Longing to be a punk

Deseo de ser punk

Belén Gopegui returns with a novel for the age: Deseo de ser punk. And she does it with that evocative magnitude that only the best rock songs achieve. In this book, Gopegui makes sure that rock music is not only a background noise, or an anecdote, or just an ambient filling. Here, rock is a place, an essential territory, a fortification for attack rather than defence. The structural use of rock music in Belén Gopegui’s novel is admirable.

Martina, the 16 year-old-girl who is writing a letter to a boy in her class (which is the novel we are reading) defines the relationship with her parents and with the world in general in relation to music. Her relationships with the adults in her life (both belligerent and amiable) are always mediated through a legendary song or unforgettable album. And this becomes the source for the music that invades the novel. Martina decides to take action against the conformity of the society that surrounds her. Authentic novels about a generation are really inter-generational. Martina doesn’t attack her parents nor does she rebel against their bourgeois lifestyle. She understands their problems, although she doesn’t share them. But the issues that affect Martina, from the uprisings of the young on the streets of Athens, to the plastic prosperity that pushes her towards the consumer society are more complex. Her desire to become a punk has a political context.

"The beauty of Deseo de ser punk lies in its calculation (as Calvino said all good novels should consist of ‘calculation and definition’). This novel manages to calculate and reconcile the essential impotence of youth by defining its most essential desires" J. Ernesto Ayala-Dip, Babelia, El País

“An excellent book... An outstanding psychological portrait of an adolescent, which is something we haven’t had in our fiction for decades. Deseo de ser punk inevitably brings to mind that classic of teenage rebellion: The Catcher in the Rye... Gopegui displays an extraordinary command of a language which manages to reflect colloquial speech through a literary filter, without becoming just a crude reproduction" Ricardo Senabre, El Cultural, El Mundo

"Deseo de ser punk is a cry of intentions, it is a heart that bleeds and is about to explode" Peio H. Riaño, Público

"A story that is reminiscent of Salinger, while reproducing some of the essential songs that could be the soundtrack to any contemporary biography… inviting us to contemplate the value of freedom, the importance of our first friendships and rediscover that sometimes the pain of living on the edge is necessary. Like Johnny Cash" A. Abelenda, La Voz de Galicia

Deseo de ser punk has the intimate tone of a secret diary told with the skill of a writer who speaks to us with her ears well open” José Antonio Aguado, Diari de Terrassa

"A book for those like, Martina (its protagonist), who perceive that freedom does not come from opening up doors, but instead from demolishing walls. The candid noise of rock proves truer than the saccharine cultural clichés that are usually offered to us to explain the world today”. Germán Cano, La Razón

"Far removed from the cliché of the ‘adolescent angry at the world’, Martina is a complex and authentic character who gives solidity to this very interesting novel". Javier Sánchez Zapatero, La Gaceta de Salamanca

"Belén Gopegui, one of the most authentic voices on the current literary scene, offers us an emotional, but not sentimental, novel. A novel that brims with feeling, compelling us to accept its principle argument: the need now and always, for a simple morality, a morality urgently needed to stop everything self-destructing, one which allows us to walk in this world with our heads held high—or at least without too much shame”. José Abad, Granada Hoy

" Beginning with the foundation of adolescent naiveté, the book achieves a notable lucidity as it studies the lack of communication and the political surrender of a society that is conformist and submissive, where children take on the roles of parents when the time comes to question pre-conceptions". Matías Néspolo, El Periódico

"A book written in a style that is not only truthful and honest, but also simple and eloquent: both intellectual and emotional, at the same time tender and violent". Gemma Casamajó, Time Out


TRANSLATION RIGHTS SALES

  • France (Seuil)
  • Italy (H2O)
 


Belén Ruiz de Gopegui


Belén Gopegui was born in Madrid in October 1963. In 1992 she published the novel La escala de los mapas, which had an extraordinary impact: “An overwhelmingly powerful work… the stunning thing about this novel is the originality of its narrative strategy in full concordance with the rhythm of its prose” (Carmen Martín Gaite). After her fascinating second novel, Tocarnos la cara (1995), with the third, La conquista del aire (1998), she took a definitive step forward: “A perfect novel” (Francisco Umbral). In 2001 she wrote her fourth novel, Lo real: “Belén Gopegui is the writer who produces the best and wisest example of the novel as an instrument of investigation, reflection and political analysis, in the widest possible sense: that relating to the question of the polis” (Ignacio Echevarría, El País). Her fifth novel was El lado frío de la almohada:“The only surprise provided by each new novel by Belén Gopegui is not its quality —something that we can take for granted— but finding out the way she has succeeded” (Rafael Conte, El País). And, in 2007, she wrote her sixth novel, El padre de Blancanieves: “A serious and important work that deserves to be read, because, aside from being interesting because of the plot that sustains it, it urges a reflection on reality”. (Santos Sanz Villanueva, El Cultural); “The reader is seduced by a prose that aims to show reality in ways that are similar to certain works by Godard or through the films of Kluge, Fassbinder, etc.” (Joaquín Arnáiz, La Razón); “With this novel, she reaches her most ambitious heights” (Rafael Conte, El País). Her novels have been translated into Chinese, French, Italian, Turkish, German, Portuguese, Polish, Finnish, Serbian and Dutch.



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