José Ignacio Carnero: "Society rewards the man who hides his weakness"

Why did you decide to address depression and male frailty in your second novel?

The subject chose me. What makes me write is not an idea, a place to go or a philosophical concept, but a need to portray what is closest to me, scenes and situations that inspire me. From there ideas and themes emerge.

Do you consider that the depressed, fragile man who suffers from loneliness or who shows his emotions is the result of what has been called the new masculinity?

Traditionally, gender roles associate men with a person without weaknesses or vulnerable points (or at least that they recognize it). Although I think that is being overcome, seeing it in writing, in a novel, attracts attention, which is significant that women manage their emotions more intelligently and empathically and yet we are more locked in silence regarding to our weaknesses. Society has rewarded that this is so, although it is changing.

His previous novel, 'Ama' is dedicated to his mother, in this the male protagonist could be his father?

In the previous novel, all the material I took came from reality, my intention was to make a trustworthy portrait of a woman, of a type of woman, with whom I grew up. In this case, the material I use is partly reality but I have felt free to shape and manipulate it. The previous novel was a realistic portrait, here I use reality but turn it into fiction.

"Happiness has to be unconscious and from unconsciousness it is difficult to get literature"


Are you familiar with depression?

I think we all know her closely, it is something common that I have seen in my environment. It is rare that it is not present in one's life, not only from personal experience, although it would be false to say that I make a portrait from personal experience.

We have been hearing for years that anxiety and depression are the diseases of the moment, even now in the pandemic specialists warn about a notable increase in mental and emotional problems, to what elements do you attribute male depression that are not common to those suffered by women? women?

To answer that question, you would have to be a doctor or an anthropologist. I can intuit that the management of emotions by men is still clumsy, that society continues to reward the man who does not recognize his vulnerabilities, his dark corners. The other side of the coin is that many mental illnesses as they are silent, that are not seen, they hide. There will be many men, usually older, who keep quiet and blame themselves even for not responding with the force that they are supposed to respond, for not being producing or not being an active part of society. It is a mere intuition.

This same title, 'Men who walk alone', in the 1950s could have been identified with a kind of western with tough protagonists and now it suggests a completely opposite connotation.

I hadn't thought about it, but you're right. Even in this society there may be people who when they see the title think that it is a western. In short, the reading of the book, depending on whether the reader is more progressive or more traditional, be that of a man who suffers from loneliness or that of a man who goes alone around the world with his revolver. That vision that each of us has speaks more about ourselves than we think. If the reader interprets it as a western, he is recognizing himself in a way of seeing reality and the world. Either of the two readings can be valid of how gender roles are conceived in society.

Juan Tallón has written about his novel that brings out the beauty of the most unexpected moments; Edgard Allan Poe is attributed part of the success of his work and characters to his depressed emotional state, do you consider that there is beauty in sadness?

I think there are more nuances in sadness than in joy. We wallow in joy, we enjoy it, it has to do with reality, with the present, with the unconscious. Happiness is fleeting. Sadness stops time somehow; it makes us face the past and also the future, even with the fear of the future; broadens the focus and makes us look at a number of more important nuances. Happiness has to be unconscious and from unconsciousness it is difficult to get literature, although surely there will be extraordinary books on happiness.

"Writing is a form of expression and communication with others and with myself"


You have published two novels in three years, do you consider yourself a lawyer who writes or a writer who makes a living with the toga?

I lead a bit of a bipolar life, depending on the day you fuck me I can answer one thing. When I wrote this book, most of it, which was for a few weeks in Buenos Aires, was and felt like a writer; I was on vacation, writing, and I didn't remember at all that I was a lawyer. 90% of my days, however, my reality is different, I try to find time where I can and it is difficult for me to believe that I am a writer. Today I would tell you that I am a lawyer who writes. In any case, I have been very lucky that they published me, the only thing that has changed in these three years is that they have edited me. I feel the need to write to explain many things to myself. When I speak with someone, I am in an interview or I have to intervene in a conversation, I am not very satisfied with what I say, my expression is not accompanied by what I want to express. However when I write, yes. Writing is a form of expression and communication with others and with myself, so I very much doubt that I will stop writing, even if they do not publish me. I feel it as a necessity.


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