Etiqueta: writer

Hard choice in the city of a billion stories…

Don’t hate me! On my literary journey to NEW YORK, I turned to a couple singular voices, often vehementently disliked readers and viewers alike. The megacity isn’t just Manhattan, just as it’s not just Austers, Allens and Sexesindacities. LENA DUNHAM is a writing monster who, with GIRLS (and the help of Judd Apatow) knew how to change the way to explain the (first-world) problems of the young generation to which she belongs. Whether you like it or not J.D. SALINGER gave voice to young Holden Caulfield in THE CATCHER IN THE RYE, which shocked post-war American society and has become a classic.

Cliffs, potatoes, beer and geniuses.

Is Ireland just cliffs, potatoes and beer? Maybe, but it is a mystery to me how a small, sparsely populated country has produced so many extraordinary musicians, filmmakers and writers. May Joyce forgive me, but Frank McCourt’s Angela’s ashes has marked a before and after in my life as a reader. Miserable lives, filled with tragedy, yet narrated with naivety and humor. The series Normal people, adapted from Sally Rooney’s book, as real as life itself, is a beautiful story of love indecision.

It is impossible to take a good photo in New Zealand…

I have a crazy theory: it’s impossible to take a good picture in New Zealand, despite being one of the most picturesque countries on the planet It’s as if the camera suffered from ESS (Electronic Stendhal’s Syndrome). Nevertheless, Jane Campion proved, with THE PIANO, that North Island could be made to serve as an exceptional film set. Eleanor Catton, on the other hand, manages to transport us to the South Island with her novel THE LUMINARIES, now a TV adaptation for HBO. Both, though, come with a colonial bias, albeit tempered with Maori touches.

Unlikely Congo

Congo is not a place, it is a continent. With Conrad’s permission, I’d like to highlight two pieces set in this unlikely country. Gorillas in the mist, starring Sigourney Weaver, requires no introduction. Everyone knows the incredible adventure of the ill-fated Dian Fossey and her mountain gorillas. In contrast, Barbara Kingsolver and her books do not often get the recognition they deserve. The naturalistic prose of this biologist-turned-writer transports us to each of the worlds she writes about. Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible takes us to Congo in colonial transition. A real story and a fictional one in a country that eternally transits between reality and fiction.

Three lesser-known places worth visiting

What does Bill Stoner, a university professor, have in common with accountant Marty Byrde? Both live in Missouri and both appear to be modest, grey characters. Beyond that, Stoner lives a life in which accepting one’s fate without putting a real fight seems to be the ultimate act of bravery. Byrde’s courage, on the other hand, comes from an altogether different place: protecting his family from a drug cartel. Byrde’s unpretentious resilience looks like pure Darwinism: adapt or die.

Without seeking to cause offense to Mr Twain, today I am matching a wonderful real land, Missouri, with two stories that take place there. Stoner, by John Williams, I would say is one of the best (and most heartbreaking) novels ever written, and Ozark, the great TV series starred by Jason Bateman.

Three lesser-known pearls worth visiting. 

My father’s typewriter.

My father’s first typewriter.

Iberia is the peninsula where I was born and the airline which first took my feet off the ground. Iberia is also the brand of my father’s typewriter which, if you will allow me the serial metaphors, gives birth to the stories that help me fly to real or fictional, past or future, happy or terrifying places. As many other traits, it is likely that my bent for writing comes from him, my father. I want the first entry on this blog to be a humble tribute to his memory.

© 2024 Ferran Guallar

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