Interview with the author

(Lluís Bonada, El Temps, 14.IV.1997)

—During the presentation of the book to the communications media, the publisher, Xavier Folch, said that with this book you are taking a new path. Does that mean that your previous path was not clear enough?
-No. It seems there are two kinds of writers, those who change books and those who always write the same one. I like to change. El món d'Horaci was baroque, I placed the emphasis on form, and this book aims to be conceptual: form goes unnoticed, and yet it is ambitious. I want to deal with large themes: love, death, relations with the state, and also the tedium of life. My idea is to write books which do not resemble each other, even though they have points in common.

—What would those points be?
-Documentation. I studied journalism, and it’s natural that I should document myself beforehand. Then humour, an essential ingredient in literature. Writing without a sense of humour has no interest.

—The protagonist-narrator of the story is an immortal man who writes a letter, as you say, and in principle he seems sincere. Why did you make him immortal?
-Well, it was an excuse for talking about modernity, and it’s also to do with the end of the millenium. Now that it’s ending, many other things are ending. And he, too, has the hope that his life will end, because he’s tired of living. He writes his letter because he’s sentenced to life imprisonment, and he wants to be killed and left in peace.

—Why do you immortailse him at the age of twenty-three?
-It’s my favourite age. The moment when each person lives differently, the moment when you finish studying and you’re not longer an adolescent. You’re formed and you’re free, but you haven’t yet been integrated into the machinery of marriage, employment and society. A sweet moment, a moment of plenitude, it seems to me.

—Once the perennial age is established, are there any more extraordinary things in the book?
-No, apart from the fact that real figures have fictitious dialogues with the character.

—I see that the personality of the immortal narrator doesn’t interest you much.
-His personality isn’t very interesting. He’s immortal somewhat by chance.

—Not through his own merits...
-No. The drama is precisely that immortality is too big for him and becomes a problem. If he had a more interesting personality perhaps he would take more advantage of it. He’s a very mediocre being.

—And his vision is very neutral, isn’t it? There are no connotations of candour nor of irony.
-It’s a very innocent vision. He’s concerned about his own interests. He never wants to change the world or make comments of general interest. He’s not a revolutionary, nor a moralist, nor a visionary. He only talks about himself.