Tue. Apr 23rd, 2019

Obituary of Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio: Of immortal glory

Obituary of Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio: Of immortal glory


The last time I saw Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio was on February 24, 2015 (I have it written down). I had quoted first thing in the morning at the Silma cafeteria in Madrid, on Narváez street number 19, with a man who worked for Juan Benet, a character on whom I have worked for years to complete the writing of his biography. At the back of the room, my interlocutor and I were sitting at a table where there were two coffee cups and a recorder-a distancing object. In a moment of the collection of his testimony I turned my head and at the next table, which was barely a meter apart, I found sitting, having breakfast while browsing the newspapers of the day, an aged Rafael and his wife Demetria Chamorro The surprise, the shock, was such that I was more aware of the conversation of my neighbors than the story of who had opposite. My mind elucidated between making myself known and introducing me to marriage or not doing so. The reason told me, out of deference to them, that it would be better to leave them alone and not be invasive. I tend to be respectful with my biographies. It would have been violent both for me and for them. By then I had finished El incognito Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio. Notes for a biography; I was waiting for an editorial response.

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The only conversation I had with Ferlosio throughout the years of biographical work was on February 18, 2013. He did not want to collaborate with me, since he is not a supporter of the biographical genre, it made him sick. However, with me he was courteous and even buzzing. I did not have the impression of having an ogre on the other side of the wire. It was the only talk we had and I did not take into account the suggestion that he made me leave my job. Someday I will complete and update that book. In that telephone conversation Rafael, among other things, told me: "Biographies are only made to the dead. I am eighty-five years old, you do not have to wait long. " It has only been six years of waiting. On December 4, Rafael would have been ninety-two years old.

Art and culture do not make the human being better. Ferlosio, of high birth, was a humble person to excess. When in April 2015

his Campde broom came out. Peces gathered, the author grabbed a monumental tantrum because the characters of his name and surnames had much more body than the title. We must remember how he apologized publicly for having campaigned for the referendum for Spain to enter NATO, how he had threatened to return the money for the daily travel expenses to Israel sent by the newspaper El País, from which he did not bring single line written. When my biographical work appeared, in an interview, they asked him if he knew about the book and he answered that I was a gentleman because he had had the point of sending him the original. I will always be grateful for that praise, although neither I nor the Editorial Árdora ever sent the typed text.

All his surroundings advised me not to appear at the Saturday meeting he had in Prosperidad, nor to call him on the phone. When I did, I have to confess that my hands were shaking, I was terrified. Both friends and publishers had an almost sacred respect. However, according to his intimates, that man with a fame of dour character was a being of an immeasurable tenderness. Until yesterday, Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio, of sublime prose, has been the greatest living writer in the Spanish language, in Spanish. Only glory will survive his death.

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