«Describe your village and you will be universal.» That phrase that once motivated the writer Hernán Rivera Letelier to tell his own stories, discovering the magic formula for his work, comes to be like a revelation for the author, who recently won the Yasnaia Poliana Prize of the Leon Tolstoy Foundation for his novel «The Art of Resurrection», formerly awarded to Orhan Pamuk and Mario Vargas Llosa.
This 2010 book, which won the Alfaguara Prize for Novel, is for Rivera his best book. The writer was in Curicó on Thursday at the Book Fair, where he gave a talk for 500 people, aimed mainly at students and teachers of municipal educational establishments. A heart attack in late August, suffered on the plane while traveling to Cuba, made the writer at the Curicó Book Fair, just on this date and not in Russia, receiving the award.
«When I discovered that maxim written by russian Leon Tolstoy, I realized that my stories could be universal and I have dedicated myself to that. Now I would have to be in Russia, receiving the prize, but since I was sick I didn’t go, but they’re going to take me in March. It’s a privilege for me because it’s a prize I didn’t expect. If you ask me what’s the best book I have, I think it’s ‘The Art of Resurrection’, the best I’ve ever written,» he says.
-From where is this statement born?
«My parents were evangelicals and in my house I grew up with a single book that was the Bible. I read it from pe a pa as poetry, as a story, as a story and I found some bitterness in the Gospels where the life of Christ was told, there was never a smile. In the life of Christ I always missed that he smiled, nowhere is he smiled; that is why what I did was to invent an entire Christ that would laugh at itself that failed in miracles, that it had contradictions, that it was more human, if we were all like that we would be in another world, much better. Humor is transcendental in life.
-Is the resurrection a matter for you, do you believe in it?
«I don’t believe in the resurrection, here it is all over, posterity has never mattered to me, I will not be so I don’t care, my work does, but I don’t.
-You have been a writer who has been able to experience readers through writing, the life of pampa, an important legacy, isn’t that a form of resurrection?
-Metaphorically, it may be. What I’m doing is reliving the pampas through my characters, those who were born in the daily life of life. But it’s the writers who can write and those who want to write about something. I am one of those who can, you cannot be required to write about this or that.
«What I seek is to write better and better, to learn more and more that every work I write is somewhere higher than the previous one and for that I read every day I research and write daily. If there is effort, study, work is achieved; inspiration is 1 percent, 99 percent is getting the crest out,» he concludes.