In what do prone beings become when they allow themselves to be invaded, whether in loving surrender, in idolatry, or in submission to a treacherous artificer? This question is asked by the writer Enrique Serna in its new book allegiance to the ghost (Alfaguara, 2022), which brings together seven stories from tragicomic fictionswhere the common denominator of its protagonists is the irruption of their will under the influence of their desires, low passions and longings.
The bitter twilight of a provincial Don Juan, the dispute of a couple for the affection of their pet, a teacher in love with his best student, the pathological devotion from an employee to a diva Hollywood and the collapse of a grandmother when her bed invades political polarization of the country, are part of the stories, where supernatural forces govern their lives.
“When I was writing the seller of silencea historical novel that forced me to be very rigorous in the period constructionnot to commit anachronisms and become a kind of medium who tries to resurrect a figure from the past, perhaps, the imagination for wanting to flee to stories more pleasant I began to play with ideas for stories; Once the novel was finished, I began to write them and this book came from there”, narrates Enrique Serna.
They overcome before their impulses
In interview with Indigo Reportthe 2019 winner of the Jose Emilio Pacheco Award to Literary Excellence relates that this book is based on the internal struggle of people in the face of their amorous passions, of how control is lost due to a romantic dream which ends up disintegrating personalitybecoming someone different or only discovering himself possessed by dominant specters.
“I wanted to make an analogy between that existential enslavement with issues such as supernatural force, that someone comes to doubt their own existence, “he says.
Dire and even perverse stories of beings whose destiny could be written based on their reactions to the drivesbut not for that, Enrique Serna decontextualizes of contemporary Mexico.
For example, the story “Grandma in brama” is the story of a lady bourgeois in love of a proletarian poet, in full Presidential campaign of 2018, when there is a great political polarization and society is divided into antagonistic factions.
“I wanted to place my characters in the current historic context Y Socialbecause it can be very nice that they influence their relations; In ‘Abuela en brama’ the political issue is going to have an impact on their relationship for a boy, because neither of them fits into the other’s environment and this ends up being an important factor so that love cannot prosper, ”he indicates.
Although in certain storieslike the aforementioned, can present “heated political discussions”, the author indicates that, in the end, the reader is the one who will have the last word, because in this case of choosing a party he is impartial.
“I think that fiction not a good field to express political viewsthat’s why I have others journalistic tribunes and I have done it in particular about this Government, but fiction seems to me to be a space where I limit myself to showing social doors that come into conflict and being faithful to my characters, without wanting to take sides”, he explains.
In this sense, Enrique Serna talks that each book deals with emotionally involve with his characters, because it is the only way to narrate from his conscience and give an illusion of life, but, at the same time, he observes them with a certain detachment to show his “ridiculous” side, a characteristic of any human being, including him .
In the story “The Maleficent Ring” Enrique Serna presents Leonardo Pimentelan author with whom he makes a metaliterary exercise and that might as well work as your alter ego.
“It has certain similarities with me, it is a kind of parody that I do, where Pimentel explains to the main character why he is involved in that quagmireI wanted to be a game between those two characters.
“I always start from the observation of my own character, so I give certain attributes to a character that he placed in a circumstance that may be very different from the one I live in and then it begins to take on a life of its own. All the characters have something of me, including the women, of course, for example, the protagonist of ‘Abuela en brama’ has a lot of my own character and age”, she relates.
giving life to female characters It has allowed him, in addition to knowing what life looks like from that perspective, to face an obligatory challenge as an author; because putting himself in the place of the opposite sex is a very liberating experience for him.
The figure of ‘Don Juan’ for Enrique Serna
Another characteristic in his stories is the figure of “Don Juan”, men who, due to their attempt to seduction fall into toxic masculinities.
“In particular, in two stories there is a existential watershed, where those erotic adventures have big consequences; when there is a victorious Don Juan his ego swells disproportionately, I like them and I am interested in bursting those bubbles to show what is left when the ego returns to its natural size.
“Yes, there is a critique of masculinity where these men have the appearance of a conqueror, but who turn out to be vulnerable; in the end, they will end up in a critical situation. They are men who, on the one hand, are used to throwing away and who feel irresistible to her power of seduction and who fall in love”, he indicates.
Each story has conductive thread a raw, direct and open humor, orchestrated by the virtuosity of Enrique Serna, which turns the book into a series between joys and misfortunes of the characters that may well be inspired by real life.
“I don’t think he’s a pure satirist, because satire tends to make grotesque figures, distort the personality and caricature; I did take them seriously feelings of my characters, rather I have the soul of a comedian, it is a collection of condensed comedies”, he points out.
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