Behind a writer of Penguin Random House, publishing group in which he worked the last 20 years of his life and in which he acted as literary director, was always Claudio López Lamadrid, who died on Friday in Barcelona victim of a heart attack at age 59.
Among the writers who served his educated editorial intelligence were Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Orhan Pamuk, Susan Sontag, César Aira or Javier Cercas. The list of his vast catalog, made with sight, audacity and demand, is completed by other names to which he treated with the same philosophy: an editor is the bridge between quality and the public. Among the new ones, Emiliano Monge, Laura Fernandez, Elvira Navarro, Patricio Pron, yesterday reigned desolation due to the absence of the effective shadow that he constituted.
It was that bridge between the growing Hispanic-American literary quality and the public on both sides, because he owes, to a large extent, the new narrative connection that has Spanish as the axis of expression and reading. Of the lineage of Beatriz de Moura (with whom he worked in Tusquets, with his uncle Toni López), Carlos Barral Jordi Herralde was a bridge that he built with other accomplices in his own group, Núria Cabutí, its CEO, Pilar Reyes, the Colombian director of Alfaguara, and Miguel Aguilar, right hand of the now-deceased editor's Latin American trip.
At fairs and presentations, he was one step behind the authors; his figure of gentlemanof Barcelona was waiting for his displeasure and his tastes, and to the maximum that came, in the public image of his closeness, was to share substantial selfies that were photographed explanation of their availability. He was a great editorial communicator, able to explain with minimal gestures the importance of young people and the strength of the elderly.
His was an effective passion; At the Guadalajara International Book Fair, of which he was a fervent regular, he organized the launch of the young Peruvian, Jeremías Gamboa. He gathered all the editors of Random House of America. Before a world audience, the editor did his job: create expectation, find an echo, celebrate the joy of publishing. He spent with Gamboa, who was not more than 30 years old, and with other young people, whom he promoted to the ears of unbelieving journalists. His capacity for conviction was given by his story of successes, and his way of saying, a mixture of an old gentleman and a bold young man who made the scarf a way of presenting himself as a classic in a world organized by computers.
That hard work also helped not to waste the big names of his position such as García Márquez. He organized with care the cataloging of his work so that neither before nor after death did bookstores become a messy orgy of Nobel works. One of the findings that is most pondered is that of David Foster Wallace and The infinite joke. He had the fortune, he said, of being in a trade in which he could edit his favorites, Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio, Juan Marsé or Javier Marías. And it has achieved the greatest success that an editor can achieve, having left an experience admired being, like Kim from India, the friend of (almost) the whole world.