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Joyce Carol Oates: "I like the corrosive humor"

- 18 reads.

of Christian fundamentalists and medical abortionists treats novel of American writer candidate for Nobel; But also of terrorism, feminism, social classes, boxing, education ... And he has spoken in Bilbao, where he participates se days at Ja Festival!

Joyce Carol Oates, in person, seems to be coming from anor planet, as if it were a fragile little that might hide annihilating powers. It is 79 years old, sometimes it seems more and sometimes it seems less, it carries black Pamela, has slept two hours for change time and follows it everywhere a team of Swedish cameras that film a documentary on its life. Now comes funny. Oates is in Bilbao because Festival Ja!, dedicated to literature and humour, has awarded him a prize to whole of his career (20,000 euros of endowment). It does not seem that humour is guiding thread of American author's vast work, but it will be a question to ask her.

My first book was Alice in Wonderland and second, through mirror. I think that's where humor I like is coming from, one I feel attached to. A very serious humour. I like tradition of political satire, drawings of newspapers. I like corrosive humour and that of Mark Twain, who was instructive and denounced hypocrisies of powerful. It would be tremendous if Mark Twain lived in our time. I don't like cruel humor, one that goes from top to bottom. "But I have done concise stories, y don't have much to do with humour."

Well. If excuse of humor does not work, we can talk about a book of American Martyrs, new novel by Oates (Alfaguara), recently arrived at bookstores. And, although every year re is a new book by American author, this time it is worth stopping for a minute. This time we are facing an important work of truth.

A book of American Martyrs speaks of social classes and of feminism, of justice, of terrorism, of rancor, of boxing, of education, of violence, of religion and of medicine, of abortion and of intolerance. To focus: The novel begins with story of a murder, an attack perpetrated by a Christian fundamentalist named Lur who shoots a medical abortionist (Gus) and his chauffeur in a town in Michigan. After crime, murderer does not flee, gives himself as a martyr to police who will lead him to a very probable death penalty. From re, novel explores lives of two families, victim's and murderer's, and follows m in devastation that leaves crime for 810 pages. For all: Loneliness, resentment, incommunication ... what does all this sound like? To Patria, by Fernando Aramburu, to what if not. For those who do not care about spoilers, here goes one: Oates also ends his novel with a hug of reconciliation between two women.

In a Book of American Martyrs, emphasis is not on politics but on religious dogmat ism and in social classes. Although focus is not exactly poor/good, rich/bad. "This is a novel about social classes, about struggle between educated middle classes and uneducated working classes, between religious and secular", explains Oates, professor at Princeton, Berkeley and New York University and Old neighborhood nursery. I was born into a working-class family that was not particularly religious. Sometimes we went to mass, but relationship of Catholics with Jesus was always distant, it was nothing intimate. '

Lur, Christian terrorist of his novel, is a carpenter who feels that Jesus speaks to him. To reach that point, he had to rape a woman, have a time of alcoholic, found a family, go through an evangelist seminar whose classes were too complicated for him, get to prostitution and return to fold with a lot of willpower. We can censure his actions, but he, in narrative he makes of himself, has a very moral sense of his passing through earth.

"He has no sense of humour." "He's tired, he's trapped, he's not free," says Oates of his character. And, besides, y manipulate it. He is told that abortion is more than a medical practice that can be approved or criticized, a butcher shop perpetrated by evil sadists. So voice that Lur identifies with Christ says to him: "You are a soldier of God, give your life for me" and n drama begins.

On or side is Gus, a doctor, a feminist, a charmer, a cult. Her mor is a New York intellectual Refinadísma . His wife, a lawyer who writes about violence against women, but who has sacrificed her career. He has two children and drags m from town to town because his mission in world is to bring "freedom of gestation" by lost counties of Ohio and Michigan. He finds a lot of meaning to that sacrifice. His wife and children, not so much. Actually, Gus, like his killer, has a martyr's vocation.

"I lived in Michigan, but it was a long time ago," says Oates. It's complicated to summarize that time. I taught in college and was happy about it, because it was my first position as a teacher. He had good students. But I was caught in racial riots of 1967 in Detroit. The scenery is made of hills and water. It's hard but not as much as west. And n re was Detroit, which was big city of heavy industry. "It was also a bastion of Christianity."

What has happened in my country since n is that distances between rich and poor have grown immensely. middle class has become something strange, ' continues writer, when asked what has changed since those years until era Trump. At that time I would have been very surprised to learn that religion would still be part of political debate. And regression of rights of women and immigrants ... " Obama was an excellent president, but ..."

But n came Donald Trump. "I'm in resistance," says Oates, my serious.

After crime, a Book of American Martyrs follows daughters of Lur and Gus in ir attempts to remake ir lives. that of Lur is so angry that it gives him to box and, at that point, book opens a beautiful capsule of 100 pages dedicated to gyms and fights. The or one is stumbling until he finds a shelter in new York.

And conclusion is that what men have destroyed with ir predisposition to violence and martyrdom, women rebuild it.

Is violence an essentially masculine matter? Something that is in our culture or hormones we release? That's big question. I know a lot of feministmen, peaceful and patient and many cruel women. But role of men has always been to be Warriors. '

We need to talk about mors of this novel. There are, in short, three (two mors and one grandmor), and three, in one way or anor, refuse ir responsibility as mors. Is that right? none of m want to feel trapped in role expected of m, each for different circumstances. "Only one of m decides what he wants to be."

-If this book had had 100 more pages, I would have liked to dedicate it to Jenna, doctor's wife.

-What I wanted with Jenna was to allow him to be free, to get out of fate that was condemned and no one disturbed her, neir did we. He shows up and disappears, maybe he has a new partner or maybe not. He had lived his entire life being shadow of a heroic man and needed space to redefineE.

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