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Federico Andahazi



Federico Andahazi

By Rodrigo Arias

Why did you decide to be a writer?

It has to do with a family history. On the one hand, the impact that generated in me my grandfather library. He was a publisher and he had to burn his books during the last dictatorship. That is the first reason: to rebuild that library. On the other hand, my father was a poet. By accident, when I was a boy, almost by accident, I found at the library one book of which he was the author. In that moment, began my relationship with writing. In fact, I began writing poetry to be like my father. From poetry I jump to writing prose. I Attempted writing some short stories without fortune.

  Federico Andahazi

And in view of that impossibility to do it, I began writing a novel. My first work was called "El oficio de los santos”, I finished it when I was 20 years old. This text ended up working like a large bag of resources. Many moments of "The Anatomist”, “The Merciful women" and “The Prince" are fragments of that first novel.

There is a very strong relationship between your work and history. Why?

I'm not a writer interested on history as a way to reach the truth. My novels are not historical ones. I try to set my Literature in fiction, and if I have to change history to write my literature, I do it. The anatomist and The merciful women are full of deliberate inexactitudes. Constructions in my novels are fictitious. On the other hand, that’s rare because Literature does nothing to do with the truth.  have any nexus in relation to the truth. Literature is based on fiction. It´s a lie well told.

What is your idea of Literature?

My idea of Literature crosses through fiction way. I do not try to rebuild reality. My goal is to write to blur. “The Merciful women" is not accurate with the historical fact which it is about. That historical fact gave me the opportunity of going deeper in fiction. I think that Literature is supported by itself. As Baudelaire said: a manuscript that it´s written again.

In an interview you said that Literature seemed to be against some institutions. Do you think that that strength is the one that allows you to face the Power circles?

Literature always annoyed the power circles because it is related with desire. The power can’t face desire. It has it own logic. The power is a machine whose only goal is to regulate every time, and desire and literature goes just in the opposite sense. Desire and Literature look after the end of those legal things. Literature has to afford contempt, banning and the canonization that the power circles try to impose. I think these are the three ways the power circles have to fight against literature. 
Where do you situate yourself regarding the map of contemporary Argentineans writers?

You can only see which ones were your literary pares after 50 years. There´s a still relevant discussion, but a bit boring: young authors and the Latin-American boom. During a Congress in Spain a Chilenean writer proposed the idea of “killing” those Latin-American parents. In my speech, I said that was not necessary: because there were a literary genocide. It wasn’t necessary to kill those literary parents: they had been murderer. For that reason, when I write I try to honor Walsh, Conti, authors that were killed. Anyway, I think this is a very rich moment of our literature; regarding other times, we have now a very heterogeneous group. Writers like Leopoldo Brizuela, Pablo De Santis, Marcos Herrera... Their universes are totally different between each other, as a cause of the premature inheritance received by those parents. Those inheritances, given in many ways, are those which have caused this diversity.

What do you think about internet? What kind of relationship do you have with it?
I think nowadays, we assist to the Internet pre history. It´s still growing up. It´s still a very rough Internet which needs some graphic it hasn’t get yet. So that, we have to think what it is going to become. The best thing of Internet is that it give us the opportunity of “send” a lot of things. This democratize a bit more the information. But, if we think that only 5% of the population of the world has internet, the democratization would be a very slow one. However, it´s interesting the intimacy that it gives us: that’s the ideal place to porn and also for all those material that have no place in the classic mass media. I think this last thing is what worries the most to the power circles.
Would you like to publish your next book in the Internet?

I have published some short stories in the Internet, in some pages that I can´t remember at this moment. But it seems to me that there we have to improve the support. Because, until now, what offers the book is impossible replace. At the present time the book continues being more practical. I cannot spend more than two hours in front of the screen because I have a headache. Until now, the electronic book experiences were not absolutely good. Think about Stephen King. In that case it wasn´t a Stephen King failure, but of the readers and the format? Support? All this demonstrate us that we are in the prehistory of Internet. The day a printer that give you a printed book from the Internet is created, publishing houses and bookstores will fall down. 

Which are the elements that make you company while you write?

The computer, although I still write by hand and then I transcribe what I wrote to the machine; a large chest with "secret” papers, where I have some notes; the Espasa Calpe Encyclopedia; drawers full of papers; vain attempts of entering technology with digital cameras that ends in nothing; useless agendas; mate; and the printer, that is what I value more, and a T key to disarm motorcycles.

How is your writing process?

I write by night. Years ago I write at the Academy, at Callao and Corrientes corner. Now it´s closer a billiard at Lacroze and Alvarez Thomas or Serrano square at Palermo. I can write from 23 to 3 hours. I wake up at about 2 p.m and then I transcribe what I wrote from the notebook to the computer. Writing in notebooks has it benefits; this way you do one first correction of your work when you transcribed it to the computer. Although, when I wrote the book, I forget of that paper. Anyway, the work of writing consists in writing and rewriting over and over again.

Which are your preferred books, those that are always near you? 

The "Borges, Complete work", short stories by Quiroga; Jack London, who  taught me that writing was possible; Camilo Jose Cela, a disagreeable guy, but a magnificent writer; Santiago Gamboa, a writer and a Colombian friend; "The Prince", by Maquiavelo. And Osvaldo Soriano, an unforgettable person. Osvaldo read some parts of "The Anatomist" and to tell you the truth that made me proud. These are the books that make me feel passionate and are those I have by hand, and very close. I’m always consulting them.

We know that you are a motorcycles fan. Which is your relationship with them?

I do not have a relationship from speed or vertigo like some “motoqueros”. It is a passionate relation. My intention is to be able to fix these tiny beasts from 1937 and to make them run. I only want to revive them and then listen to their motors noise. I insist, my relation with them has to do with my intention of fix them. I´m not going to deny you that, time to time, I go out for a ride with some of them.

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