Pablo Gutiérrez: "Labels are terrifying, but I assume the role of social writer" | Culture
Cut heads (Seix Barral) is a complicated novel, and describe it even more. This is clear to him his writer, Pablo Gutiérrez. It could be defined as a book about the situation of young Spaniards who after their studies left Spain because of the crisis and ended up feeling "more exiled than emigrated". Or about living abroad with a language that is not yours and where you lack the resources to express yourself, "to live in another language," as the author explains in the Hotel de Las Letras in Madrid. The novel also reflects a slight dystopia between the hipertechnological society and a certain social primitivism. But, above all, addresses "what it means to write alone, in a notebook that nobody will read", highlights.
Gutiérrez is a literature professor at an institute in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Cádiz, and he does not hesitate to say that this is his profession, which he feels more proud of than his job, that of a writer, who has never fed him, the author himself points out. After this differentiation between profession and trade, he confesses that he probably would not write novels of this type if he did not have every day the students he has: "I lived through the crisis not only because my salary was lowered, like all State officials, but when I faced me, I saw that the families of those children were falling apart. " This link with his profession and with his municipality have kept this writer away from the usual circuits of literary tours. The awards and recognitions received did not affect him because "they did not translate into anything," he says. He has not participated in tours and he has always stayed in the margins. "In all the senses, my literature is periphery, because I live far from the centers where everything happens, and because in what I write I tend to marginality".
Faced with this situation, the author asks: "How can I not write social novels?". And it is difficult to deny it when it has just arrived from a Congress in Germany about the consequences of the crisis, "and I was like the social writer," he says. "The labels are terrifying because they prevent reading in conditions and with a clear head of prejudices, but that label I do not do but assume it." However, he does not deny that the use of this name can be a hindrance for writers: "When you say I am a social writer, it seems you are saying, I am imbecile, I am foreseeable or you can imagine everything in the novel" . And he reacts against this through a personal style.
Narrated in first person, the disordered story of Maria, the protagonists, is the owner of her almost obsessive writing. A novel in the form of a personal diary written for anyone and whose "notebook of 50 pence", becomes the only interlocutor. "His psychology is very complex and I have understood it as the novel developed," confesses Gutiérrez. The reading may seem confusing at the beginning, as are the thoughts of Mary. During the present in which he writes he remembers moments of his childhood, adolescence or university life, and not in this order. All this in an almost self-destructive way, in an attempt to atone for a sense of guilt in which the rancor of classes with which he collides in his new life is constantly reflected.
Maria is a woman almost in her 40s, who did everything that she was supposed to do: "Study, make an effort, expand studies, be an obedient girl and well inserted in the system". But when he had to insert himself into the world of work, he saw that it did not fit into the system and, like many, decided to go abroad. "In a rather naïve way, thinking that he will find opportunities that do not exist, but also seduced by a certain air of cosmopolitanism," says the author of Democracy (2012). "She discovers herself in a very oppressive city, living in a place where she would not correspond, doing a job she had resigned in her own country and, at the same time, very uprooted."
In the skin of this woman, Gutiérrez emphasizes that she feels comfortable writing about female protagonists. "In The sudden books (2015) also put me in the head of a woman, I think that in my world, I understand female psychology better than male, "she says. Maybe because she grew up with three sisters or because she has always had "best friends". Sometimes, as the writer qualifies, observing and reading a lot "you understand what you see better than what you have inside". With that pedagogical tone inherent in some teachers, he quotes the writer Marta Sanz and states: "I also continue to believe in the transforming power of literature, but I am not naive". For this writer literature does not serve to alter the masses or to change any kind of order, but claims his right "to put the point, in that line of infinite points."