Fernando del Paso has died this Wednesday at age 83 in his home in Guadalajara, the city where he settled with his family after 1992, after more than two decades of diplomatic career between London and Paris. The last Mexican Cervantes Award, 2015, transformed the paradigm of the historical novel with works such as Palinuro of Mexico or News of the Empire, where he draws a literary cartography of his country with the squadron and the bevel of cosmopolitanism and the avant-garde.
Heir to totems in Mexican literature such as Juan Rulfo and Juan José Arreola, he was literally his student during the sixties at the Mexican Writers' Center. From that formidable incubator -germen of the Generation of the Middle Century, shared with Salvador Elizondo or José Emilio Pacheco- came out his first great novel, José Trigo, a ghostly search related to both the Pedro Paramo of his teacher, as with the Ulises of Joyce. As he defined himself on more than one occasion: "I am part of the queue of boom. "
His aversion to the viscera and blood prevented him from finishing his medical career, but that background helped him to profile the student who detonates the plot of Palinuro of Mexico, a baroque and oneiric collage with the youthful repression of 1968 Tlatelolco as a backdrop and language as the true protagonist. Already in this time, the seventies, he combined writing with his work as producer and radio broadcaster. First was the voice of the BBC in London, then Radio France International. For many Spaniards of the Transition generation, it was the lantern that illuminated music, literature, painting, a cultural openness between so much darkness.
One afternoon in January, when leaving the Mexican embassy in Paris, Fernando del Paso He told the world about the death of his teacher Rulfo in 1986. "Forgive me Juan if I never wrote to you, but as they told me that you never answered the letters, then why? And now I regret it. " This is how the letter began to Juan Rulfo, a program that won the National Radio of Spain award. A year later, he published his great work, another polyphonic and scholarly waste overturned this time in the feigned and ephemeral history of the Second Mexican Empire narrated by the Empress Carlota "A blond emperor that we shot and his wife who went crazy", synthesized in a interview.
Accompanied by his wife Socorro, his four children, his sons-in-law, his daughters-in-law and his grandchildren, Del Paso picked up the Cervantes prize in 2016. With the voice broken by a cerebral infarction that had diminished his speech and coordination, in 2013, Del paso talked about his relationship with Spanish literature and launched one of his usual darts to Mexican politics: the principle of a totalitarian state that we can not allow ".
A decade before receiving the award, he had published his own tribute to the great work of Cervantes. An essay with a novel rhythm where the characters are Ortega y Gasset, Dostoevsky, Américo Castro, Rubén Darío, Borges or Nabokov debating about that work he read for the first time at age 15 and "shocked him". The last edition, to the heat of the prize, also incorporated another of the facets of Del Paso: the painting. A quixotic triptych with gaudy colors like his costumes: Don Quixote de las Manchas, Don Quixote of the green sea, Don Quixote at home
He was a fixture at the Guadalajara Book Fair. Mounted in his wheelchair, with white beard and mane and his flamboyant checkered suits of Anglo-Saxon and Parnassian dandy, he was always one of the festival's most beloved authors. In 2015, in a political crisis due to the disappearance of 43 students in one of the poorest territories in Mexico, the aristocrat of literature managed to shout from his chair: "We are all Ayotzinapa".