February 25, 2021

Manuel Jabois: “The worst thing about not knowing the truth are the alternative truths”

For the journalist Manuel Jabois “the worst thing about not knowing the truth are the alternative truths that appear“and that’s why in ‘Miss Marte’, his second novel, he gets fully into how the unresolved disappearance of a girl it transforms over time those who lived it, their love and friendship.

Costa da Morte, 1993. On this site and in this year this story begins that comes after less than two years ago the Galician journalist debuted in the novel with ‘Malaherba’, a work that has no “connection” with ‘Miss Marte ‘(Alfaguara), because although in the first one it addressed childhood, here gets fully into that moment of life, adolescence, in which you begin to get older and only “you want certainty”.

For this reason, ‘Miss Marte’ is the story of Mai, an 18-year-old girl who appears with her two-year-old daughter in a town in Pontevedra, an arrival that revolutionizes everyone, because that extravagant girl who “is missing a screw” somehow changes those around her, especially those who experienced the disappearance of little Yulia during her wedding party with Santi.

“The worst thing that can happen to a person is not knowing what happened to his son. I have lost my son for five seconds and it is like three hours,” Jabois tells Efe in an interview on the occasion of the launch this Thursday of the novel.

So to find out what happened to Yulia, the journalist introduces us to Berta Soneira, a journalist who comes to town 25 years later to make a documentary about this event and interview all the people who were there that night, mostly men who two decades later they still wonder what happened that night.

That is why Jabois raises in his novel the importance of certainties before the passage of time of a dramatic event: “I understand those parents who want to recover the bones of their children, the parents of Marta del Castillo or Diana Quer. We need to tie ourselves to something, and you have to know the truth for sure. ”

The worst thing about not knowing the truth are the alternative truths that appear“Jabois emphasizes on the pillar of this novel in which an” atmosphere of enchantment “dominates, where the narrator” insists on the will of the children’s story “when remembering that fact from 25 years ago gives it a” more literary “atmosphere. .

“As I wrote, I was very interested in analyzing how a group of people survive without having access to the truth and in this case it is not so much that it affects the disappearance, but rather not knowing the truth and suspecting it. As I say in the book, friendships are not destroyed by betrayals, but by suspicion, “he adds.

So in ‘Miss Mars’ journalism also makes an analysis about their profession, about lying and about what happens when there is no access to the truth. “I was interested in journalistic readinga because lately we have a complex relationship with her. The fact that in the public debate we are spending time to figure out whether something is true or not, when in a debate what has to be debated are true facts. You go to a TV and instead of discussing climate change you debate whether the planet is flat or not, “he criticizes.

So for Jabois (Pontevedra, 1978), like his journalist protagonist, what is “most dangerous is the receiver, not the sender” of the news. “The dangerous thing is having people in front of you who don’t care if it’s true or not,” he says. “Berta is a girl who is approaching a very painful event and she approaches in a cold way and just wants to accumulate all the details of the case, and it always has to have a witness, a source, and in that sense it is quite like 90% of the journalists I know. Berta has a set of characteristics and virtues of journalists who are friends of mine, “she says.

Journalism, friendship and love. A trio of concepts that he puts into this kind of cocktail shaker that, as if it were a chronicle, puts before our eyes how the passage of time changes us, and how love or friendship suffer, at different levels, if during those years the suspicion has been the protagonist.

Interested, like Mai, by the “wild sea, by the storms”, the journalist confesses that this novel was born with a spark, specifically with the first sentence of the novel. “Therefore I like my principles to be like thisAlthough later they slow down because I am not García Márquez and I am releasing great phrases on each page – he says with a laugh – but the last and the first sentences have to be the best. ”

Concentrating on this promotion of phone calls and videoconferences, nothing to do with the one he had with ‘Malaherba’, Jabois does not think of one of the most important dates for a writer: the Book Fair. And it does not do so because, as expressed, “to this rhyme of vaccination” does not believe that a fair like the ones we knew can be held. “What I do not want is a fair of plastic cabins and people separated by four meters. It does not compensate and a massive fair of like the one in 2019 will take longer,” he concludes.


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