Fri. Apr 19th, 2019

"Identity issues disgust me"

Juan Pablo Villalobos: “Me repugnan los temas identitarios”

To the Mexican writer Juan Pablo Villalobos, author of novels such as I'm not going to ask anyone to believe me, 2016 Herralde Award, he likes the bar Giardinetto. Sitting on his stool, with his elbows resting on the wood, he feels comfortable, liberated, hard to say what he thinks. And we interviewed him during a health cure, that is, drinking water with ice and a slice of lemon. He had been like this for months, losing kilos on the basis of not consuming the alcohol and the industrial bakery that he likes so much.

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Villalobos is a narrator with a sense of humor, a writer who prefers to narrate rather than explain, who fits well with the irreverent. Consider that these writers are more of our time. Carlos Fuentes Y Octavio Paz, for example, they explain more than they narrate and they seem from another time. He says that "explain is to say", something that does not interest him. He is much more interested in, for example, the literature of Jorge Ibargüengoitia, a writer with a lot of humor and who, apparently, does not seek the truth or anticipate the future.

The miscegenation is in the DNA of Villalobos, both in his life and in his work. He came to Barcelona to complete a PhD at the Autonomous University and there he met a Brazilian girl who is now his wife. They tried to live in Brazil but ended up preferring the quality of life in Barcelona. They have two children and at home they speak Spanish, Brazilian and Catalan.

"I write in anyone's territory"

From this triple linguistic identity, Villalobos obtains a new language, a lexicon and a grammar that mixes sounds and structures, and that he uses to write. He confesses that "I write in anyone's territory" and that "I reinvent the no place". This cosmopolitanism places it at the antipodes of stony identities. He assures that "I dislike identity issues" and that he finds racist to preserve the purity of his original Mexicanness.

Villalobos talks about Barcelona, ​​the neighborhood of Grace, of how people arriving from other places are shaping the cosmopolitanism of this small city, which can be traveled on foot. While he talks about his Barcelona experience and his logical thinking is maturing, a syllogism almost unintentionally comes out: "Cosmopolitanism is the sum of the people." At the end of the interview he talks about soccer, the Atlas, his favorite team in Mexico, as well as the movie
and why he did not like it.

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