The writer Dominican based in the United States Rey Andújar defines his novel the useless gestureswhich is now published for the first time outside of Cuba and his country, as the antithesis of the ideal picture of the “Caribbean All Inclusive”, the “all inclusive” for tourists.
“It is the other side of the selfie”, the “back room of the report”, he points out this Wednesday in a telephone interview with Eph from Chicago, the place where this signer of the “Caribbean Pop Manifesto” resides and where he teaches at Governors State University.
Andújar, who is 45 years old and has been living outside his country for 22, has found in the American publishing house La Pereza the way to rescue a police novel from the limbo of books that, he assures, has not lost its validity despite being more than seven years old. published.
Moreover, he says, it has gained weight with “everything that has happened” in the Caribbean and in Latin America since 2015, the year in which the useless gestures won the ALBA Narrative Latin American Novel Award.
“ALL INCLUSIVE” OF VIOLENCE AND CORRUPTION
The story revolves around a murder case related to a certain sphere of military power and the return to the country of the victim’s son, who, in addition to taking care of the funeral, must finish certain things that his father left halfway and at the same time struggle with their own unfinished business. All this within the framework of the transitions of power from Balaguerism to the Dominican Liberation Party (PLD).
“The ‘ideal’, ‘harmonious’ and ‘happy’ image of the Dominican Republic will be blurred by Andújar’s irony, and will give way to a portrait invaded by corruption,” says Adriana Rodríguez Alfonso, of the La Pereza website. University of Salamanca.
Andujar presented the useless gestures to the literary contest, instituted by the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) and the Dulce María Loynaz Cultural Center in Havana, due to the fact that the negotiations with publishers to publish it did not prosper.
The award-winning book was published in Cuba “in a very careful edition” that did not cross borders and Andújar, despite international recognition, found it difficult for his novel to see the light of the press.
“Some publishers told me that they were not interested in award-winning books,” says this writer, who will release his new novel at the end of the year, The germ of the fatalwith Elephanta, an independent Mexican publisher.
The writer, always linked to the cinematographic world and more so since Candlea novel before the useless gestureswas recently made into a movie, sees the “effervescence” of small publishers as a beacon of hope in the face of the “precariousness” of the publishing situation in Latin America.
A PRECARIOUS EDITORIAL WORLD
In addition to the American La Pereza and the Mexican Elefanta, he mentions labels such as the Argentine Corregidor and the Chilean Banda Propia. Likewise, it ensures that there is a market niche for its “select” content and the possibility of creating a “mini-chain” of Latin American and Caribbean distribution.
The lack of distribution, the drop in the reading index due to the rise in the cost of living and the disappearance of bookstores that “have had fewer opportunities to reinvent themselves” in the face of the change in business model and type of reader, are the problems more pressing.
As a cultural adviser to the current Dominican Government, which he is quick to point out does not prevent him from exercising his “critical eye”, he believes that after the Cinema Law in his country, which “revolutionized” the sector and generated employment and wealth, now It should be the turn of what has to do with books and literature.
The Patronage Law, already approved but still to be developed, could be the framework for establishing public-private partnerships that promote a boost in the sector, he points out.
Andújar misses the times when there were exchanges of catalogs between the offices of Spanish publishers in different Latin American countries and a book written by a Dominican could reach Puerto Rican or Colombian readers, when the distance was no greater than geographical.
When asked if there is relief in Dominican literature and specifically if someone can take the place of Junot Díaz, he affirms that, although it is a “bright meteor”, we must not forget Julia Álvarez or younger writers such as Elizabeth Acevedo or Angie Cruz, who have triumphed in the US.
Andújar is one of the signing artists of the so-called Caribbean Pop Manifesto in which it is proclaimed that “the beauty, the all-inclusive, (is) the atrocious.” “Caribbean is being and being. It is catastrophe and calamity, unsustainable chance, enduring reality and enjoying it down to its last molecule”, point out these artists.