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“Esperanza Aguirre and my brother have robbed me”

Iñigo Ramírez de Haro has just published ‘La Mala Sangre’ (B. Penguin Random House Editions), a monumental novel with aromas of Ibero-American literature, French drama, English irony and Spanish bad milk. Aristocrat, diplomat, philosopher, aeronautical engineer, but above all playwright, something that is breathed in his novel.

The devil is boredom?

Definitely. The history of humanity is the history of boredom and also the history of suffering. Capitalism, no matter how many detractors it may have, is unrivaled because it has made people less bored. Although the question also raises another issue: is the devil a good thing or a bad thing? And the same goes for boredom. For those of us who have been very bored in childhood, boredom is a source of creation and reflection.

‘Bad Blood’ nimbly combines reality and fiction, probably so as not to unsettle the reader at any time. Is fiction humor and reality cruelty?

So from the outset it is a simplification, and I have to resist (laughs). Reality is cruel, of course, and it is bitter, as I say on the first page of the book, but it is also many other things. Fiction is precisely the way to tell the truth.

On that first page he also quotes Nabokov: “Only fiction tells the truth.”

The truth is not in the words, but in their context. A police report, the most literal transcript possible, does not tell the truth. Fiction, on the other hand, what it allows is to create a situation where the truth appears, or in any case my truth. Absolute truth does not exist either.

Have you loved all of your characters?

Not only have I loved them, but I have laughed a lot with them. And I still laugh when I reread the novel.

Even…

Of the eight stories that I tell, the one about the current Count of Bornos, my brother, married to Esperanza Aguirre, is probably not the most interesting but it is the one that the media likes the most. Even that one has given me great pleasure writing it. They have stolen from me and yet when you start writing you forget and start living in literary creation. The word ‘loved’ after everything that has happened is a complicated word… but yes, even to them. That is the great secret of writing.

“Of the eight stories that I tell, the one about the current Count of Bornos, my brother, married to Esperanza Aguirre, is probably not the most interesting but it is the one that the media likes the most”

The epilogue of the book is a very personal monologue. Looking for catharsis?

The entire construction leads to the epilogue, where yes, I get naked. For me it is the tragic conclusion of 500 years of the lineage to which I belong. The book explains this feeling of a closed sect governed by blood. When the Jesuits declared me subnormal, I had to build myself and that meant ‘working’, ‘doing’, that is, leaving the values ​​of the aristocracy. In the end, I don’t know if I’ve made it. The whole book talks about how difficult it is to remove the tare.

Mihura said that a resentful person cannot write humor…

Completely agree, not only that but I believe that this book is, once again, the demonstration that thanks to humor there is salvation. Once real justice fails you, at least humor allows you poetic justice, a consolation.

Is humor salvation?

We live in a Christian tradition in which humor is the most punished (whether you are a believer or a non-believer). A National Dramatic Center, for example, will never program a comedy show because it is still considered inferior. This already comes from Greece, the polis paid for the tragedies but not the comedies, which were financed by ticket sales. My doctoral thesis ‘Comedy against philosophy and monotheism’ deals with how comedy throughout history has always prevailed against the dominant power. Our illustrious serious playwrights have a lot of fame, but they are the most docile. Comedy is much more dangerous.

And we continue like this since the Greeks…

It is pathetic to see that public money in Spain still always goes to what I call the creation of a pulpit, pure morality, that is, to tell you what is right to think and what is wrong, how to live… When you go to the part of the works scheduled by public institutions, you crouch down saying: “I’m terrible… I have no social conscience… or family… I have to change!”. A disgrace.

“I do believe that honor is fundamental for relationships with others. The human being is a social being by definition. To be social you have to have a word”

Is the playwright inside the novelist?

Indeed, the theatrical technique, dramatic action and dialogues are my natural form of expression, which work very well in the novel.

What I have seen is that there can be a great series.

I’ve always thought so, yes.

If I lie to Calderón and tell him that “honor is the heritage of the soul”…

I don’t know what the soul is, I’ve never known it and look I’m looking for it, eh! I believe that there is only flesh, matter, mind, therefore when I hear the word soul, I get lost.

And the word ‘honor’?

I do believe that honor is essential for relationships with others. The human being is a social being by definition. To be social you have to have a word.

We continue with Zorrilla: «Is it better to live on that remote shore?».

If you are referring to Paris, where I live, it has great advantages, the first being that it is a beautiful city and the second, that it is more interested in culture. Here the cultural debate has less weight.

Dumas wrote: “Cherchez la femme!” Should we look for it in her book?

There is a lot of it in the novel. They are stories of passion, love, unsatisfied desires… In all the stories, love is central and there is the ‘femme’ from different perspectives. Even in my brother’s story that starts with his wedding and the night… (laughs).

To finish, Don Mendo: “If you overdo it, it’s worse”?

I think it’s worse not to arrive.

I knew it.

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