the time of happiness says goodbye to Almudena Grandes

As nature imitates art, while her relatives watched over the body of Almudena Grandes at the La Paz mortuary, in Tres Cantos, in Madrid, her two main vital homelands clashed on the pitch: Atlético de Madrid and Cádiz CF Ella She was a militant mattress, but she learned to identify Rota (Cádiz) as the territory of happiness.

Writer Almudena Grandes dies at 61

Writer Almudena Grandes dies at 61

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“Summer is the time of happiness and happiness would be poorer, paler, far from the beach of Punta Candor, for which I write this love letter,” he had confessed, not far from where this morning, in the Avenida Almudena Grandes, a handful of friends have said goodbye to her with words, songs, flowers and a tricolor flag on the tile that bears her name.

Also public positions: the mayor of Jerez, Mamen Sánchez, or the president of the Cádiz Provincial Council, Irene García. The socialist mayor of Rota, José Javier Ruiz, who had promoted this secular funeral, almost improvised, was asked there to name her the adoptive daughter of the town he loved so much. The University of Cádiz continues with the file to appoint her an honorary doctorate for said district, with a clear conscience for having started it in life, at the hands of the rector Francisco Piniella and his promoter, the vice-rector for Culture, José María Pérez Monguió: ” She gave an answer in a plot of her house to the poem by Rafael Alberti, who wondered where your gardens are: your melon, your pumpkin, your tomato, your watermelon. She tried to grow them and had more luck than with the vertical garden that she also raised. at home “, recalled Domingo Sánchez Rizo, former mayor of the Villa and a long friend of Almudena, Luis García Montero and their children Mauro, Irene and Elisa.

“She was so close that she was able to make strangers feel as if we were her friends,” said one of her readers, also present. And he was able to elevate his friends “to the category of family”, as his beloved Felipe Benítez Reyes wrote in the pages of El País and repeated this Sunday, shortly before Javier Ruibal sang a cappella and without a microphone “Toíto Cai lo I bring andao “, as if I had written it for her:” Oh, to the stir in your skirt, / how cool is summer. ” It was this Sunday, on the other hand, a polar cold despite the noon resolution and the difficult airs, they had decided to get to half mast.

Sánchez Rizo read an old poem by Luis García Montero, which by poetic magic seems to have been written yesterday: “Like the body of a defeated man in the snow, / with that same winter that freezes the songs / when the evening falls on the radio of a car, / like telegrams, like the wounded voice / that crosses night telephones / the same that a lighthouse crosses / through the melancholy of the boats on land, / like doubts and certainties, / like my silhouette in the window, / that’s how it hurts one night, / with that same winter when you miss me, / with that same snow that has left me blank, / well I forget everything / if I have to learn to remember you “.

The wine of joy

Surely those present remembered Almudena, a banner at the ready against the Iraq War at the gates of the Rota Base, on the literary nights of the Roteño summer, or in the nearby palace of the Duchess of Medina Sidonia, in Sanlúcar, speaking frequently to your book club. When he met Gibraltar, he evoked the memory of the families who spoke loudly, forty years ago, through the bars of the closed border.

The poets Pepa Parra and Blanca Flores, or the singer-songwriters Lucía Socam and Maite Menéndez ambushed among the small crowd cloaked in masks: in the local imaginary of Almudena Grandes and the so-called Grupo de Rota, of which she was their undoubted captain, they clustered torrijas evenings and laughs dinners, with Joaquín Sabina, with Jesús Maraña, with Ángela Aguilera or with Benjamín Prado. And with many other friends with whom she often toasted the wine of joy, what they now call resilience, which she appreciated in the pages of “Manolita’s Three Weddings”, among the women who frequented the Porlier prison and other sinkholes. of the old postwar period; those wives, lovers, false girlfriends or relatives of the prisoners who did not lose their grace or the couplet, no matter how much they had to deal with summary executions, consumption, famines and other calamities.

Just after his death, the far-right party Vox piously spit against him through the networks. She, in a certain way, always foreshadowed it and, in turn, to a certain extent, left her best answer written in “The frozen heart”: “Spanish girl who comes into the world, God keep you. Neither God nor love. Not even the right to know who you are, because to live here, it is best not to know anything, not even understand it, to leave everything as it is and the branches of the apple tree perpetually bare, the fruits on the ground, carefully arranged, that advantageous and petty cunning that it pleases the set designer accustomed to working without witnesses, because those who are not yet corpses are already scared to death “.

Almudena Grandes not only vindicated historical memory, as in her series “Episodes of an interminable war” – whose sixth and last installment will presumably be published posthumously. It also fed the memory of emotions, that of the old Mayetos who built the huts of survival in that place, that of the open sea with Cádiz on the horizon. She was feminism and the old flags of the left that she always raised without sectarianism. That was breathed this Sunday in the avenue that continues to bear his name in the city that he chose to take refuge every two by three: “Nothing that I can do for Rota will be comparable to everything that this town has done for me,” he said. her when they inaugurated the mosaic where now there are petals in the form of condolences for her death and celebration for her life.

His friends paid him a final tribute between croquettes and glasses of wine. When, years ago, Almudena Grandes was asked what she would do if they announced her soon death, she answered what more than one would have answered: get fed up with eating what makes me fatter. Perhaps a hymn was missing but his whole world was there: republican and vital, hedonistic and brave.

Later, people were probably moving away towards canteens where they could celebrate life, which was the greatest utopia that the daily commitment of Almudena Grandes hoisted up. Any of those relatives of the writer would perhaps then advance towards her car, as in that well-known passage from “The Ages of Lulu.” He would reach out and turn the ignition key: “The engine started. The windows were foggy. It must have been freezing outside, a curtain of steam escaping from the hood. He leaned back against the seat, looked at me, and I realized that the world was falling apart, the world was falling apart. ”

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