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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Emma Cline: “I wanted to follow a woman who manipulates those who expect her to be a victim because she is a woman” | pleasures

In Menlo Park, one of the 10 stories included in the anthology Papi (Anagrama, 2022), Ben, a struggling editor who writes the biography of a millionaire, senses why he is so good at talking to rich people. “If you spent too much time in their world, you started to believe in the intrinsic goodness of life, you started to feel safe, exonerated, sure of your own fate. Ben was lulled to sleep by the mere proximity of money: he had believed, even after all, that he might be saved.” This is precisely what this latest and essential compendium of stories by Emma Cline (Sonoma, 32 years old) translated by Inga Pellisa is all about. Of that primary urgency that unites us, of what we are capable of doing to feel collected, clean and fluffy: safe. The problem, and so they let us know in each of these brilliant fictions about the power, fame and money of our era, is that none of us really are. Seven years have passed since Cline, a twentysomething Californian with no trace of a virtual personality who stood out for having published stories in The Paris Review, became the most repeated name of the year. She was the girl with two million dollars, the figure that Random House advanced for the manuscript of The Girls and two more books, the book that all international publishers wanted to translate when it was presented in Frankfurt. That first novel inspired by the life of the young women of Charles Manson’s commune became a global phenomenon that everyone would end up reading and there is even a film adaptation that is yet to come. Almost a decade later, and after publishing Harvey – the story in which Weinstein’s life before his trial and imprisonment after reading an article – was imagined; Cline bonds with Papi. Exquisite stories that prove that if there is a signature capable of revealing the pathetic nature of our existence and our desires, if there is a couch worthy of knocking down and dissecting what our search history hides, the one that we would never tell others and type illuminated by our screen, it’s the one she puts on. She infiltrates the minds of adrift men, gentlemen who feel that they do not fit morally in this era, why? Any character who finds himself at a crossroads, or who feels disconnected from the stories he tells himself and the world around him, is a fascinating subject for fiction. That friction is endlessly interesting to me. In the story Match the Knife, the protagonist is a depraved woman who takes advantage of the oppression suffered by others. What led you to write about such a woman? I wasn’t interested in writing about villains and victims, and I thought it would be interesting to follow a woman with perverse instincts and who manipulates others with the expectation that, because she is a woman, she is a victim; they are cultural roles that function as weapons. Her mature characters are more hesitant, they need to feel safe at all costs. Is that getting old? I think the experience of being human is fundamentally difficult: there is a loss built into the experience, and it can be unnerving trying to assimilate all the different people we’ve been in our lives and all the relationships and experiences we’ve had. There is something sad and inconceivable about how life takes us. Why do we need to feel safe? We all want to feel it. The desire for psychological safety drives many of Papi’s characters, but sometimes what they imagine will keep them safe is actually a self-sabotage that prevents them from achieving true happiness. Pills, ketamine, anesthetics… drugs are very present in Papi’s stories. Adam Phillips said something about us all deciding how much reality we can take, and drugs are an effective way to modulate reality for people who find it overwhelming or don’t want to experience its full force. Many of these characters do not want to live in reality; To some degree, none of us do it, or set up our lives to avoid it. Drugs are a shortcut. In his interviews he always remembers that he has no intention of being moralistic with his characters, that he is not interested in being an activist for any cause. How can he separate his own personal and moral outlook from those stories he creates? As a writer and reader, I am drawn to narratives that withhold moral judgment. I don’t like reading books where I can tell the writer is judging a character, or he despises the character. Reading about the recent consequences of the repeal of abortion in the United States, doesn’t it make you want to write about it? My outrage over Roe v. Wade does not translate into fictitious interest: I do not consider politics as I write. Instead, I like to start with a character or situation that has some kind of magnetic pull for me. You don’t have social networks, do you agree with what the Irish writer Sally Rooney said that “fame is hell”? The good thing about writing is that while I’m doing it, I feel disembodied, separate from my experience of being a person in the world. I understand that it can be awkward having to portray your book as a real person, so many of us became writers to avoid that feeling. Is it better for a writer to live without networks? Social media rewards the instant and the extreme. That, to me personally, seems very dangerous. In my experience as an artist, it has helped me a lot not to think too much about the public, something that the networks do force you to do. I work better without having those judgments in my head.

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– Article Written By @Noelia Ramírez from https://smoda.elpais.com/placeres/emma-cline-quise-seguir-a-una-mujer-que-manipula-a-los-que-esperan-que-por-ser-mujer-sea-una-victima/

Nicole Aniston
Nicole loves to write and works as a corporate communications expert by day. She's been working in the field for quite some time now. Her training in media studies has provided her a wide perspective from which to tackle various issues. Public relations, corporate communications, travel, entrepreneurship, insurance, and finance are just few of the many topics she's interested in covering in her work.
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