on topics from perspectives different from mine, I hope to be able to get closer to those authors and I also hope for wisdom to be able to have new ideas, rethink or discuss .

The phrase

A classic question in the cycle is when we ask our guest to search their memory for a phrase that has impacted them and that they cannot forget. María chooses the beginning of the novel by Italo Calvino, “If a traveler is on a winter night.” The novelist argues: “I think it has one of the most challenging beginnings in literature. I don’t know if it’s exactly like that, but she says: ‘you’re about to read Italo Calvino’s latest novel, sit back, relax, let the world around you disappear into the indefinite.’”

If you want to see the complete note to the writer you can do so on the LA GACETA YouTube channel. There you will find this and all our “Reading Quotes”.

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