“There is a very Spanish tendency not to recognize virtue in the enemy”

The writer Arturo Pérez.Reverte, who publishes his new novel ‘El italiano’ (Alfaguara), has regretted the “very Spanish tendency of not recognizing the virtue of the enemy or the defects of the friend”, in addition to stating the “stupid habit of thinking that only my side is good.”

The pure hero is usually very boring and what attracts me is people with a cloudy heart capable of doing feats. Someone can get to torture and be an interesting character, because life is full of nuances: you learn more from the wicked, “explained the writer in the presentation of his novel.

Precisely, in ‘The Italian’ the protagonists are the combat divers of the transalpine country in World War II, which gave more than one headache to the English forces in the colony of Gibraltar.

Pérez.Reverte has vindicated the “heroism” of these combatants regardless of their ideology – allies of Nazi Germany ., acknowledging however that it is “a politically incorrect issue”, especially in Italy itself.

In my novels the heroes can be of any side, but I am a novelist, not a historian. I am a mere stimulator and inciter and if someone does not understand it, I do not care. Only the stupid and malicious play with this type of manipulation: there is a stupid habit of thinking that only my side is good, “he added.

Through the pages of ‘The Italian’ appears an alter ego of the author, who does not hesitate to qualify as a “false self.fiction”. “I am a novelist and I can lie and manipulate whatever I want. Some historian has ever gotten angry with me, but to that I answer by looking for readers: historical novelists sometimes give a clientele to historians who are boring“, he pointed out.


With an initial circulation of 180,000 copies in Spain, ‘The Italian’ It has already generated expectation in the neighboring country – a producer has asked about the rights for its adaptation. The academic recalled that, Despite the fact that there are films that address this war chapter, the vision in fiction tends to undermine the work of divers.

In fact, the seed of this book arose in childhood when Pérez.Reverte went with his father to the cinema to see ‘His best enemy’, a film starring David Niven and Alberto Sordi. “Italians were portrayed as pathetic, cowards … and my father told me ‘don’t believe any of that, there were Italians who did very brave things’“, has explained.

Restore dignity to these heroes seems to me an act of justice for Italians, which is also not a country in which modern heroes have been lavished “, added the author of ‘Line of fire’, who also reiterated the ability of these fighters to”do things the British couldn’t even imagine. “


Pérez.Reverte has defined his new novel as “an immersion in the Mediterranean as a homeland and in the heroes who made it possible”. Gibraltar has become a setting for action and could serve as a field for other novels by the academic, who acknowledges feeling a predilection for these border settings.

I don’t know if there will be more novels here, but it’s a border and things happen and I like that. Novelar Madrid is fine, but when you fix your attention on this point, a palimpsest of successive feats arises “, he highlighted, after highlighting the role played by the other protagonist of the book, the bookseller Elena Arbués.

“She is the symbol of how reading can change your life. In a way, the novel is a tribute to the classic Mediterranean and its old cultural memory. When the diver appears before Elena, he knows how to recognize the quiet, simple and silent hero who he doesn’t even read. A hero does not have to be a hero all the time, sometimes it will be exhausted or debased, but I keep the strip that interests me“, it is finished.

By Editor

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