Marcelo Figueras

Argentina

©Alejandra López

 

Marcelo Figueras was born in Buenos Aires in 1962 where he now lives, having spent many years in Barcelona. He is a writer, filmmaker and journalist and has interviewed Madonna, Julia Roberts, Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Woody Allen, Arthur Miller and Martin Scorsese, amongst others. He has also previously worked as war journalist and singer, and used to write for the literary blog El Boomeran(g).

 

 

In El negro corazón del crimen (“The Black Heart of Crime”), Figueras devotes himself to the Argentinean cult author of Irish descent Rodolfo Walsh (1927-1977), a true icon of Latin American literature. He reconstructs those months of investigation during which Walsh's most emblematic book, Operación Masacre (“Operation Massacre”), was born. But he also narrates the transformation of that young man into the Rodolfo Walsh we know today: the writer committed to his time, with politics understood as the defence of the weak and oppressed, and journalism that tells what not everyone wants to hear and to know.

Buenos Aires, 1956. A heinous crime pushes a fiction writer to become a detective. That decision puts an end to the life he had lived until then: it turns him into a fugitive, drives him into the arms of a forbidden romance, questions everything he believes in and puts him face-to-face with death.

The boundaries between fiction and reality are blurred, as in Figueras’s novel. Because that terrible crime existed. And the writer-detective, too. In 1956 he was twenty-nine years old and began to call himself Rodolfo J. Walsh.

Operación Masacre (“Operation Massacre”) is recognized as one of the foundational pieces of investigative journalism, a work of non-fiction literature, written 9 years before In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.

 

The Black Heart of Crime balances on a knife-edge between "novel of ideas" and political crime novel, between finely chiseled author portrait and aesthetic-political discourse. And that's exciting.

Deutschlandfunk Kultur, Thomas Wörtche

 

Perfectly composed thriller and reportage in one: a masterpiece.

Lovelybooks

 

Influenced by Figueras’s steady hand of a screenwriter (Plata quemada (“Burnt Money”), Kamchatka), places are described efficiently and humour appears constantly.

La Nación

 

Fabulous fictional novel about the writing of a real fact. A kind of literary Russian doll, the story within history.

Libros y Libreros

 

 

Marcelo Figueras’s novel El rey de los espinos (“The King of Thorns”) is a fast-paced adventure novel that crosses the limits of the fantasy and science fiction genres. In 2019, a famous Argentine comic writer is killed by the Secret State Police. To the young gravedigger Milo’s amazement, at the funeral he recognizes four of the author’s characters, each apparently arising from another world and time. Together with Milo and his best friend Baba, the four try to find the author’s last unpublished manuscript, where all of them are supposed to meet for the first time. Did the author bring them all together in order to be resurrected? And what role is played by the author’s daughters, who fought against the dictatorial regime and disappeared without a trace?

With strong and unique characters like these, Figueras develops an enthralling story that has more in common with our real world than we might think at first glance.

 

In Kamchatka, Marcelo Figueras tells the moving story of ten-year-old Harry whose parents are politically persecuted in the heat of 1980s Argentina. They take him to a house in the country, pretending to play a game and bravely trying to face a life deprived of everything they have known so far. In an attempt to escape a world gone mad, Harry seeks consolation in his imagination. In the end, though, all their precautions cannot save his parents… With simple but beautiful language and subliminal humour, Figueras draws the reader into the adolescent’s world.

 

A story hard to forget.

DIE WELT

 

A hopeful message about the healing process of imagination and love.

The New York Times

 

In this brilliant coming-of-age novel, Marcelo Figueras does not offer a conventional portrait of Argentina’s brutal past. Instead, he focuses on the personal rather than the political.

The Independent

 

Figueras writes with power and insight about the ways in which a child uses imagination to make sense of terrifying and baffling reality.

The Times

 

Marcelo Figueras’ Kamchatka is an extraordinary novel: Marvelling, never know-alt, full of wonderful observations. A story hard to forget.

DIE WELT

 

Moving, admirably narrated, beautiful and placid to read - Kamchatka is a special novel. Don’t miss it.

Babelia, El País

 

 

La batalla del calentamiento ("The Warm-up Battle") is a fairy tale-like story full of humour and spooky suspense. Pat and her daughter Miranda have been moving around until they meet Teo, who immediately falls in love with the beautiful Pat. But the three are by no means ordinary people: Miranda has magical powers, and Teo is a giant. And what exactly has Pat been running from? Did Miranda's father really die as she claims?

 

Passion for stories and fantasy fill the pages of La batalla del calentamiento.

ABC

 

La batalla del calentamiento has all the necessary ingredients to make a de-manding reader happy.

