Academic background: Col·legi Públic de Pràctiques (Palma), Institut Joan Alcover (Palma), degree in Journalism for the Communication Sciences at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Barcelona).
Awards received: Josep Pla Award for the novel Egosurfing (2010), Bartomeu Rosselló-Pòrcel, in recognition of work in the field of cultural entertainment (2010), “Maupassant, mots passants” for a short story in French, awarded by the Alliance Française and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.
Interview with Llucia Ramis
Describe the book in your own words: This novel is about thirtysomethings in Barcelona who are freelancers or artists, and have no real responsibilities or relationships. Nothing has changed since their twenties, but they are already starting their midlife crises. All their things are temporary: Mcjobs, apartments, roommates, lovers. They don’t know how to make decisions. They imagined a different future for themselves, but they’re not really worried yet. They go out every night and drink a lot of beer to forget their problems. They’re still having fun.
Describe any of the major figures, personalities, and characters within the book: The main character is a journalist. She wakes up next to a strange guy on her thirtieth birthday and thinks she’s getting too old for that sort of thing. Her best friends are a coworker who has just gotten fired, a painter, a psychologist addicted to antidepressants, and a lawyer who’s about to get married. The lawyer is planning her bachelorette party and she invites all of her exes. One of them is also an ex of the main character.
How did you come up with the idea for the book? How did it come to be? When I was thirty, I was engaged to be married. I organized a party with all my ex-boyfriends to say goodbye to my sexy single life. At that time my dream was to make love in the Sagrada Familia. At my bachelorette party, I realized that all of my exes were still lost; their lives hadn’t changed at all: They were the ones left standing in a game of musical chairs. My generation is not very focused. The recession doesn’t particularly affect us because we live in a constant recession. In the end, I didn’t get married and I wrote a novel. But it’s not autobiographical.
How did you come up with the title of the book? Since I’m a journalist myself, I know that the clearer you are with journalists the better. I wanted to make a headline. The title explains what’s in the book.
What are your top five favorite books? Why? Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You, by Peter Cameron, is a tender, fun, and intelligent portrait of New York after 9/11. I also like Anne Sexton’s poetry, because it’s very visual and intense, and The Journalist and the Murderer, by Janet Malcolm. And Saul Bellow, J. M. Coetzee, Ann Beattie, Alice Munro, Antonio di Benedetto, Daniel Clowes . . . I’m sorry, I can’t list only five books!
What are your top five favorite films? Why? The Usual Suspects, Being John Malkovich, and The Third Man, because they blur the line between reality and fiction, and you can see how they construct the story. And I also like Clerks and Diamond Flash, a very strange, disturbing, and shocking film by the Spanish cartoonist Carlos Vermut. I think he chose the actors through a casting by Skype. All of them are amateurs.
What are you favorite blogs or websites? Why? Núvol (www.nuvol.com/) is a digital newspaper about Catalan culture. Patrulla de Salvación (http://patrulladesalvacion.com/) and Mongolia (www.revistamongolia.com/) are irreverent websites that satirize the treatment of information and culture by the mass media. El Estafador (elestafador.com) manipulates you with information just like everybody else, but at least it’s open about it and tells you. It’s an online comic.
Are there any holidays or milestones you are particularly keen on? April 23 is Saint George’s day, and in Catalonia it’s also the day of the book, because we commemorate the death of Shakespeare and Cervantes. Years ago, women gave books to men, and men gave roses to women. But nowadays everybody buys books and roses. The booksellers are on the street, there are big crowds all day long, and publishers estimate that they make forty percent of their annual earnings! For Catalan people, Saint George is like Valentine’s Day is for the rest of the world, so it’s the best day of the year. I was born on April 23, and so I always imagine that this celebration of love is my own birthday party.
The TV program I cannot live without is: I can live without TV.
My desert island book is: The book I’m writing. It would be terrible to not be able to finish it because I’d left it at home.
Writer I’d like to have lunch with: Roberto Bolaño. Again.
I used to think I would be: An archaeologist like Indiana Jones.