Arturo Pérez-Reverte. 67 calendar studs. My hindsight

Photographs from my personal archive. With Arturo Pérez-Reverte in November 2012 and at the last Book Fair in Madrid.

Arturo Pérez-Reverte is today on his birthday. Its 67 calendar studs, as he would say. And he is one of my favorite authors. As reviled as he is admired, Pérez-Reverte does not leave anyone indifferent. I prefer his style and, in particular, his facet as a columnist rather than as a writer. But my admiration is above all for his person and his life and vision of the world, as lucid as it is scathing and stark, clear and forceful. This is my Retrospective to his figure and work. 

Dogs and bullets

The last time I greeted Pérez-Reverte was at the last Madrid Book Fair, where I had the audacity to give him my novel and share my concerns and nerves about my premiere as a signatory a few days later. His words of encouragement and welcome in the stormy world of literature will already remain in my memory like a treasure. Just like that graphic proof of the moment up there.

I wanted him to sign me Tough dogs don't dance, I had recently finished and I had been enthusiastic about it. Of course I lose the stories with dogs, the dogs themselves, come on. He did it before also his compilation of articles on dogs, Dogs and sons of bitches. But the Negro, his friends, and his story have completely stayed with my heart.

In that last wait I had plenty of time to look back. Go to those newscasts in my mid-twenties when another heart, that of the center of Europe, bled to death in an atrocious war that we saw live every day.

Y what I always associate most with those moments of stupor, both by the horror and by the indifference of all those who neither could nor wanted to stop it, were the chronicles of Arturo Pérez-Reverte. From that front, microphone in hand, looking at the camera and loudly with his particular tone and glasses, stoic, professional and above all brave like that camera, he narrated that horror while we heard the hiss of bullets crossing behind.

The brave man

A short time later don Diego Alatriste. And I, who have always been from Athos, de Edmundo Dantes in all its forms, of the lord Rochester y heathcliff, Jean Valjean and Javert and, finally, of any antihero, I fell at his feet already for the remains. And knowing how to do and write from its creator. For the remains. I also fell with him in Rocroi and I still miss him, even though he has already reached eternity in his paper life.

Hussars, Queens, Cards, Priests, Tables, Comanches, and Pirates

And that fucking and hilarious Pavía of Paquito and Carlitos, intense blue eyes, the Trafalgar of the unfortunate Nelson, so many days of anger for a Madrid without a soul, my fascination for Hammock or that captain wolf. There have also been some good men, but few. And pictures of battles bathed in bloody memories and revenge.

They have been snipers and graffiti artists, and poor Spanish devils lost in a frozen Russia in the shadow of an eagle. From there to here. By land, sea and air. For past and present times, although I stay with those of yesterday. With those recreations not so highly documented or elaborate, but told with that particular style.

I also stay with that queen of the South, with her fury and courage, and with Tánger Soto, with its mystery and its definitions, with its eternal personifications of everything that a woman can be, inspire, provoke and produce. In short, with how a man can tell us.

I am also a corsair

Or above all. Because I also treasure those marquees, I have been an honorable mercenary, I have also tried to take him alive and of course I have often had the courage to offend. But especially, I have wanted to depart on each of the voyages of those ships lost on land or in endless ocean storms. Perhaps because I am from inland, but I share with Mr. Reverte a deep love for the sea. And I am and will always be from the brotherhood of Jack Aubrey, article that I have kindly dedicated too.

Yes, I keep those thousand stories of their experiences, their moments, their memories, their characters, those so human that they don't seem possible. I stick with those Monday mornings when I read your Sunday article and that infamous day is always sung to me. With emotion, with stiffening of muscles or heart, with irony or with lament for the latest vileness or nonsense, the last sign of ignorance or incomprehension. Those Mondays are less Mondays after your weekly article. Novels are something else and other worlds. And don't make any more movies, please.

Less spies, more barking

Because I don't like that last Falcó. And so I let him know in another one of those daring things that the years are already giving you. "Man," he told me, "out of twenty-something books that I have, you can't like all of them ...". You are right. It's true. And Falcó, although read by, I repeat, that style that I am passionate about, has not finished convincing me. We'll see if that sabotage does it, but I doubt it. When a character hasn't given you that flash that we all know, is already more than difficult.

My response was a "continue with more barking, please", with more Black, more talkative and politically incorrect dogs. Or get Don Diego back. But hey, it doesn't matter, in any case keep writing. From some, from others, from here, from us, whatever they want, in short, that for that they can, they know and they leave it.

So ...

... Let it be a few more calendar blocks, Mr. Reverte. And that I continue to see them. With controversies, without them, with journeys and journeys, with heroes or villains, which we all are a bit. With whatever. But let them be seen. Or, better, keep reading them.


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