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Osvaldo Soriano talks about us

Soriano's literary and journalistic work crosses borders without documents. Unalien to fashions and pedigree critics, their stories revive the adventure of a fairer world.

Art and Literature
Osvaldo Soriano

Osvaldo Soriano (Mar del Plata, 1943 — Buenos Aires, 1997) is an Argentine writer and journalist who  enhances Argentina's memory at the end of the century with a criticism of contemporary injustices and desamparations, whether political or existential. Authentic best seller , has sold more than one and a half million books, is way to understand literature, in allegories that compromise reality, generated sour disputes in the public and criticism, several on the prejudice that a pampered author of publishers could not write &good” Or that the revaluation of popular culture, football or mass genres such as police or grotesque, were not fuel of literature “ I am not the first to come from elsewhere . It was Albert-Camus the guy who said that “on a football field all human dramas are played. Woever does not understand that will not understand anything about literature.” Now, of course, one thing is for Camus to say it and another thing to say it myself. Then you feel like someone weird in front of those who claim the reasons for your literature, the creation process,” Soriano defended himself in an interview with the magazine “La Maga” in 1992. In Roberto Arlt's country, you do not need to defend yourself Osvaldo, and go hard with a cross to the jaw of hypocrisy and tilinguery.

Born from a family of constant moving, Soriano spent his childhood in Cipolletti, Rio Negro, his Far West, “It was a nine de punta”, reminded the magazine “El Gráfico” of his participation in the city's football team until 1961, “I once got eight but I was a disaster. For the nine the entire panorama of the court is reduced to the bow and stripes. If you look up and you have 40 meters ahead of you want to die. You don't know what to do. That happened to the nine of then and I suppose it should happen to some of them now” A new transfer of the Catalan father inspector of Sanitary Works and the family settles in Tandil, finishing Soriano's incipient sports career - although he would try one last time without luck in Independiente. Lover of the round, fan of San Lorenzo, begins to collaborate in the newspaper “El Eco de Tandil” in sports and  writes some chronicles of strange Buenos Aires characters, in a fondness for the marginal and losers that would last the entire work. 

In the early seventies, he was in Buenos Aires and participates in major editaries such as the magazine “Primera Plana” and the newspaper “La Opinión”, whose articles would later be selected in “Artists, Locos y Criminales” (1983)  In 1973 “Triste, solitary and final”, a tribute to his influential Raymond Chandler, and where he links the destinies of Gordo and Skinny with Philip Marlowe and a ghost of Soriano himself . The atmosphere full of melancholy but also with an ironic and bitter humor will be another brand. Because of the intensity of this novel it seems the summit work of an accomplished writer, although Soriano admits that only at twenty he began to read adventure novels like Emilio Salgari, or the first of his admired Adolfo Bioy Casares and tales by Horacio Quiroga. Simultaneously he inaugurated the ninguneo of criticism despite the fact that within a few weeks it had been sold over 50,000 copies and was immediately translated into twelve languages.

That text marked a breakdown in his own production because from there  Soriano joins the literature called “critique of the present ”, which encompasses the experience of the seventies, and advanced in the eighties, in its drifts, death, disappearances, exile, ostracism and, at last, return of democracy.David Viñas,  Ricardo Piglia,  Antonio Dal Masetto and Jorge Asís participate in this trend. Soriano suffers persecution in his flesh and went into exile in 1976 while his work is prohibited in Argentina. In Paris he meets his wife Catherine, mother of his only son Manuel. There he participates in a sustained denunciation of the harassment perpetrated by the Latin American military dictatorships, in the company of Julio Cortázar. And begins a fruitful collaboration with Spanish, French and Italian media, some of the articles recovered, among other journalistic anthologies, in “ Rebeldes, Dreamers and Fugitives” (1988) -attention: here appears Mr. Peregrino Fernández, no say we do not warn you- Already in the Old Continent publishes “ There will be no more sorrows or oblivion” (1978), inspired by the immortal tango of  Carlos Gardel , and that premieres the fables with no moral of the writer about the complex vectors of Argentine reality,  in what may be a simplification for some “the eternal struggle of the good (the honest Peronists of the first hour, the young) against the bad (up-ups, trade union and political bureaucracy, armed gangs) ”, analyzes Maria Teresa Gramuglio. In Colonia Vela the deranged ideological skein of seventies Peronism seems reduced to a grotesque fight between a drunkard prisoner, a madman, a commissioner, the pilot of a fumigator plane and an old municipal employee. But saying that would be tantamount to believing that the failures of Yrigoyenism, the first Argentine popular movement, is reduced by Arlt to the tombs and tombs of Silvio Astier in “The rabid toy” Who reads these lines, draw his own conclusions, or eternal curse. A few years later it would be captured in the cinema by Héctor Olivera, Silver Bear Award in Berlin, who would also adapt  “Una sombra ya pronto seras” ( 1990) L Soriano's lyrics breathe cinema for the whites of the lines  and few Argentine writers are so visual, little affection to Osvaldo verbal games, in that also a mark of his tastes for American literature.

