Alexis Ravelo: «Literature can help you ask the right questions about reality»

Photograph: Alexis Ravelo's Twitter cover

alexis ravel has a new novel, A guy with a bag over his head, which came out in September. Author of The worst of times, The Pekingese's strategy (Hammett Award for Best Black Novel), The flowers do not bleed (2015 Black VLC) o The blindness of the crab, among many others, the acclaimed writer from Gran Canaria has left a moment parked at his Eladio Monroy to tell us this story. You thank you very much your kindness and time dedicated to this interview.

alexis ravel

From Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, he studied Pure Philosophy and attended creative workshops given by Mario Merlino, Augusto Monterroso and Alfredo Bryce Echenique. He is also the author of short story books and several others for children and youth. And he has managed to make a quite important gap in the current literary scene with his novels by black gender.


  • LITERATURE NEWS: Do you remember the first book you read? And the first story you wrote?

ALEXIS RAVELO: I don't remember the first one I wrote. My first books were comics and a collection of volumes accompanying the encyclopedia Act 2000, the one that our parents bought in installments. They were generically titled tell me... Tell me when did it happen, Tell me who you are, Tell me what my profession will be… That I remember, the first novel that I read It was a child adaptation of Around the world in eighty days

  • AL: What was that book that impacted you and why? 

AR: I guess the first book that struck me was Metamorphosis. O The transformationby Franz Kafka, as it is now more accurately translated. I read an issue Prologue by Borges and with an analysis by Vladimir Nabokov which, years later, I discovered was part of his European literature course. To understand why it impacted me, we would have to pay attention to the circumstances in which I read it. Me I was a teenager, I studied, But also worked already as a waiter in a bar (you had to put money at home). I read at night until dawn, because I have always suffered from insomnia.

So imagine me, exhausted after working all day, in a small room of a small house, reading the story of Gregorio Samsa, turned into a beetle and worried about going to work to put money at home and discovering that, in reality, those who They said they needed it to survive, they didn't need it that much. That was the first time I understood that literature can help you escape from reality, but that is much better when, in addition, it helps you to understand it or, at least, to ask yourself the right questions about it. 

  • AL: Who is your favorite writer? You can choose more than one and from all eras.

AR: There are many. And the thing depends more on tastes and desires than on demonstrable values. But there are some that I always come back to: Rulfo, Cortázar and Borges, if I want a good story. In rehearsal, I usually reread Susan Sontag, Barthes and Foucault (Not only were they powerful thinkers, their styles are enviable.) With the poets I have days, but normally I go back to Pedro García Cabrera, to Cesare Bunting, Olga Orozco.

Placed novelists favorites also change constantly: sometimes Cormac McCarthy, sometimes Joyce carol oates, sometimes Erskine Caldwell. But I reread with some frequency Onetti, which I find absolutely hypnotic. However, sometimes you have a nineteenth-century body, and you dedicate yourself to rereading Galdós (this year has been unavoidable), Flaubert or Victor Hugo.

  • AL: What character in a book would you have liked to meet and create? 

AR: Maybe I would not have liked to meet any: a character, to be powerful, has to have a lot of pain around him, and one, for comfort, usually prefers to be away from painful experiences. As for creating them, I would have loved to build a character like that of Jean ValJean, The Miserables.  

  • AL: Any mania when it comes to writing or reading? 

AR: Many. To write, the main one is to have close coffee. And, to read, I use pencilBecause I underline and I do notes in my copies. That's why I prefer the paper

  • AL: And your preferred place and time to do it? 

AR: At home we have a dispatch that I share with my partner. I usually work for mornings.  

  • AL: What do we find in your latest novel, A guy with a bag over his head

AR: Well, exactly what the title suggests, because it's about a guy who has been robbed and abandoned with his head in a bag. The reader attends a Interior monologue Through which this man reviews his life, trying to find out who may have done this task or commissioned it to be done. It becomes a kind of deconstruction of my black criminal novels, centered this time on the person who usually plays the role of antagonist, of, let's say, "villain" in them. 

  • AL: More favorite literary genres? 

AR: The truth is that I read everything, I have no prejudices. I can enjoy the same with a science fiction novel as with an intimate and sentimental story. What matters to me is that the book is well written and that makes me ask myself questions. 

  • AL: What are you reading now? And writing?

AR: These days I read Clío's watch, by Emilio González Déniz, a Gran Canaria author whom I admire a lot and who had not published for a long time. Y I work on the sixth novel Series by Eladio Monroy

  • AL: How do you think the publishing scene is for as many authors as there are or want to publish?

AR: As always: many authors and few opportunities. But if a text is of quality, it always ends up finding its editor and reaching the readers it should reach. 

  • AL: Is the moment of crisis that we are experiencing being difficult for you or will you be able to keep something positive for future novels?

AR: I think it is too early to analyze it. I do not work with the burning news, but thinking in the medium term the issues that I address. So I do not know yet if what is happening will benefit me creatively.

The content of the article adheres to our principles of editorial ethics. To report an error click here.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *



  1. Responsible for the data: Miguel Ángel Gatón
  2. Purpose of the data: Control SPAM, comment management.
  3. Legitimation: Your consent
  4. Communication of the data: The data will not be communicated to third parties except by legal obligation.
  5. Data storage: Database hosted by Occentus Networks (EU)
  6. Rights: At any time you can limit, recover and delete your information.