Sergi Pàmies: "Now the point of view is different, the wound is no longer there"

The work of Sergi Pàmies has been grafted onto the latest books in memory, one step away from non-fiction.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
26 August 2023 Saturday 10:24
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Sergi Pàmies: "Now the point of view is different, the wound is no longer there"

The work of Sergi Pàmies has been grafted onto the latest books in memory, one step away from non-fiction. His new book, A les dues serán les tres reoffends, because once it passes through his literary filter, the author is convinced that it does not matter if what he explains has happened or not, whether in a more classic short story format or of fictional journalistic chronicle, with events from childhood or from a little over a year ago.

When he published the previous book, L'art de portar gavardina, five years ago, he explained that he was involved in the novel, but now he has released a new volume of stories.

Yes, and even to be able to do La gavardina I wrote a novel beforehand, which didn't turn out well but which just motivated me. The conditions were there and continue to be there, but since that didn't turn out very well and La gavardina turned out very well, I felt at home again and I've continued here, although I also wanted to distance myself from some themes from the previous book and there hasn't been any gender promiscuity, I've been monogamous.

But there is promiscuity in the styles of the stories.

Of course, because I still enjoy it a lot. I also have the feeling that the three previous books were very tied to the sentimental state and this one is not, and then it gives me more freedom, it is as if I had recovered the most experimental toolbox. Seen in perspective like this, because while I was doing it I didn't have this perception, I wanted to try things, but I couldn't theorize it for you. On the other hand, when I have seen it finished, I say: shit, that should go this way.

Yes, there is a theory of the story.

A lot. There has always been, but here there are overdoses and also my love of making stories about writing comes together with my decision to do a kind of gratitude to journalism, who are brothers. Some stories are chronicles, and there are many leading journalists, so that the confluence of writers and journalists seems like a bar at sunset.

Chronicle mixed with fiction.

Some story goes to the limit of the diary, with a point of chronicle... and often I don't put names because the fun is never knowing if it's true or not. In an article from a book of these extraordinary ones by Nora Ephron, Tinc un coll que fa pena; in Spanish, I don't like my neck, in Asteroid), she says that what is important is not fiction or non-fiction, but the narrative. I am 63 years old, and until now no one has told me in such a simple way. You've been fighting all your fucking life about self-fiction, self-portrait, memory, creativity... No, that's it!

The topic is not that important.

No, the important thing is the ability to tell a story. There may be elements of fiction or reality, and at times you have to make the rules of the game clear to the reader, but it is a fictional book, I am a writer, and I will use my wits. The question is whether we are capable of creating an artifact, an artifice through a trip, after a meal, with a story, even with a novel, an artefact, an artifice that makes this communication established through narrative.

There are tales from the relatively remote past and others quite recent, such as the trip to England for the London Book Fair last year.

The central obsession is time, and I hadn't even realized it until I finished it. All the stories, or 90%, speak, explicitly or implicitly, of time. Time as a great provider of stories, joys, disappointments. That is why A las dues serán les tres is like the apotheosis of the absurdity related to time. I advance, I go back or I am shipwrecked, always through time. That also comes from the fact of dodging some songs from La gavardina. I had to go very far forward or very backward, or go until the day before yesterday, to skip all the death of parents, disappointed love... It's like sometimes you ride a bicycle without a hand, because I decided that I had to tie one hand so as not to go towards these topics that I had already exploited too much and I didn't feel like it either.

But the children and the mother do go out.

Yes, that is, one is what one is and I didn't want to put too many limitations on myself either, but the point of view is different, the wound is no longer there, or it is another type of wound or you have evolved. The way you look at your children when they are 25 years old and the fact that you no longer feel so responsible, nor do you want to be perfect, all this has to do with time, deep down. Just as the previous book was about the end of love in all its dimensions, this one is about time, and also a very literary perception, closely related to how what happened in the death of Franco is written, the relationship with Manolo Vázquez Montalbán , from 33 or 34 years ago. And mix it with things from four days ago.

Is memory invented?

Starting from 100% real events, I develop a literary artifact. The trip to Quebec with Manolo (Vázquez Montalbán) is a tribute to the pure chronicle, with notes that I took at the time, but there are also those that are invented. I had a box from the trip and it was intact, like a time capsule, and when I found it I started to do it, even though I had the idea of ​​the story for a long time.

Between Vázquez Montalbán and that young Pàmies there are many parallels.

I was very interested in the contrast between the established author and the debutant: one who flies first class, the other who doesn't... One who sits at the end of the bus and the other in front... And all of that is true. He arrives at the Hilton and asks for a typewriter, and I thought that if I ask for one they'll throw me out. Or maybe not, but the perception is this.

It was a reference.

Manolo built a much more pleasant sentimental universe than the one we had up to then, because he added food, soccer and copla. It was as if you entered a house that was a bunker full of sectarian communists and here we will make a dining room where you will eat your balls, next door there is a football field where Ramallets, Kubala, Cruyff will play... and we will also have a theater where Lola Flores will come.

When you start to write, are you clear that you are writing a storybook?

Yes. What I am not clear about is how the book will be. And then it's all by elimination, as one reserved the right of admission. I have to write much more than what I end up publishing, because many of the things I write either don't work or don't belong to this family that I don't know what it's like, but I do know what it's not like. In the end, it's all about simplifying.

So that there are short books...

But very dense! Even with the hope, of an infinite vanity, that people can read them again. That's already for note, huh? Sometimes they tell me that it is very short, but you will read it several times.