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HomeLatest NewsA novel of "personal resentment" unreliable after the crisis and two layoffs

A novel of “personal resentment” unreliable after the crisis and two layoffs

Manuel Guedan (Madrid, 1985) resisted, he says, the temptation to write a novel about generations. Thus, he chose to bridge the time of the Shift with the current situation by portraying the world of work through the bizarre, out of place and lost young woman as a common thread. The result is very descriptively titled “Accessible Dreams of Josephine Jarama” (Alfaguara) and covers companies, workers, bosses and jobs across several decades and across locations. “The struggle of the progressive generation and today’s unreliable generation is the same,” the author says in an interview with Gedan adds with great sincerity that this comedy novel is written “from the personal malice of an unreliable man who has survived crises and two layoffs in a row.”

Professor, editor and writer Gedan believes that “writing with a generational approach is a very powerful temptation, but it is necessary to deliver speeches that will overcome this trend.” Based on this attitude, the author declares his calling “to build bridges between different crises and different generations.” The son of ex-Communist militants (his father was a leader of the Maoist Revolutionary Workers’ Organization and his mother a labor lawyer) and married to Rita Maestra, Mas Madrid press secretary in the Metropolitan City Council, Guedan has the privilege of comparing times. and compare experiences. This trajectory has helped show how labor relations have changed in Spain over the past half century. However, as a literary tool, the writer did not use a serious tone, but comedy and parody. “I wanted to create a picaresque character,” he explains, “because the con man is offering a twisted point of view, thinking he is laughing at the world when everyone else thinks otherwise. In fact, the cheater is the victim of a system that ends up losing the game. In this case, the main character is a mischievous woman, because I think that job insecurity affects women more than men.”

Gedan did not want to involve serious characters in a ruthless and ridiculous critique of the mechanisms of the labor system. In this case, The Accessible Dreams of Josefina Jarama is very much inspired, as the author himself admits, by some of the novels of Eduardo Mendoza, the films of Luis García-Berlanga, or mostly by the great picaresque tradition of Spanish literature. “Humor,” he comments, “means a collective catharsis. In fact, it is enough to go to social networks to see how indignation at injustice is expressed through humor. This avoids impotence. Through documentary efforts and interviews with workers, the author takes Josephine, his character, through companies ranging from the toy industry in Ibi (Alicante) in the seventies to food delivery companies in a permanent apartment building in today’s Madrid, experiencing the awakening of the leisure business in of the eighties, symbolized by the Valencian bacalao route, or by the commercial aggressiveness of the banks in the Andalusian left-wing town in the nineties. On this vital route, Josephine’s adventures include a conflicted relationship with her communist mother, or her ambiguous and naive relationships with her bosses or her colleagues. But the conclusion indicates that the social ascent to which Josephine aspires stems from a mirage.

Myths about meritocracy and success

Manuel Guedan has no doubt that “meritocracy exists, but in a minimal percentage, which ultimately makes it the exception, not the norm.” “Of course,” he adds, “it is convenient to know examples of success, but it would also be very instructive to know examples of failures. For this reason, it is necessary to demystify commonplaces that are deeply rooted today, such as the value of innovation or entrepreneurship, where the 1% triumphs and the rest become part of the pack.” Based on his experience of living in the United States during the formative years, Gedan is surprised, like many people, that this false philosophy of success that promoted North American capitalism (the idea that anyone can become president) continues today. long time. In any case, his novel also highlights the close relationship between work and family that exists in Spain, to the point where many jobs in that country are achieved through family networking.

Illusion as a political weapon is a very changeable thing, one must be on the left with illusion and without illusion.

Manuel Guedan

Publisher of Lengua de Trapo and teacher, this novel by Gedan, the second published by him, also comes after two essays on literature and a commissioned political book, Podemos: A Collective History (Akal, 2016). Although he was sympathetic to Podemos from the beginning and now identifies with Más Madrid, the writer elaborates that he has never held public or organic positions. He admits that he no longer discusses politics as much with his Social Democrat father and believes that the coalition government between the PSOE and Podemos is holding on and making progress. Assessing whether frustration has spread among the alt-left, he believes: “It is clear that the most transformative moment that was experienced in 2015 and beyond has now passed. So, illusion as a political weapon is a very changeable thing. In fact, you need to be left with hope and without hope, also remembering that the ideological struggle is inevitable in any sphere of life.

From his essay on Manuel Puig, the Argentinean writer behind Kiss of the Spider Woman, to the present day, Guedan has touched on many labor and professional keys, although he states he is drawn to diversity. “The truth,” he argues, “is that I feel comfortable in the solitude of a writer and in the socialization of a teacher. Until now, I have dedicated myself to many things, because I said yes to everything when labor rights begin, in fact, when you gain the ability to say no. Either way, I like the professional grade.”


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