Before the Interview

I’m about to interview Lidia Falcón. If I don’t have a heart attack before that. I’m shaking and shivering and chattering my teeth. And I have no idea why because she’s very friendly. I’m not planning to ask anything unpleasant.

N suggested I have a glass of wine but that’s only making me woozy.

13 thoughts on “Before the Interview

  1. Good luck! I read on wiki about her and she sounds such a fascinating character.

    Sadly, only 1 play of hers has been translated into English so far.

    “Three Spanish Idiots [es], Madrid, 1987; Gijón, 1988; Valencia and Bilbao, 1990. Translated into English by S. Cuevas and reprinted in Australia as Voices of Women, 1995.”

    So much rubbish gets printed every year, why aren’t there more numerous translations of worthy works from other cultures?


  2. Just finished reading Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” and on purpose haven’t read any analysis of it in order not to influence my perceptions.

    May be, you’ll write your take one day. Most readers of the blog read it at school or later and it could have been a nice discussion.

    The below is not supposed to be a full analysis of Holden, but one aspect which I am unsure is sufficiently discussed in US schools. Hope somebody who studied this work at school may enlighten me.

    My greatest surprise came from discovering that the American quintessential teenage rebel against the ‘phony’ is a boy ‘from 1%’ using the current language. When Holden described his brother DB as being “out in Hollywood… being a prostitute” on the first page, I took it literally that his brother was a gay prostitute in Hollywood rather than (in Holden’s eyes) betraying his talent by writing for movies instead of his own stories.

    Holden rebelling against going to the best private schools and contempt for the students at the Ivies reminded of a quote in Russian lj that (from memory) ‘only people who truly belong to high society may despise it (презирать свет), while others desperately try to gain entrance.’

    One could not write such a novel about an immigrant teenager to US or about a poor person who doesn’t have enough ‘dough’ (pocket money from grandma) to rent hotel rooms for weeks, spent in visiting restaurants and going on dates.

    Holden comments on a 65-year-old hotel worker, who carries his suitcases, having a horrible life, without imagining for a moment his behavior could lead to him descending to the same condition.

    Holden is a nice, kind person in many ways. The book is well written and I’ll take a Russian translation for my mother.

    Yet, his experience is a class-based one. For instance, one of the questions that jumped to my head was ‘OK, I understand why he hates those boarding schools. I would too. Why doesn’t he live at home while going to a usual day school then?’ The option doesn’t occur to anyone at all. The girls he dates are also from his class, attending expensive boarding schools.

    Should many teens identify with Holden, instead of using the book as the opportunity to get into the head of a different kind of person?


    1. My father loves this book but it’s boy stuff. I could never get into it. Male Bildungsroman died a long time ago. Since Catcher, all male Bildungsromane simply rewrite Salinger’s novel. It’s excruciating.

      There is a good new translation into Russian. Get that one and not the horrid, censored, and stupid Райт-Ковалева.


      1. // Since Catcher, all male Bildungsromane simply rewrite Salinger’s novel.

        What about an immigrant male Bildungsromane? It can hardly be the same as Holden’s experience and subconscious assurance nothing too bad will happen to him.

        Has somebody studied it at US school? Is the class aspect completely ignored?


        1. I’m sure it’s been widely taught.

          Immigrant Bildungsromane do exist. La casa en Mango Sreeet or that terrible novel by Junot Diaz I wrote about. But they are clearly addressed at the very white and very privileged. Nothing bad about being either or both, of course.


      2. Of course, Bildungsroman by definition is the genre of people who have time and leasure for patient, slow growing up. It’s an elite genre by default.


  3. Lucky you! I’m envious. I hope you’ll be back with an account of all the interesting things she says. She is a heroine of mine.


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