Carla Gracia: "A long project is like holding up a mirror to yourself"

10/02/20
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We interview the writer and professor at UIC Barcelona and the Laboratori de Lletres writing school, on the occasion of the publication of his new book El abismo: Everyone has a reason to fall.

Carla Gracia: "A long project is like holding up a mirror to yourself"

“When you gaze long into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you,” said Nietzsche. In El Abismo: Todos tenemos un motivo para caer (The Abyss: We All Have a Reason to Fall), Carla Gracia, the writer and professor at UIC Barcelona and the Laboratori de Lletres writing school, echoes his words.

The synopsis of the novel is enormously evocative. Octavi Fontseca pretty much lives his life immersed in a glass of whisky. Having once been a successful writer, he has now reached the very lowest point of his existence. With no spirit or guiding principles, no inspiration or emotional references, he accepts a bribe from his publisher, an opportunist who, taking advantage of his fragile state, pressurises him to put his name to the manuscript of a ghost writer. This sparks off a whole string of misfortunes that little by little push him to the abyss.

Following the success of her historical novel Siete Días de Gracia (Seven Days of Grace), Carla Gracia has constructed in The Abyss a psychological backdrop that makes a social critique of personality, appearances, manipulation and fraud.

Who are your closest literary influences?
 
Logically, I read a lot and I would say that there are quite a few authors who have influenced how I wrote The Abyss. Paul Auster, for example, influenced me in the most abstract part of the book. Georges Perec helped me with the adjectivisation of words, John Banville with poetic prose, and Benjamin Black, Banville’s alter ego, with the most crime-orientated part of the book.
   
Where do you find your inspiration?
 
When it comes to developing the characters and the stories, what most inspires me are the things that I see, things that I can’t assimilate sometimes, in the real world. It’s doing my little bit: getting the reader to reflect, to feel, and to realise that the world could be a little different. Every decision we take has an influence on our lives.

 

You can read the full interview at addingstories.com