Love as a threat. Not as enjoyment, as support, as accompaniment, as a catalyst for desire and the most fruitful projects or forms of life, but as a constant threat to physical safety, mental stability and the very course of life and freedom. It is the proposal of Cristina Rivera Garza in Liliana’s invincible summer (Random House Literature), much more than a novel. The Mexican author (Heroica Matamoros, 1964) has managed to carry to term a labor with pain, delay, with wounds and understandable debts, because the baby is the reconstruction of the life and murder of her own little sister, who died at age 20 at the hands of who was her boyfriend in adolescent age and could not bear his leap to the university world in the capital, his growth, his change. A literary and personal challenge of enormous height.
“Sometimes you have to wait many years to feel the personal and social transformations in each of your bones. Duels have their own clock. His own rhythm, ”Rivera Garza tells by email. “Women’s movements – feminist and not – have produced a language that now allows us to demand justice together.”
JOURNEY TO THE NEWS THROUGH THE BOOKS / 1 Abdelá Taia: “When I see the destroyed dreams of my sisters I forget that I am gay”
JOURNEY TO THE NEWS THROUGH THE BOOKS / 2 Ali Smith: “Imagination allows us to survive what is impossible to survive”
JOURNEY TO THE NEWS THROUGH THE BOOKS / 3: Doug Bock Clark. With the last whalers on the planet
The author explains this book, which helps us to travel to one of the most painful news that has been covered in this course, and that is the unstoppable sequence of femicides. If we travel to racism and immigration hand in hand with Abdelá Taia, to loss and grief with Ali Smith and globalization and warming with Doug Bock Clark, today we will walk through the reality of gender violence hand in hand with this book . In Spain, these crimes soared after the end of the state of alarm. In Mexico, violence against women grew by more than 7% in the first months of the year. A reality that continues to grow despite the fact that awareness has grown and silence has been buried.
Cristina Rivera was in Chiapas a couple of years ago participating in an event organized by Zapatistas when the need arose to finally tackle her sister’s crime. “We were sharing words and hope with compas from the region and the entire country,” he says. “And I believed, with all of them, that another world was possible. In that other possible world, this story of my sister could, finally, be received with the dignity and respect that her life deserves ”.
This is how this book arose, whose title and meaning come from a quote by Albert Camus that was a reference for his sister: “In the depths of winter I finally learned that there was an invincible summer in me.” The author found it in a pile of her sister’s notes, diaries, letters and notes that they had kept in boxes 30 years ago, after the crime, and that she finally dared to open, to confront, to assume. Thus he approached Liliana again, who detailed the illusions of her incipient university career while reflecting shadows of that adolescent love that from time to time burst into her new life with a possessive desire and without any sympathy for her learning or her skills. new friends. For all this it is a book, but also a birth.
“Writing is a hinge that connects the deeply personal with the irremediably social: we are in connection with others and, in the same way, we imagine and tell our stories,” says Rivera Garza. “Since books have changed my life in many ways, I am convinced of the power that the written word has to summon appearances, create spaces for listening over time and restore entire lives.”
Just as life is a beginning, as we all know, death is another beginning for those who remain, for those who will learn to live with grief as a necessary, demanding company that asks for their time and dedication. The Christmases that follow death, the summers, the vacations, the conversations that take place between Cristina Rivera Garza, her parents, relatives and friends concerned will never be the same, because the absence will be present as follows in this book and in her lives. Through them the author has composed a mosaic of impressions and testimonies that thread the truncated life of Liliana.
At one point in her short life, Liliana buys a sparrow so that her abusive boyfriend would have “the honor” of freeing him. But he does not arrive on time and it was she and a friend who released him. “We expected the sparrow to take a breath and fly away, but it didn’t. He took a few steps on the grass and then fell. We tried to revive him, but we soon realized that there was nothing we could do anymore. His death broke our hearts, “says the friend in Rivera Garza’s pen. “Liliana had remained motionless, very shocked, as if something had broken inside her.”
That sparrow anticipated his own fate, as this book seals love as a threat in what Cristina Rivera Garza does not want to classify as testimonial literature, but documentary. From there: hope to catch it? The end of impunity?
“The violence continues because impunity continues, but there are differences”, wants to see Cristina Rivera. “Since 2019 there has been a Femicide Prosecutor’s Office in Mexico City, rightly directed by the lawyer Sayuri Herrera. However, these types of institutions need a budget and staff. Hope dies last, they say, and it’s true. I am still determined that justice sits at our table, as the Mexican poet Rosario Castellanos said ”.
But the murderer of her sister, Ángel González Ramos, of whom the author even offers a photograph, remains unaccounted for. If justice comes to the table, it will also have been thanks to literature.