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Soledad Puértolas, as seen by Daniel Fernández


... I have allowed myself to use the same title in this prologue as the one I used at the beginning of the eighties in a review of El bandido..., which I wrote for that memorable Asturian magazine: Cuadernos del Norte. This auto-plagiarism is not only because of laziness and lack of imagination; it is because as the years and books go by, my view on this author as a narrator walking within the moral ambiguity that basically builds the nerve of our life, has been further emphasized. Soledad herself explains in the prologue of the second edition of Una enfermedad moral how under this term and within her idea "it is possible to imagine everything". And even more, practically all of Soledad's characters suffer some kind of moral illness, a moment of doubt, a misstep. Maybe living is precisely this: the development of a moral illness with its fevers and convalescences, relapses, and sometimes its recoveries. Furthermore, Soledad's narrators; those wonderful tricksters, occasionally cynical, and even hateful at times; are fully aware of their loneliness. It is unknown if hell are the others, but life is definitely the others, our relationship with others, that river that carries us, yet in the middle of the current we are still on our own. Swimming is an individual sport. And the water protects us and makes us weaker in an impassive way, we flow and struggle at the same time. We advance as we shipwreck, trying to remain afloat. But the repeated gesture, the automatism, the ritual of the swimmer, do not prevent us from thinking and even rambling. There is a moral loneliness, a questioning of what has taken us to that extreme, to those arms, to that city, to that swimming pool. It really does not matter if there is no answer. Neither logic or casuistic can explain much about life. What is important is the feeling, very human but also dehumanizing, of loneliness while being in company of others, the feeling of living in solitude surrounded by people who we hesitate are part of our life, but most probably are not. In the same way, our time is more extensive and wide than the time that we had to live... The best novels deal precisely on this.


*Extract of the prologue by Daniel Fernández in the volume containing El bandido doblemente armado and Una enfermedad moral, from Soledad Puértolas (2011).

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