“Winter Barracks” (1980), which completes the task of subjecting Peronism and the seventies to the comedy bufa and the epic of the small big losers, “To their plants surrendered a lion” (1986), adventures set to an Africa that looks so much like Argentina, “A shadow and soon to be á s” (1990), his novel of the ways that denounced menemist neoliberalism, “El ojo de la Patria” (1992), or how institutions and media misrepresent the history of a people, and the autobiographical “The hour without shadow” (1995), constitute the solid Sorian legacy of culture argentina.  In the middle, Soriano's prestige is growing around the world, in Italy his novels are among the best of every year, and in the country he participates in the founding project of the newspaper “Página/12”, directed by Jorge Lanata.  Soriano's pen could write in a diary of important circulation in 1991, from the 80 years of his beloved Cyclone and his recent negative seasons, including descent, “We would not use an exorcism to know if such father Lorenzo was indeed a priest or a creature of the devil who is still embedded in the poor souls of those boys in Mexico and Thirty Tres. To begin the ceremony you need someone to find Gianella's tiento ball sold to Monti and that rubber seal of the Forzosos de Almagro that Luisito kept as the only hallmark of a bar that was not yet as big or as brave as they paint it now” Great adventure in the kiosk your neighborhood.

 The nineties are for Soriano dance of big figures, and editors, disputing his signature . Spain, Italy, Germany and France are simultaneously publishing their latest news. He's a star in the world's fair to step on. Rumor is the offer of a million dollars for its catalog in 1992, which adds up to think few five novels in twenty years. The latest literary productions exceeded one hundred thousand dollars in advance, something unusual in the Argentine market. We talk about figures because they are also variable to understand intellectual pruritus, or “soriasis”, a granite where the sun of widows of the Argentine canon does not hit. Or let's recreate a scene worthy of his rock plots: he had not yet defined a seal for “El ojo de la Patria” but decided out of loyalty to South American to deliver the original... at five o'clock in the morning, in late October, on a floppy disk that passed under the street door of the editorial. At five o'clock in the afternoon that same day they call happy from South Americana with the combination and design finiquitados, and with the printing presses underway for the launch of thousands of copies, the last week of November. That speed never passed, nor will it happen, in the Argentine publishing world.

 He died of cancer on January 29, 1997 and his remains rest in the Chacarita Cemetery in Buenos Aires . What does not rest is the controversy about his work on each anniversary, as it was documented in 2007 at the rough crossing between a nearby Guillermo Saccomanno and Beatriz Sarlo in the supplement “Radar”. The reason was an alleged humiliation of the students of Philosophy and Letters of the UBA in front of a writer who “didn't even finish high school”, a fact that never really happened. However, the controversy, in which Osvaldo Bayer and Ricardo Piglia also intervened, showed that  even the doors of the National Literary Olympus do not open for Soriano.  Arlt  had to wait almost half a century. Although surely neither of the two writers would care much, they great demolishing national myths.  

 Says Osvaldo Soriano 

“In those times we celebrated “The flying hammocks” -by Miguel Briante and “Seven de oro” - by Antonio Dal Masetto- We began to take early in El Cañón del Bajo and ended with a horn scandal (I remember several) in Old Ramos or in some police station; a. Once, with Briante, we woke up in Recoleta, on the inside of the cemetery. We didn't have a very solid explanation and we went to the dungeon. Maybe we dreamed of Hemingway and Scott Fitzgerald, I don't know: it was just us, we laughed at everything, and we didn't know that we would ripen between blood and fire” in Antonio Dal Masetto's “Darkly Strong is Life” review. Quoted by C. E. Feiling in  All Intentionally. Buenos Aires: South American. 2005

 They say about Osvaldo Soriano 

“Soriano was talking about us, with us, for us. He returned to us the language of every day turned into literature, a vision of the country that was also a world view, and hence its international success. (...) For us Colonia Vela (psychogeography of “There will be no more sorrows or forgetfulness”) was any people and all the peoples of the country. For the world, Colonia Vela was a microcosm of corruption and misery of Western society. But it was also, for everyone, more than that, because otherwise it would not have been great literature: that aleph place where the entire universe is concentrated, the revelation of the human condition” Ana Maria Shua for the supplement  Radar , 2007. Quote from Verónica Tobeña at 

 Bonus track: Osvaldo Soriano unpublished 

“This is how my father spoke to me, aware that someday he would write about him. Now, when I think he runs around and that my novel is running behind him, I feel compelled to look for a truth that is not his or her story, but my own. That's what he wanted. We both know that it is a useless task, that truth is at the same time absolute and relative, like God so feared...Is that why in the previous chapter I left him on the island of Richter - the Austrian engineer who promised the atomic bomb to Perón - empty and desolate? I get the impression that the more I know about him, the less I know him. And also the other way around: the more I know him, the less I know, does it matter, does it matter?” Selected fragments from two unpublished chapters of his latest novel,  La hora sin sombra  (1995). Published in separata in 1997 with the diary “Page/12”, without reprint

Publication Date: 06/01/2021

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