Interview Serbia II

1.          “La muerte lenta de Luciana B.” became last year a huge bestseller both in Latin America and many other countries. Were you surprised, since US and England have different tradition of crime novels?
Many critics pointed out that this was not an “ortodox” crime novel, I was glad to see that they share what I think about this novel: it is much more a story of suspense and ambiguity about conjectures, and even a story about esthetic points of view than a piling up of crimes.

2.          Can we read “La muerte lenta de Luciana B.” as novel about evil? Old story  talking to modern way?
This is certainly one of the main dimensions of the novel. Once again, as in most of my books, there is a theme coming from the past, that survives in different ways in present times. In this case the theme is  the desire of revenge, the Talion proportion, and the insufficiency of Justice to repair human offenses.

3.          Your novel “La Mujer del Maestro” was also book about writers, writing and relationships in literary circles.  In “La muerte lenta de Luciana B.” you also describe antagonism and jealousy between writers. Did someone recognize Argentine writer’s scene or it is only fiction?
 You can recognize not exactly real characters of our literary “playground” but maybe some of the literary discussion I was involved in during last years, in particular one about tradition and “avant gard” literary movements, and also about causality and simulation of chance in literature. In this novel the narrator sosteins many of the points of view that I criticize in one of my articles “Un ejercicio de esgrima” (A Fencing Exercise)

4.          At the beginning of  the novel Kloster seems to have elements of Thomas Pynchon and later of Stephen King. Is it on purpose?
I didn’t think in any of these writers, I had more in mind the style of Patricia Highsmith. And it was important for the story that he had a past of long distances swimmer. I liked this also in a metaphorical sense, the struggle against oneself and against water in long distances is something that novelists know too well.

5.          Central theme in Your novel “La muerte lenta de Luciana B.” is idea of punishment. Seven victims guide to Bible, isn’t it?
Yes, I wanted to point out this curious fact about justice. The first proportion indicated in the Bible for punishment is the one that God reserves for himself, and it is quite uneven: seven for one. Of course, number seven in the Bible has the meaning of completion, not neccesarily the literal number 7. Still, this indicates that God was at those times quite a cruel judge. What I ask in my novel is if it is possible to find here something more that the will of crushing and menace domination, if it is possible to find some trace of rational justice in this lack of proportion.

6.          Your novel does not offer a definitive solution. And “La muerte lenta de Luciana B.” is based on hypothesis. One of them is that Kloster  is behind all of the deaths. What about the others?
There are at least other three possibilities: the figure of chance, the guilt of Luciana, and this daimon of inspiration that Kloster invocates in his claim for revenge.

7.          You told that “subtext” of “La muerte lenta de Luciana B.” is related to the brutal 1976-1983 military dictatorship in Argentina. Can you explain that?
What I said is that for argentinian people all this discussion about crime, retaliation and proportions for punishments have a second unavoidable ring, related with the 30 years old discussion in our political life about the way to punish the crimes of the militar dictatorship… But (deliberately) there is nothing about our political life in the novel.

8.          Your novel “Crímenes imperceptibles” was made into a movie by Spanish director Alex de la Iglesia. Do you like this movie? Did it catch the spirit of your novel?
      Yes, I liked most of it. The actors were superb, John Hurt did a great job, and I also liked Elijah Wood very much. I think that the movie followed the main lines of the novel, with some variations, many of them ruled by film constrains and simplifications. But in general I do think that it is quite faithful to the spirit of the novel.

9.          You have a Ph.D. in mathematical logic and you were a professor of the University of Buenos Aires. Now you are professional writer. How did you take this decision?
It was a difficult decision but at the same time something I had dreamed about during years: to have the time for devoting myself just to writing and to recover also the time for reading. I wanted to have my time back for reading as I used to do in my youth, I am reading now many of the books I had in an eternal waiting list… And I am also planning some more challenging projects for future novels.

10.        Your new book “Gödel (for all)” is about famous mathematician Kurt Gödel. Is it theoretical book?
It is a book that starts from zero, and  becomes deeper chapter after chapter. The first four chapters do not have mathematical proofs but we explain in detail the Gödel incompleteness statements and their philosophical consecuences. We also discuss the analogies (and distorsions) of several attempts to apply  Gödel’s results in social sciences. The second half of the book is a proof of the theorems, developed in the most possible “soft” way, without any mathematical technicality. And yet completely accurate. The general idea is that anyone with enough patience could read the whole book without any mathematical previous training.

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