He is an ex-policeman burned and wounded by what he has seen. A veteran of the Vietnam War who will never recover from what he did there, a writer outside of normal and little given to write and less to publish. "Basically I do not like to write. It is the most difficult, discouraging, and prone to failure work I know. A 99% repetitive job. I prefer to dig ditches or clean the kitchen, "says Kent Anderson (1945) by email to EL PAÍS on the occasion of the publication in Spain of The green sun (ADN, translation by Cristina Martín) first book starring in the series of policeman Hanson, a misfit to his time and his profession fighting for a better world. An alter ego of Anderson, of his experience, his frustration and his pain.
In Vietnam I saw more war actions than most and I became a murderer. It changed my life in an absolute way
Hanson is a white police officer who patrolled the streets of Oakland in 1983. He does not seek to apply the laws of California but to create a certain space of justice where, at least once, a certain equality reigns. Oakland at that time was divided by a strong segregation, which is what Anderson lived kicking those same streets; a segregation that is far from being erased from the face of American society.
"Racial, financial and economic inequality are the curse of our country. Our greatest sin was the acceptance of slavery, the perception that people are personal property. The last study of The Washington Post it proves that the police in this country shoot and kill more white people than black people in total, but per capita blacks are 2.5 times more likely to be shot and killed by the police than whites. The reasons for this are very complex and most likely above any systematic solution. One more reason for the police to work case by case, "reflects Anderson.
Racial, financial and economic inequality are the curse of our country
The creator of Hanson is a peculiar writer, who prefers not to write in spite of everything. "It turns out that I've been doing it for a while and it's been good for me because … in the end it's like anything else, the more you do it, the better it gets. And what about the hard days of writer? On those days when I tell myself that if I do not finish a scene or write a certain number of words before going to bed, I will burn in hell? ", He asks himself before speaking about his life in the police department. his hell in Vietnam. "Well, I was there, I saw more war actions than most (although many less than some) and I became a murderer, he changed my life in an absolute way", he resolves laconically in his briefest response.
His day-to-day police work on the street was similar to that of his character. Your ideas, too. "Most of the time I hated going to work every day. But, looking back, once I registered, signed to get a patrol car, checked my gun and drove to the district to which I was assigned was, well, happy. Happy on the street, happy in those moments when you played your life. I was very happy. My approach to the people was based on something that tried to work: to stop screaming, look at me, then talk to me and not go to jail, "he explains, summarizing the creed of his character.
There are three aspects that make this book something special. The first is the voice of the author, how he translates his life to his stories. The second are the amazing scenes that can be seen in the book, horrible situations told with tranquility and phantasmagoric tone, like that house that are robbing some poor blacks while their owner lies, dead among them. Or that trip in all the senses to the heart of the house of the narco of the district, with which Hanson has a so particular relation. "The scene of the assault of the house, like many others of my work, is rather a dramatized nonfiction," clarifies an author who has been praised by James Ellroy and who follows in a way the way of the teacher Joseph Wambaugh. "He managed to give the stories a novel form. His books are not so based on the solution of a central crime but on the lives of the police officers involved. How would we manage this call? And this other? Why are people so unhappy, cowardly or generous? Wambaugh worked as a police officer and discovered that the police officers were stories by themselves, "he says.
Anderson remains tied to his vision of the world and the two trades that have been given to him. "I've started Hanson's fourth novel. He is about 50 years old and alive, still with less hope of finding hope for health and decency in this country of ours, or in himself, trying to avoid and ignore the injustice and suffering that is around him and get away from the violence. But, once again, duty calls. Maybe my trilogy will increase to a tetralogy, "he tells us. Not bad for someone who prefers not to write.