The Nicaraguan writer Sergio Ramírez think about him Popol Vuh when he reflects on the present in his country, by the wave of hopelessness that is observed from that kind of exile in which he lives, in Costa Rica:
“I have hope for the future of Nicaragua. The darker things look, maybe the sooner it’s going to dawn, as the Popol Vuh. Realistically, there is no reason to hope, the prisons are full of political prisoners, there are brutal trials against these prisoners for treason … dozens of journalists are migrating clandestinely. The media in the country are being depopulated. It is not the best of situations ”.
Reflection of Cervantes Award 2017 about the appearance of the novel Tongolele can’t dance (Alfaguara, 2021), the third of the Detective Dolores Morales series, an alter ego of the Nicaraguan writer, who helps him to observe his reality, precisely because of the conviction that, for a novelist, “immediate reality is a risk.”
“From the internal perspective of the country, one should not think that it will be the international community that is going to come to rescue Nicaragua and restore democracy to it: Nicaraguans are going to return democracy and hopefully in the best way. For me that would be if it is not through a civil warFor me, a civil war would be the worst solution. The historical teaching is that a civil war always engenders a triumphant leader and that leader seizes power ”.
It is a way for Sergio Ramírez to look at his past and recognize the difficulties of facing a similar situation: convinced that we cannot look at the past with the eyes of the present, at the same time he accepts that there is a vicious circle that, one day, will have to be broken, so that this results in a strengthening of the institutions and “that the country can lead a decent institutional life,” he says in an interview for MILLENNIUM from Costa Rica, where he returns to live in exile, given the situation in Nicaragua.
A fiction of reality
Tongolele can’t dance is the continuation of a saga starring Detective Dolores Morales —the above are Heaven cries for me and Nobody cries for me anymore-, which are still the result of a dialogue with reality in Nicaragua, for this reason he accepts that another novel could come, despite the risks that it entails, not necessarily personal ones.
“Not because one is neutral, as long as the novel is written from an ethical perspective, but committing oneself to events that one is living and that are not yet resolved: it is a risk of implication: the black novel that we write in Latin America, which is still political, is an instrument to get closer to that reality through the figure of a private investigator who is involved in these events ”.
One of the main challenges for the Nicaraguan writer was to try to construct the story without drama, without creating what he himself defines as pathetic situations that may suit political discourse, but not the novel as such, “which is a multiple creation, where everyone should be given a voice: he does not intend to write a political pamphlet or a speech, but a novel based on real events, which I find attractive as a novelist and which I seek to reveal within the novel without resorting to rhetoric ”.
“The other procedure that seems very useful to me, in addition to what the crime novel means by itself, is to surround these characters with an atmosphere of humor and that allows me to take a certain distance and not dramatize the facts, because in the excessive drama there is a risk: Avoiding speech, through the language of humorous insinuation, shields me and shields the novel from that contamination ”.
However, the real challenge for Sergio Ramírez is to become “a chronicler of contemporary events through fiction.”