«We could talk about books for a lifetime, there are so many and on so many different subjects that we could start in this life and finish in the next. And each of us has our favourites, as if they were part of our stamp of identity, those that have left an indelible memory in our soul, spirit and heart. I’m ready for the interview, let’s start now!»
Natalia, how did you start reading?
I have to admit that it was a childhood friend of mine who lent me the first book of my life, I mean the first one I could finish reading by myself. Without expecting it, I was hooked on reading it, I wanted more, I devoured the pages to get to the end and be able to clarify the mystery, I played at guessing whether or not I could guess how they would end. That summer, I started asking my parents to buy me books every week so I could exchange them with my friend. Reading is fantastic and if you can share that passion then it’s a luxury. The collection of books I am referring to is The Five by the English writer Enid Blyton. And if you have read Anna’s post, we share the same weakness for this writer. Who wouldn’t want to be part of the fabulous five, live adventures and solve mysteries? Undoubtedly, when I was very young I wanted to be one of them.
What kind of reading do you prefer?
My soul is split in two, on the one hand I love mystery books and on the other hand romantic books by Victorian women writers. They would seem to be very opposite subjects, but in me, both arouse a great passion and I would even say an addiction.
I have read all of Agatha Christie’s books, my favourite being Ten Little Indians. I enjoy the unexpected endings and the fact that I have to be attentive and keep my mind awake throughout the reading so as not to miss a single clue to help me decipher the mystery.
At the same time I am enraptured by the Brontë sisters’ books. I can’t count the number of times I have read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. An intense story, of tormented lives and sometimes uncontrolled passions. I’m not sure if I’m more enchanted by the tragic and tortuous lives of the main characters, Jane and Mr Rochester, or by the lives of the author and her sisters, women ahead of their time. The novel has been adapted for the cinema on many occasions, but no Jane on the screen resembles ¨my¨ Jane, the one I imagined from the first pages of the book and which, so many years later, I can still glimpse in the distance.
About books written in Spanish …. tell us one that has had an impact on you
A book that had a huge impact on me, perhaps because it’s not the kind of book I usually read, was Sin noticias de Gurb by Eduardo Mendoza. One of those books that you borrow and never return because it is so good that you can’t part with it for a long time. I don’t remember laughing more, it’s a simple read, written in the form of the diary of an alien looking for another alien in 1990’s Barcelona. This has given me food for thought, maybe it’s time to return the book to my dear friend …..
Any that you haven’t been able to finish reading?
I’ve been trying to read El albergue de las mujeres tristes by Marcela Serrano for a while now and I haven’t been able to get to the end, I read a section, put a full stop on the book and put it down to continue reading another time. Personally, I wasn’t hooked, perhaps because the experiences told by the protagonists are full of melancholy and despair, unsatisfied relationships with men that don’t appeal to me at this point in my life. Of course, I believe that every book has a moment in life to read and in this case, this is not my moment.
Which one or ones would you recommend?
I would recommend La Tabla de Flandes by Arturo Pérez-Reverte. A book to have a good time, obviously essential for those of us who like mystery stories, but I would say that if that’s not the case, it’s also a must. It doesn’t disappoint, it traps you and absorbs you until you reach an unexpected ending. I love how the author is able to mix an unsolved enigma from the 15th century with a thrilling adventure with chess as a background theme.
And finally, what book have you given as a present and what have you given as a present this Sant Jordi?
I have been given Canto yo y la montaña baila by Irene Solà. It has been said that what triumphs in the whole story is the joy of narration. I have only recently started reading it, looking for a moment of peace to enjoy a beautiful story that touches the heart.
And I have given The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a classic that I think everyone has read, a classic that is timeless. I gave it as a gift because I think my 12-year-old son deserved to have his own copy, which I hope will accompany him for the rest of his life, just as I have mine and it accompanies me in mine.