TodoLiteratura interviews Germán Díaz Barrio

Germán Díaz Barrio, born in Buenavista de Valdavia, Palencia province, is now a resident of Valladolid.

He has published more than 50 books to date and has received several prizes for theater and for writing, such as the 2017 Alexandre Dumas Prize for best Historical Novel. He has also featured in various anthologies and studies on contemporary literature and has participated in many collaborative works. His last book to be published was ‘La vida entre paréntesis’ (Life in Brackets, MAR Editor, 2018).

D.A.- García Márquez used to say that when it comes to writing a good novel, the most important thing is the first sentence. The rest just writes itself…

G.D.- I agree with García Márquez on this. I’ve found it very hard to get started, to start off with strength and determination to really grab the reader. I’ve paid a lot of attention to openings.

D.A.- At some points your style reminded me of Cela. As I’ve stated before, there’s a kind of ‘Germán gene’, a forthright and didactic writing style, that characterizes you, but in this novel, you seem to lean towards a kind of baroquish-ness reminiscent of Padrón.

G.D.- It’s true that my writing style is forthright and didactic, I can’t leave aside my career as a teacher, however in this case I experimented with a new way of reporting facts. I’d sure like to be more like Cela, whom I admire and have read a lot!

D.A.- On the other hand, you’ve introduced the narrator’s voice on a number of occasions… Initially, you do it with digressions of the text (for example, when you praise Sabina) and at the end, through footnotes…

G.D.- Life in Brackets is narrated very differently from my other novels, with very significant parentheses and footnotes that help the reader on the journey through the novel. The song

‘Con un par’ (With a Pair) by Joaquín Sabina influenced the creation of one of my characters: ‘Porque las mulatas cuando son de bandera, / confunden el corazón con la billetera.’ (Since the loveliest half-caste beauty queen / can confuse the heart with a wad of green).

Read the whole interview in its original form: TodoLiteratura

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