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miércoles, 23 de marzo de 2011

Rescatados (II): David Vann


[…]

Sukkwan Island is about 50 miles from Ketchikan, Alaska, where I spent my childhood. It’s a place of cold rainforest, with wolves and bears, and as I ran through that forest when I was four or five years old, I always felt I was being watched. The place was beautiful and prehistoric, with ferns larger than I was and enormous fungal growths on the sides of the trees. Stinging nettles, large waxy flowers, and I could fall through the false second floor of deadfall and disappear. So it was a place mythical from the start. But I think the wilderness is also a large mirror into which we look to find who we might be, and perhaps that’s the appeal for readers in cities. Wilderness lets us dream.

[…]

Nothern Exposure wasn’t actually filmed in Alaska. It was filmed in Washington State. And that’s how Alaska is usually treated. Most representations of it are fake, which is disappointing. Sarah Palin’s new reality TV show is set in Alaska, but she uses it as a political platform to express her big lies about family values and such, so that’s another misuse of Alaska. The problem is that wilderness has no meaning of its own. As I mentioned above, it’s like a giant mirror, and can be used therefore to reflect just about anything.

[…]

I do love to sail and also to build boats. I’m in a National Geographic film right now for a reconstruction of the Oseberg Viking ship, and in another film I was the captain of a reconstruction of an ancient Egyptian ship, sailing in the Red Sea. I feel at home on the water, perhaps because my father always took us out fishing in Alaska, and boats feel essential to me.

Where I was born, Alaska, has an enormous influence on my writing. I believe stories are tied to place, and if I focus on describing the place, whether it’s forest or water, it begins to transform and indirectly describe the internal lives of the characters.

[…]

For the first three or four years of writing about my father, I threw away everything, because it was too sad. I’d describe the day we found out he died, and everyone was just crying. It wasn’t something you could read. But I slowly learned that stories have to be told indirectly, and that the only sadness we can read is sadness which has been transformed into the beautiful.

[…]

My father’s suicide when I was thirteen was the worst and most important moment of my life, so it was inevitable, I think, that I would write about it. My father was what anchored me to the world.

[…]

I think we have a lot of writers better than David Foster Wallace, including Cormac McCarthy, Annie Proulx, and Marilynne Robinson, but their best works are not their most recent works. McCarthy’s best novel is Blood Meridian, Proulx’s best novel is The Shipping News, and Robinson’s best novel is Housekeeping, in my opinion.

(Entrevista originalmente publicada en "El invierno es para raritos", suplemento EP3, El País, 12-10-2010)