In his time as a private detective, two decades ago, Don Winslow He decided one day that he wanted to drive. Any road, for example the 78 from San Diego to the interior of California. He had been driving for half an hour when he called his wife. "I'm in an old mining town that will remind you a lot of Wyoming or Colorado." They bought a ranch and until today, a February day in which it is snowing in Julian, a town about an hour from the border with Mexico and next to the desert.
From this place, Don Winslow (New York, 1953) has built a career that places him among the greats of the detective novel. Now he has just published around the world Border (HarperCollins), the third book in a monumental saga around the world of drug trafficking that began with The power of the dog and continued with The cartel. They are books taken directly from the real events. In the case of criminal gangs, that means telling brutal scenes. "There is practically nothing in these three books that has not really happened. That is the sad thing. That's why I want to leave, because this shit stays inside you. " Winslow promises that this is the last book in the series, that he has already told everything. The novel takes place in these years, since 2015, and one of the new characters is a candidate for president whose campaign is to drop opinions of fat brush and mess with people on Twitter.
QUESTION. Where does this third book come from? Is there a specific source of inspiration?
ANSWER. I thought the story was over after the second book. I really thought there was nothing more to tell. Sadly, it was not like that. We have entered the era of Trump. We have entered the era of the heroin epidemic. I wanted to write about immigration. I wanted to see the heroin epidemic not as a topic, but from the point of view of an addict. I thought I had finished it, but it was not like that. Yes now. There is a change. This has occupied a third of my life. Its alot. And it's not the easiest subject, you're not writing about puppies. I think it's time to move on to something else.
Q. The book is really a description of drug trafficking and its consequences from all points of view. A kind of great omnicomprensive report of the problem made from fiction.
R. Yes, that is my job. I believe that my dealings with the reader are to lead him to a world in which he could not enter otherwise. And my technique to do it, the one I like, is through the eyes of those who participate in that. I try to see the world through the experience of a trafficker, a murderer, a junkie, a policeman … they are all characters that I know very well. I wrote The cartel because he believed that he had the knowledge to explain a concrete event. When you do that, you try to tell the story of an era, a realistic story, and you stick to the real facts a lot. And you end up telling a complete story, because unless you understand what happens here and there, you do not understand what happened beyond. It is one thing to write that a girl puts a needle in her arm. Another is to know where that needle comes from and why. So I ended up writing more than I should. And you can not do everything. There are stories that do not fit.
"The central issue of the crime novel is how to live with decency in an indecent world"
Q. How much did you cut?
R. Much. Look, in the first book, The power of the dog, the original manuscript was 2,000 pages. The editor told me: "Leave it in the middle". And I answered: "I cut it diagonally, horizontally or vertically? How do I do it? Do I send you just the odd pages? " And they answered: "Very funny. Cut the crap. Leave it in the middle. " It was not so hard to sacrifice things, it was that I could not find a way to do it. I was lost. Until I realized that the central issue of the book, and I think of any black novel, is the people who seek the way to live with decency in an indecent world. Once I understood that, it was easy to cut. But there are 100 pages of that book that I still regret having removed.
Q. In the book you notice an intention to be didactic, to explain things, not just describe them. What is it that the rest of the United States does not understand about the border with Mexico?
The power of the dog was 2,000 pages. When the editor told me to leave it in the middle, I asked: "I send you the odd ones?"
R. I think they do not understand that this area has been bicultural since before there was a border. We are not only in Mexico right now, we are in Spain. My land was a concession of the Spanish Crown. Then it was Mexico. Then, United States. I think that people from the Northeast who write and comment on this area do not understand that we have been together for a long time. And we get along, thank you. This is not an area of terror. No rampant crime is seen. It's ridiculous. It was never like this. I am a type of Irish and English heritage, I come from meat and potatoes. Now I wrap everything in an omelet with all naturalness.
Q. That speech affects precisely California and Texas, the two largest economies in the country.
R. Another thing that makes me angry is when Trump says he is going to stop drugs with a wall, when 90% of the drugs enter through the door, the legal ports of entry. It is the busiest commercial border in the world with two interconnected economies. A truck passes every 15 seconds through the El Paso crossing. How are you going to stop that? You would destroy the economies of Texas, California, Arizona and New Mexico. That means destroying the economy of the United States very soon after, and that of Mexico. It will not happen. When he says ridiculous things like these you know that they are a lie, because the government agencies themselves tell you that they are a lie. In the trial of Joaquín Guzmán [ElChapo[ElChapo] They said: "Yes, most of our drugs go through San Diego, Laredo and El Paso because it is the way to connect with the main highways." It is like any other product. We usually refer to Mexico's drug problem when in reality it is the problem of drugs from the United States and Europe. Mexico is the one that pays it in blood. Without a consumer, there would be no producer. We send around 64,000 million dollars a year down there to some violent sociopaths who are destroying society, the government and their communities. And we have the audacity to point to Mexico and say: "We are going to build a Wall to prevent your crimes from coming to this side. " If I were Mexican, I would build the fucking wall to keep American money from going down.
Q. In the book, the character of John Dennison is a transcript of Donald Trump. Why such a direct and obvious reference?
R. Look, I'm sick of these guys. You caught me at the end of a very long day, so I'll be very direct. These guys, Trump and his band, Stephen Miller, the Joseph Goebbels of the Trump Government, are thugs. And any bully must be punched in the mouth. It is done. You can not be nice to him. You can not reason with a white supremacist. Fuck. I had my differences with Barack Obama in terms of drugs and criminal policy. I think he was late, but he arrived. By the way, I say it with total transparency, my son worked for Obama. But with Trump it's different. In my opinion, he is a fascist. And if I'm writing about my time, and about these issues, it does not make sense to pretend. I have done fiction, I have taken liberties; It is fiction, not history. But do I regret having gotten directly into Trump? No way.
Border. Don Winslow. Translation of Victoria Horrillo Ledesma. HarperCollins. 960 pages. 23.90 euros.