what goes from Sophocles to the narco-literature of Don Winslow


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Going back to the old mantras and with all the topics in their place, because if the genre is well served by something, it is reinforced concrete topics, the Councilor for Culture of the Barcelona City Council, Jordi Martí, has lifted the first veil of BCNegra, that of the presentation of the program of events, underlining that, drum roll, the crime novel “is the mirror that best reflects the darkest and most hidden parts of reality.” Once the presentations are made (here the reality, here the writer who will stab it), the names arrive.

Because the festival, which arrives between February 3 and 13 for its XVII edition, recovers at the same time the presence and the international pulse of the hand of authors such as Irvine Welsh, Fernanda Melchor, Dominique Manotti,Sergio Ramirez Y Mick Herron, among many others.

Blade artists, stories of violence made in Mexico, echoes of the French polar, kidnapped novels by authors with a gag and contemporary spies shaken and mixed in a tasty cocktail crowned by the narco-literature of Don Winslow, winner of this year’s Carvalho award.

“We have tried to recover the best from before the pandemic”, highlighted the festival’s curator, Carlos Zanón. The result is a conscientious search for the noir crime genre that will give voice to more than 112 authors and in which they fit from the planetary pranks of Carmen Mola to Sophocles and the distant ancestors of contemporary detectives. «We have decided to choose who was the first detective in history and talk about him. Y Oedipus He is the first detective who goes in search of the truth. You as a reader see that every time you search for the truth you are close to disaster; It is a noir novel plot that comes from myths”, explained Zanón.

BCNegra poster
BCNegra poster – ABC

Somewhat closer at hand are authors such as Eduardo Mendoza, Rosa Ribas, Lorenz Silva, Mikel Santiago, Toni Hill, Noemí Trujillo or Kiko Amat, local writers on whom an edition of BCNegra is based that seeks to put the human being “above technology» and the face-to-face event ahead of the streaming binge that the pandemic has left us. “We want people to come and have human contact. This is an eminently popular festival, it belongs to the people”, claims Zanón. The very motto of this edition, the brief ‘here tomorrow’, it evokes old youthful customs and seeks to put a little pause in these times of “violent and fascinating technology”. “Everything is so fast and incomprehensible that the future has been stolen from us: the present is so brutal that we cannot imagine the future,” the festival curator theorizes.

As an antidote to such a rush, BCNegra uses the rearview mirror to stop at cult authors such as Ted Lewis, ill-fated creator of hit man Jack Carter who died prematurely in 1982; and honor local legends like Manuel Vazquez Montalban Y Francisco Gonzalez Ledesma. From the first, for example, a ‘Carvalho route’ will be launched to follow in the footsteps of the distinguished detective through the streets of Barcelona, ​​while the father of Commissioner Méndez will star in the exhibition ‘González Ledesma File’. Another regular of our streets and our pages, the inspector Delicate Petra by Alicia Giménez Bartlett, will also join the party to remember that, before ‘Rites of Death’ and ‘Day of Dogs’ hit the bookstores, women in black fiction rarely had any role other than that of victim. “At that time it was not easy for a character like that, a woman and a police officer, to be popular,” recalls Zanón.

Tributes to the margins, BCNegra also pulls the current thread to delve into issues such as political corruption, the rise of xenophobia and the extreme right in Europe or the sense of humor in crime novels. The Cervantes Prize Sergio Ramirez,
persecuted by the Nicaraguan government, he will explain how to strip the sewers of power to the rhythm of a black novel; while the Scotsman Irvine Welsh and the French Dominique Manotti will be able to bring to the table some of the themes that their novels share. Namely: racist crimes, drug trafficking, corruption and marginal characters. Something like the sourdough of a genre that, after all, is perhaps the best reflection of the darkest and most hidden parts of reality.

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