A journey back in time to the end of the 18th century and a love story based on a legend between a Kaskaskia Indian and a Creole woman have helped Luz Gabás to weave together a filigree of characters and real events in what she considers to be her best novel to date. . For now, Far from Louisiana he has tried to embrace the Planet Award.
Far from Louisiana It is a historical novel, but it has love, a lot of love, and different kinds of love.
That’s how it is. Carrying on the river of Suzette’s life is her sisterly relationship with her sister Margaux. For me, she represents reason, enlightenment, the concept of duty, of what has to be done, while Suzette is the close romanticism, the desire for freedom, she reveals what she can within the times that she has to live. It is a very nice relationship. There is the love for the land represented by the figure of Ishcate de Kaskaskia, the Indian who has grown up between two worlds and who sees how the second is taking over the first, which saddens him. There is another type of love, which is work, the sense of responsibility of rulers who are going to serve their country… And, finally, there is romantic love, the desire, passion and attraction of a man and a woman of two different worlds that see how the context in which they have to live loads them with obstacles.
With this universal sentiment, it is possible to explain major underlying issues such as in this case the social conflict, the crossroads of cultures, life across, for example, the Mississippi River at the end of the 18th century…?
Is there a novel that does not talk about love? What is in the novels are great characters (or not) that are related and inevitably arises the desire to share, to walk through life with someone. It is the concept that sharing your life with another person makes you better and even completes you.
This book has been a great challenge”
When he was awarded this prize, he commented that he almost lost his health for the arduous task of documentation that he has carried out for almost three years. Is there so much historical novel now that sometimes anything goes?
It’s more a matter of finding the balance. The historical novel implies a commitment to history, that the facts that you tell are contrasted and true, and that the fictional part is credible. Veracity and credibility are two different concepts, but they complement each other. One part cannot be taken over from the other. I think that the novels that have reached the public are those in which the information has been well dissolved to create the scenarios, but not to give a history lesson. This is easy to say, but difficult to achieve.
Is there more passion or more reason in this novel?
I believe that the tension between passion and reason is carried by all of us in life. How many times does the heart tell you one thing and the head another! In my case, I have always really liked the romantic movement of the 19th century and that is why it already appears in the novel. Love, death, spirituality, duty, obligation, what I want to do and what I really do… that’s life.
And in his life?
I am of the tension. In my balance, apparently there is more reason, but inside there is a boiling volcano, that’s why I am a writer.
It is not a well-known fact that Spain occupied up to a third of North America. In this case we are talking about Louisiana, a territory that she received from England after winning the war against France. Was it a legacy poisoned by the difficulty of governing this area?
Yes, France got rid of an immense territory that produced a lot of expenses and passed to Spain some lands whose limits were not even very clear. We had to start populating it, with everything it cost, paying the colonists for the trip… And there was no gold there, there was fur… It was a very complicated time and it only lasted four decades, so it hasn’t been left very well either. collected in history.
Is there a novel that does not talk about love?
And how did you get there?
I knew some headlines on the subject, but not too much, until in Zenda they asked me for a story about the role of Spain in the independence of the United States and there I began to refresh ideas and, suddenly, I saw it. I saw the context, the place, the Spaniards in meetings with the natives, a young Creole… I came across a legend of a native Kaskaskia Indian who fell in love with the daughter of a French merchant, they ran away, they were caught… I was very clear that there was a novel there.
Is this type of literature a way to instruct without boring?
Always. This is in my way of being. I have been a teacher for many years and it seems that there always has to be something useful. I like that the novels I read entertain me, because I want to escape a bit from my real life and that they teach me. I’m not just talking about history lessons. For example, Cristina Campos’s novel provokes reflection and that for me is also learning. The truth is that it is rare that I do not like a novel because I always find something.
Do you think this is your best novel?
I’m about to say yes. Due to the literary challenge in terms of voices, scenes… It’s just that it’s been a great challenge.
How do you imagine it if someone decides to take it to the movies?
It would be a great movie with a production expense than a sailor cloth. It has to be very expensive!
If it is taken to the cinema it will be a movie”
You are from a town, Monzón, and you live in another, Benasque, of which you were mayor for four years. Elections are coming soon in which people will begin to hear about an empty Spain. What arouses you?
I can answer you more from life experience than as a politician, because I have never considered myself a politician. The administration moves too slowly, it is so. I try to focus on the positive… It is true that now there are more places where the fiber reaches; Well, come on, maybe two more families stay…
The problem is that decisions are made in offices far from the daily life of the people who inhabit the rural world and, therefore, do not meet the real needs of those who live there. I think they should kick the territory more and meet with the neighbors not only when there are elections. In order for people to stay in the rural world, conditions must be met that many times, the truth, put those of us who live there to the test.
Do you already have a story in your head for when you return to your Pyrenees after the planetary madness?
Ideas yes, but now I feel that I am beginning to wean this novel and I have to accompany her on this trip until she picks up a run. At the moment there is nothing concrete.
She is the first author to win the million euros alone. What are you going to spend it on?
The first half is for the Treasury. The other one will help me to have time and calm to be able to write the next one. It certainly gives me peace of mind.