Punto Noticias

 

 

“As silent as a fish,” they say of people who cannot or will not talk for whatever reason. And the protagonists of Marcelo Figuera's latest work move through the novel like fish in an Aquarium: constrained in the prison of their own speechlessness.

One of them is Ulises Rosso, who sets out for Israel to look for his children, which his wife has taken away from him. He feels like a monster who destroys all relationships, yet he is powerless to change his situation. Arrived in a country where he is taken for a Palestinian because of his skin colour and treated accordingly, Ulises meets the artist Irit Rosenblum  and falls in love. Her soul too has been caught up in a cocoon since she lost her husband in an Intifada attack. The two of them have no language in common, and yet they understand one another.

Parallel to this story we follow Miriam and David, a couple who spent years trying for a child, only to lose their baby after a premature birth. She withdraws into a world of fish, which swim around like her “fish child” in its amniotic fluid. The couple are drawn to the local aquarium over and over again - a habit that David keeps up even after his wife's death, as a way to feel close to her.

And finally, the child Danny plays a role. Irit takes him in after he is found on the street. He plays dumb, rejects any physical contact and his only communication is through drawings, usually of fish. That gives Irit the idea of taking Danny to the aquarium - where they meet David.

Like in a play driven along in acts by the individual characters, like in a waltz in three tempos, Figueras has written a novel as dramatic as it is accomplished. He sketches out his character's inability, regardless of their sex, age or cultural origin, to express themselves in words, yet without refusing communication and loving understanding in itself.

A wonderful book, dramatic, moving, scarred by pain and loss, complex and intense, yet beyond the unhappy end it has a much more important message: that of hope!

 

I have never stopped believing that love wins.

Figueras in: Crítica de la Argentina

 

In his novel Aquarium he appears to be convinced that the only language that matters is that of kissing.

Crítica de la Argentina

 

With sensitivity and lucidity, Aquarium follows a flash of light of tolerant goodwill, of beauty- that brightens the closed night through which we walk.

MinutoUno

 

 

 

Rights (selection):

 

Novels:

El negro corazón del crimen

Buenos Aires: Alfaguara 2017, 416 p.

German: Nagel & Kimche 2018

 

El rey de los espinos

(with illustrations by Riki Blanco)

Madrid: Suma de Letras 2014, 840 p.

Italy: L’Asino D’Oro

 

Aquarium

Buenos Aires: Alfaguara 2009, Madrid: Alfaguara 2011, 324 p.

Italy: L’Asino d’Oro 2015

 

La batalla del calentamiento

Buenos Aires: Alfaguara 2006, Madrid: Alfaguara 2007, 544 p.

German: Nagel & Kimche 2008, dtv 2010 Netherlands: Signatuur 2009

 

Kamchatka

Madrid: Alfaguara 2003, 336 p.

Premio Scanno Italy 2014

Best screen-play at the Havana Film Festival 2003

France: Éditions du Panamá 2007 German: Nagel & Kimche 2006, pb dtv 2008 Israel: Yedioth 2012 Italy: L’Asino d’Oro 2014Netherlands: Signatuur 2007 Poland: Muza 2005 Romania: Allfa 2013Russia: Inostranka 2007 Serbia: Dereta Turkey: Dogan 2014UK: Atlantic 2010 US: Grove Atlantic 2011

 

El espía del tiempo

Madrid: Alfaguara 2002, 312 p.

France: Phébus 2004, Libella 2011 German: Nagel & Kimche 2010 Italy: L’Asino D’Oro Poland: Muza 2005

 

El muchacho peronista

Buenos Aires: Planeta 1992, 285 p.

 

 

 

Short Prose:

El año que viví en peligro, Madrid: Alfaguara 2007, 280 p.

(texts written for the blog El Boomeran(g))

 

 

Screen-plays:

El negro corazón del crimen, screen-play forthcoming

 

El espía del tiempo, to be adapted in Spain

 

Las viudas de los jueves, 2009

Directed by Marcelo Piñeyro

 

Rosario Tijeras, 2005

Directed by Emilio Maillé

Nominated for the Goya Prize and for the Silver Ariel Award 2006

 

Peligrosa obsesión, 2004

Directed by Raúl Rodríguez Peila

 

Kamchatka, 2002

Directed by Marcelo Piñeyro

Best screen-play at the Havana Film Festival 2003

Argentina’s official submission for the 2002 Oscar Awards

 

Plata quemada, 2000

Directed by Marcelo Piñeyro

Goya Prize for the Best Spanish Language Foreign Film 2001

Selected by L.A.Times as one of the Best 10 Films of the Year 2000

 

 

 

For young readers:

Gus Weller rompe el molde

Madrid: Alfaguara 2006, 157 p.