María Dueñas: The blame for you to write 'Sira' has Tangier

Under Histanomorisco-style arches, overlooking the narrow and turkeys walking through the garden, Maria Dueñas sits at a wicker table of the historic hotel el M

María Dueñas: The blame for you to write 'Sira' has Tangier

Under Histanomorisco-style arches, overlooking the narrow and turkeys walking through the garden, Maria Dueñas sits at a wicker table of the historic hotel el Minzaah. As Paul Bowles did, the American writer who settled in Tangier in 1947 and who also gave his interviews here, accommodated in the bar seats, with a glass in his hand. "The blame for Sira Sira has it Tangier, when I was going from the city, I did it with the feeling that here I left many unwritten novels," he confesses Dueñas in a sunny and warm tomorrow Tangerina.

His is a golden Tangier, between sleep and lost paradise. A Tangier who was a frank port, free of taxes and customs, with its own international area status: a condominium established in 1925 and in which it was half a Europe (Spain, France, Holland, Portugal, Belgium, and United Kingdom) More The United States and the USSR. In that year, the grandfather of María Dueñas was established in Tetouan, a city where his mother was born and that the family would only leave with the independence of Morocco in 1956. "Tetouan was more Spanish and Tangier more international. Here all the Languages, there was a great freedom of religions: Jews lived with Muslim, Catholics and Orthodox ... came foreigners from all over, many writers and intellectuals. It was a very different Morocco. Tangier was full of theaters, cinemas and libraries where you could Finding the censored books in Spain, "explains Dueñas.

That world that she did not live was the scene that prompted her to write when she was a university professor. At age 44, a stranger María Dueñas published the time between seams (2009), a monumental historical novel that has become a phenomenon of Spanish letters: 10 million readers around the world, translated into 35 languages (the last , Arabic) and adapted to a series. Four novels later, Dueñas has become the best-selling author in Spain of the last decade, a throne that had been Carlos Ruiz-Zafón. Her secret of her? Mix the history in uppercase with the smallest stories (the highest level international policy coexists with the life of seamstresses, soups and exiles), a dose of drama and love stories (with their betrends and revenge), argumentary turns and scenarios They go around the world.

While writing the one who was going to be his fifth novel, a trip to Tangier changed his plans. "I realized that I had imposed a self-censorship, I wanted to talk to Tangier again, although I had already done it in time between seams, the only one who prevented me was me, so I decided to return from Sira's hand. No, it would have been a betrayal. And even if it appears at the end, Tangier was the reason for writing the book, "he admits. A book that begins with a wedding in Gibraltar and convulses years of contest in the British Palestine of the 40s to travel by a London destroyed by the war, a Franco and impoverished Spain (with the visit of Eva Perón included: "It was what More interesting than that year, 1947, in that gray and famine period ") and, finally, a very Hollywood outcome in some cliffs of Tangier.

Only six months after its publication, Sira has been erected as the book of the year with a first launch of half a million copies and eleven editions (the last, of 10,000), in addition to 35 programmed translations. "I feel very happy with the reception of readers, it's wonderful," says Dueñas, discreet and sober, every time she is asked for the success of her novels. Despite the stratospheric figures, the best selling writer or Diva paper does not go with it. On the contrary. In the narrow streets of the Medina, where she smells like spices and mint, María Dueñas unfolds as if she were a tangier anymore. He greet her at the carpet store, at the craft stop, in the market ... "Here is as if time stopped. When I write I return to these streets but in a pixelated way: to an atmosphere, an atmosphere", Comment while lowering a steep white alley.

He knows everything about Tangier, his anecdotes and microhistorias. "Those years of the International Tangier have forgotten, perhaps for a matter of misunderstood history: Franco was destined here and perhaps there is a certain rejection ... but Spain has done very little over the decades to preserve its legacy and heritage , Even Spanish is very forgotten, has not remained, despite the work of the Cervantes Institute and that there are Spanish colleges, "regrets the writer. It is not about colonial apology but to preserve a culture: "It is not that Tangier was ours, is that the Spaniards were part of the cultural tissue of the city. And we have forgotten." The Spanish decadence takes shape in the ruins of the Teatro Cervantes, inaugurated in 1913. "During Lustros it was the largest and largest theater in Africa," says Dueñas as he passed by the ruinous building. The Spanish State allowed him to languish until he practically collapsed and in 2019 he was transferred to Morocco, which will initiate a great rehabilitation operation to return his splendor.

Because there was a splendid Tangier, who passed Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote, Gore Vidal, the Beatniks Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs and so many more ... but in Spain we have forgotten.

Updated Date: 23 October 2021, 14:48

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