He arrived in Spain fifteen years ago from Caracas and now he has no reason to return. Especially if your closest friends are spread over distant latitudes. Daughter and granddaughter of Spanish Republican exiles, Karina Sainz Borgo found in Madrid the perfect place to develop her literary career. He has just published ‘The third country’ (Lumen), a novel with the border as the protagonist and scents of his admired Juan Rulfo. This writer and journalist has made the Las Ventas neighborhood her base of operations, with the bullring as the nerve center. He likes light and order to work. As life passes by, before it escapes, he tries to write it down in his notebooks, which he makes a good store of. Mahler, Bach and Boccherini inspire him as much as a Wagner opera. The death of David Gistau was for her as irreplaceable a loss as the disappearance of Francisco Umbral was for another generation.
7.00 hours. I start the day very early by listening to the news, my ear is glued to reality. Reading the press and listening to the radio consume a good part of the morning. Then I go to the newspaper ABC, where I work after spending ten years in ‘Vozpópuli’, and I start reporting. My specialty is cultural information, and that involves doing interviews for my newspaper, going to the radio and writing collaborations for Zenda, the literary magazine that Pérez Reverte founded.
21.00 hours. I write fiction basically at night. For some time now, my day is divided almost evenly between information and the writing of my novels; perhaps the balance leans more toward the former. I have no children or family to take care of, and in that aspect nothing conditions me. I try to maintain a certain order and discipline but it costs me a lot, especially due to the imbalance of the last year that the pandemic has entailed.
2.00 hours. I lay. Insomnia no longer haunts me, although there was a season when I suffered a lot. Now the ability to disconnect and the need to sleep is more important.
7.10 hours. In the morning the best is a strong coffee, of course.
12.45 hours. I’m in a hurry to see and hear it all. As I have been getting older, that rush has stopped being so pressing, although I still have a feeling of dissatisfaction. I always think I could be doing more things than I do.
19.00 hours. Bullfighting calls my attention a lot. In fact I live next to the Plaza de Las Ventas. In order to write about bulls, I ended up getting into that world, despite being a territory that has nothing to do with me. I have very good friends in this field, from photographers to matadors, passing through banderilleros, picadores and mulilleros. We have not been able to go to the bullfights normally for a year. Since the state of alarm was established, the landscape of Las Ventas has been bleak. In Venezuela there is very little bullfighting tradition left.
8.00 hours. There are smells to which I am terribly sensitive, among them jasmine, which is very Andalusian. Its fragrance dislodges me, takes me to childhood and to open the box of memories. The same happens to me with the aroma of burnt sugar. 9.00 hours. There is not a day at home that does not have flowers, a day without them is terrible. And that I don’t have the ability to grow plants, I’m pretty bad at it.
17.00 hours. I do not consider myself an exile or expatriate or economic immigrant. I see myself as an exile of my own free will: I was the one who decided to move and that has changed my perception of many things, including the idea of belonging. I arrived in Spain in 2006 at the age of 23 because it was an ideal place, it is a very important vertex of that triangle that forms with North and South America. It was my natural circuit. In addition, I am the daughter and granddaughter of Republican political exiles, which conditions my closeness to the society I chose to live in.
22.00 hours. I cannot write in an excessively cluttered environment. However, during the promotion of my previous novel, ‘La hija de la española’, I spent two years writing on airplanes, trains and buses. I can overcome those circumstances, as happens to all people who work in a newsroom. To read the same thing happens to me, I try to be in a light and orderly space. I have a habit of marking books with posters and jotting things down while reading.
20.45 hours. To relax I basically appeal to the vegetative: I don’t do anything. I am very into bars and talking in them with friends. I hang out little with the Venezuelans living in Madrid. Not for anything in particular, but because my arrival here made me have a lot of relationship with Spain and the Spanish. I feel both Spanish and Latin American, one thing does not exclude the other. I always say that I am Spanish because I have earned it in battle.
22.00 hours. I am not a person who consumes series and movies, instead I really like music. I may spend much more time of my life listening to music than watching television. I am fascinated by opera, it is the total genre, it has everything. The most curious thing is that ‘The third country’ I wrote it mainly with choral and vocal pieces in the background. I have listened to all the miseries and masses that I could. I don’t mind writing music, unless it’s Aida’s second act or something like that, something that keeps me from being abstracted. I really like Bach, Boccherini and Mahler’s symphonies.
23.00 hours. I understand literature as part of my free time. The fact of working in the press conditions me, because I try to recover the things that I have not been able to do. For example, all the vacations that I have enjoyed lately I have used to read Russian literature of the XIX century. Working with editorial news takes time away from building a literary base.
12.00 hours. My family is scattered all over the place. They are like the diaspora. They are distributed between Latin America, the USA and Europe. I have three brothers and I am the youngest. We are two boys and two girls.
13.00 hours. Circumstances do not help him return to Venezuela. I no longer have a family there and the few friends I have left are the link I have to see how things are going. I don’t have a passport, I could enter with Spanish but it would be risky. I do not propose or consider it, it is not there as an option. It is true that on occasion I have felt the need to return, but it seems that things conspire against it.
19.45 hours. I collect corks from bottles and notebooks. I really like writing supplies stores. I have an infinite capacity to spend and acquire things in stationery stores. I write on a computer, but notebooks are essential to get around.