“A and B presented themselves to me one day and I almost limited myself to acting as a copyist or amanuensis”

Mariano Gistaín Vidal (Barbastro, 1958) has been one of the most original voices in the Spanish press for 40 years. Blasillo de Huesca Prize, awarded by the Huesca Digital Journalism Congress, and Special Jury Prize for ‘Arts & Letters’, awarded by Heraldo, signs his columns on the back cover of these pages and in ’20 minutes’, in addition to being Regular contributor to the magazine ‘Letras Libres’. In addition to his status as a journalist, he is also a fiction writer with titles such as ‘The dust of the century’, ‘The bad conscience’ or ‘Looking for a happy person who wants to die’. She recently presented her book of stories ‘Rare Families’ (Altoaragonese Studies Institute) and yesterday, at the Aragón Library, with the participation of the journalist Eva Hinojosa, the actress Encarni Corrales, her editor Rafa Yuste and the signer, she was the release of another peculiar, mestizo book, a theatrical dialogue that admits different readings: ‘Nobody and Nothing’ (Prames). Encarni Corrales and Eva Hinojosa gave a fun reading of the text and received numerous applause, starting with the author himself, who explained his novel in this way.

How did this flood of intuitions that is your new book come about, how did it develop?

I could pretend that ‘Nobody and Nothing’ was planned or that it obeys a plan but the truth is that it came about that way. I don’t know exactly how it was. The summer of 2021 in Laluenga, Huesca, I start writing and these two characters emerge, A and B, who don’t know who they are or where they came from. To make things even more confusing, when they greet each other they see that they are interchangeable… If this transubstantiation is accepted, the rest is already logical and natural.

Why the theatrical form?

It was not deliberate, and in fact it is a dialogue but it is not a play. I was looking forward to seeing how it is read and represented by Encarni Corrales and Eva Hinojosa. That was the best of all. How much I have laughed, how much we have all laughed. And also in ‘The Tower of Babel’, Ana Segura’s Aragón Radio program, they read some fragments. It is true that at the time of writing it she had a certain urgency and the dialogue seemed more appropriate… or the only thing possible.

Is it again a book about identity or what you call “the outpouring of memories”?

There is a section in which they talk about this omnipresent enigma but I don’t know if they make anything clear or if they limit themselves to pecking like chickens and jumping from one topic to another; Perhaps they unintentionally reproduce this rapid and intermittent consciousness that we enjoy and suffer with cell phones and other gadgets and about which we complain perhaps because we cannot live without it. A and B have no memories either, although suddenly they get effluvia or fragments and they wonder if someone or something is inserting them…

“As algorithms and AI advance, it is inevitable to think that someone, perhaps ourselves in another phase, has programmed this mess that, moreover, it must be admitted is very entertaining: you never know what is going to happen”

Encarni Corrales and Eva Hinojosa were involved in their interpretation of the book and in the dramatization of various fragments. They caused continuous laughter.
Toni Galan

Are we programmed by someone? A and B suspect it.

That also worries them, although what bothers them most is not knowing, not knowing anything. In the same way that I don’t know where this novel with dialogue or this accelerated dialogue came from, they – or they, because they don’t know either – doubt whether what they say is foreign content, programmed or grafted, or is a consequence of the language. , which works at its own pace. As algorithms and AI advance, it is inevitable to think that someone, perhaps ourselves in another phase, has programmed this mess that, moreover, it must be admitted, is very entertaining: you never know what is going to happen.

Is our life a long threshold towards nothingness, which we do not know if it is death?

It would be better the other way around, that death or nothingness were the short threshold of the next life. One of the biggest businesses, aside from weapons, is longevity, which is a euphemism for eternity. The most stimulating thing is always the next thing, a project, an illusion… That is the grace of being human. We are between overwhelm and illusion. Between not going down to Second and winning the Champions League.

Is this your most autobiographical book, the best it defines what haunts and stimulates you?

Everything, even the copy-paste, is autobiographical, but perhaps the previous book, ‘Rare Families’, defines these themes better, since they are more vivid, more macerated stories. This couple of characters, or whatever A and B are, presented themselves to me one day and I almost limited myself to acting as a copyist or amanuensis. I could barely keep up with them, it was a typing course.

“The most stimulating thing is always the next thing, a project, an illusion… That is the grace of the human being. We are between overwhelm and illusion. Between not going down to the Second Division and winning the Champions League”

In other words, they decided.

The best thing is that A and B, through this book (and thanks to Prames), have gotten some extra life, to go out to others, even to the stage of the Aragón Library. As they say, if there is an audience they are alive, at least for a while.

Could we say that it is a philosophy book, deep down?

I always try to read philosophy but I forget quickly, so I have no idea, and I am very grateful to Jorge Sanz Barajas who in ‘Artes & Letters’ has written that it is a “hilarious paranoid theology” book. That already consecrates ‘Nobody and Nothing’.

Are we interchangeable, like your characters A and B?

I wish we were interchangeable! It would be a relief for the ego, which always demands more of its own… and for boredom in general. When we manage to exchange ourselves, which is perhaps comparable to falling in love, we feel a lightness, at least in transit, that fluffs us up and makes us dream, imagine, that is, live.

Encarni Corrales, Eva Hinojosa, who delighted the audience, Mariano Gistaín, Antón Castro and Rafael Yuste, editor of Prames, who made a detailed presentation full of references.
Encarni Corrales, Eva Hinojosa, who delighted the audience, Mariano Gistaín, Antón Castro and Rafael Yuste, editor of Prames, who made a detailed presentation full of references.
Toni Galan
 
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