Mónica Gutiérrez: “After a very hard year, the reader needs calm and peace”

Irene Dalmases

Barcelona, ​​Feb 14 (EFE) .- Journalist and history teacher, Mónica Gutiérrez is a writer who during confinement saw that her self-published “Mr. Livingstone’s bookstore”, a “feelgood” novel, stood out among the most widely read books at the time. After passing through the Frankfurt Fair, it will be translated into several languages.

In an interview with Efe, the Barcelona author considered that after a “very hard year of pandemic, we need this type of books, a moment of calm, an oasis of peace, in which nothing bad can happen, in front of all the noise outside. “

Published now by Ediciones B, it narrates the journey of Agnes Martí, a young archaeologist who moves from Barcelona to London, looking for work of her own, although, finally, she will stop at a library in the Temple district, “Moonlight Books”, run by the grumpy Edward Livingstone and with an eccentric clientele, from a gifted boy named Oliver Twist to Mrs. Agatha Dresden, with violet hair.

Author of six other titles, Gutiérrez believes that “Mr. Livingstone’s bookstore” is her most personal work. “In it – he says – is a large part of my literary baggage, the books that have made me the reader that I am, and I really wanted to pay homage to them, and share my favorite novels and films with readers.”

Shakespeare, Dickens, Tolkien, Shelley, Byron, Coleridge, Goethe, Keats, but also Natasha Solomons or John Williams from “Stoner” are cited throughout these pages, in which there is also a detective plot, since the bookstore disappears one of his most treasured works, the journal of David Livingstone, a distant relative of Edward, “Cartographic, zoological, botanical and geological observations of South Africa (1849-1851)”.

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His intention has also been that “readers can catch all the winks and jokes that there are regarding this universal literature and that they feel very comfortable in this bookstore.”

Out of suspicion, he remarks that he has not included Spanish authors in the story “because we are in London, but I read a lot of Spanish literature and also Catalan writers.”

He cannot deny that he was “very happy” at the computer and had a “great time creating this novel with a bookseller, a writer, an editor and many client readers, in a city like London,” which he loves “and what it is. very literary. “

Note that the bookstore is not based on any that I have known, although “we all have our mythical bookstores and, unconsciously, ‘Moonlight Books’ has something of all of them.”

At the same time, the story serves the writer to show what happens when one emigrates to another country, as has happened to “so many friends of mine who have not wanted to give up their dream of continuing to be archaeologists, historians or museum curators and they have had to leave, because in our country their only way out was teaching. “

Agnes Martí represents “a brave woman who does not want to give up her dreams, although at the moment of beginning the story she is a little lost, something with which we can all empathize, because who has not been lost at some point in her life? life? Who has not thought about how absurd a certain situation can be? “

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Regarding what happened at the last Frankfurt Fair, in October 2020, he recalls that, although it was telematic, he lived it like madness, since “they called me every day to send me the conditions to sign new translation contracts.”

The novel will be translated into German, Italian, Hebrew, Bulgarian, French, Portuguese and Korean, the latter language making him especially excited, because it means taking his bookstore “to the other side of the world.” EFE

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