Carlota Gurt: “When you write, you capture fragments of life, people and emotions. They are never pure invention ”

Translator and communicator Carlota Gurt presented her first novel this Friday at the Martorell Library, entitled Alone (Proa Edicions). A play in which the protagonist, Mei, flees the comfort zone as a result of a romantic break-up with her partner and begins a new life in the rural world. The writer Jesús Lana and the journalist Míriam Riera have presented the author, accompanied by the Councilor for Culture, Andreu González.

Gurt has a degree in Translation and Interpreting, Humanities, Business, Oriental Studies and Audiovisual Communication. Between 1998 and 2010 he worked in the performing arts with La Fura dels Baus and at the Temporada Alta Festival. He began to enter the world of writing in 2020, when he published the collection of short stories Cavalcarem toda la nit with which he won the Mercè Rodoreda prize.

In an interview to the program Martorelletres of Ràdio Martorell, explains the main features of a work that has drunk from different sources of inspiration and that have passed through the personal sieve of the author.

Charlotte, to Alone you are talking about Mei Sala, who, due to a crisis as a couple, goes to the family’s old farmhouse. In a way, it rebels against a reality that we have in front of us and that we do not like, and proposes to make a change of life. In a way, is it a critique of society that stays in the comfort zone?

Rather than critique, I portray it. We are always very afraid to change our lives. We are very established in the complaint in areas such as our home, such as work… We do not like things, but we do nothing. Fear paralyzes us. So you have to make a plan. Here I have tried to portray the moment when you dare to make the leap. It’s always good to try.

And Mei goes down a certain path where nothing is what it seems…

Or yes! Because what are things? They are nothing, just what we think they are! Reality does not exist, only versions of reality exist, so what we see is this version of reality, that of it.

Nature plays an important role in the book. It is the one that welcomes the protagonist.

Nature in general is a somewhat ambiguous space, because on the one hand it reconnects us with animality and with something we have even threatens us: there are animals and dangers that we do not know and to which we are not accustomed. That’s why I wanted to portray this double side of nature.

And does this nature revitalize and regenerate?

Yes, it is regenerating. I live in the woods and when I’m very busy I go out and walk a little, and that makes you calm down and calms you down a bit. The brain calms down when it sees the green color. It’s an issue that goes beyond our reason, it’s like pressing a button that helps us do this process. Anyway, the forest relativizes everything. The city is the territory of men, and nature is not, and when you are in nature you realize that there is something greater than you. It makes everything a little more relative.

The evocation of nature links, in some way, with a recent work, such as the I sing and the mountain dances, by Irene Solà?

In my case, I write to nature because I am present and it is part of my life, and I am very in touch with it because I live in the forest. I’m not saying this is the case with Irene, but it’s true that sometimes there are some writers who talk about nature from an urban myth of Barcelona, ​​evoking saving nature. I think nature is more ambiguous. There is nature present in the play because it is part of my life, rather than as something willed or deliberate, simply because it is part of me.

The novel has an important connection with the classics of Catalan literature. The Solitude by Víctor Català and there is also a nod to JV Foix when you write “It’s when it rains that I dance alone, dressed in seaweed, gold and sandpaper”

There are a few winks in the middle, phrases from Catalan and Italian authors, although I don’t quote them. As to Solitude, the thing is, at first I didn’t know how to write a novel. Then, I had it as a reference, because it is a novel that I really like because it has a force that touches you a lot inside. I took the skeleton and put my meat on it, a kind of free version. It’s always good to pick up a little of the ideas and literature that inspires you, and incorporate it into what you write.

Do you have anything autobiographical?

No, it’s not autobiographical, though I think when you write, you take snippets of your life, the people you know, and the emotions you feel. Cut it out and paste it into other characters, plots, situations, and scenarios. In contrast, autofiction speaks clearly of itself, and this is not the case a Alone. Still, there are things that are mine, but I think when you write you can’t do things that aren’t yours. This idea of ​​inventing everything I don’t quite understand. There are things that worry you, or that you have something to do with, not just a pure recreational invention.

There’s room for captions in the text, isn’t there?

Yes. I was inspired by Solitude: in the middle of the main plot there is a character who tells legends. They resonate in the main plot, but they are independent. I was amused to be telling a story, cutting it out and telling a story in the middle. There are three legends that tell a character and two more that are told as memories, although the content is rather legendary. I try to update the legend, because sometimes they paint it to us with a folk tone and it doesn’t have to. They’re invented, because I needed them to resonate with my plot and characters, and I made them based on what I wanted to look for, to the intended effect.

We have read some reviews commenting that a Alone there is an impeccable language and you pay close attention to this aspect…

Maybe because I’m a translator, I have this obsession with words, I like to work on lexical precision, that there are no repetitions, that the text sounds natural. For example, in the order of the sentence: I look at it many times to see if it makes it easier to read and does not hinder in case the add-ons are out of place. And you do that a lot when you write and when you translate. You have this pattern of analyzing sentences to make them sound good. What people tell me is that it is a very lively language, very fresh, but at the same time very correct. And sometimes it happens to us in Catalan that when we go to the correction we lose freshness. I think this could be one of the merits of the play.

A little philological temperament, perhaps?

A certain obsession with words… when you hear them from someone, you think “how nice to use that word!” or when I hear my children saying certain words and that in this way they are already part of their vocabulary. In German, vocabulary is called Wortschatz, and this word means “treasure of words.” Well, that’s the treasure of words we have inside. And in the book I hope it doesn’t happen to me, because if it’s excessive it’s also bad. The balance point is needed.


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