Aixa de la Cruz is a talented novelist from the Basque Country. But as it so often happens, as a human being she doesn’t remotely live up to her own books. This became painfully clear to me as I read her autobiographical narrative Change Your Mind. I don’t think she could have come off as more vapid, smug, superficial and stupid if she tried. Snippets of badly digested “feminist” theories from 30 years ago are mixed with self-aggrandizing braying about her utterly imaginary victimhood that nobody can understand because she’s so, oh so, complex.
I’ll never get over the unfairness of this. I’d give a lot to be able to write a novel like De la Cruz’s La línea de frente. But I can’t. I have no talent. I do have a personality that is a lot more interesting than hers, although that’s not hard because a doorknob is more interesting. But that doesn’t translate into talent.
Some of you might remember a popular feminist blogger who retired a few years ago, Melissa McEwan. Imagine a more pompous, smug version of her. Now you know what De la Cruz sounds like in this book. And yes, I, too, thought it wasn’t possible to beat the Shakesville record of aggrieved smugness but it turns out there’s no limit to human ingenuity.
This book is so so badly written. It gets funny, though. De la Cruz describes her doctoral dissertation, and it’s clear that she plagiarized it completely from Susan Faludi’s Backlash. But she’s so superior, she doesn’t conceive of the possibility that another Spanish speaker might have read Faludi and will recognize the argument from De la Cruz’s retelling.
In the end, Change Your Mind didn’t change mine. Talented artists can be complete bloody idiots. Also, vacuous people with no personalities around the world love to recite the slogans of the American left because that makes them feel less empty inside.