Paula Pérez Alonso
© Alejandra Lopez
Paula Pérez Alonso was born in Buenos Aires in 1958. She studied journalism and literature in Buenos Aires and London, and worked in radio and television and for various print media. Pérez Alonso is now an editor for fiction and non-fiction titles at Editorial Planeta Argentina.
Her first novel No sé casarme o comprarme un perro ("Don't Know if I Should Get Married or Buy Myself a Dog") was a great success with readers and critics.
El Gran Plan (“The Great Plan”) is read as three major plans that fail: One of love-passion, one of flight-paradise, the other aesthetic-political. They are human plans, concerning issues that affect us all, and which, for being so grandiose and probably incompatible with the banality of existence, fail.
A man and a woman without formal ties or obligations towards each other live together in a house. He abducted her from a safe and schematic life; she went with him. They are united by something stronger than love. In the Atacama desert, the woman, along with an archaeologist, an astronomer, an anthropologist and a film director, is staying in a hotel that serves as their operational base. The director has filmed the light like no one before and is determined to commit suicide so that his film will be seen by a wider audience. In Venice, the woman’s father followed the footsteps of Ezra Pound. After the father's death, she rescues his marginal notes which tried to clarify how the ground-breaking poet was seized by the longing to preserve order ravaged by war.
El Gran Plan joins three moments of a life in a master pass. With an electrifying narrative intelligence, the new novel by Paula Pérez Alonso ends with an unexpected and beautiful twist.
The text with its poetry and perfect design will remain in the literature of these times.
A great plan, a great writer. Finally, finally, a work that promises to throw me off the abyss.
The Great Plan is life fleeing the boredom of the predictable at a breakneck pace; it is a plan that does not run out (...) Of sweeping intensity.
In her novel, the bestselling Argentinean author Paula Perez Alonso once again proves herself a sensitive and incorruptible observer of society. Frágil ("Fragile") is set in present-day Buenos Aires, where the two protagonists meet in the city's lively centre. When he discovers Celeste at the crossroads of Corrientes and Diagonal, Bruno is immediately fascinated: a girl on stilts dressed in neon colours handing out flyers from the Centro de la Liberación to passers-by. He follows her and they start talking. As they get to know each other better, Celeste manages to confront Bruno with his memories and his life story, which he had successfully repressed. The young man earns a living as a computer specialist, spending his free time walking the exact same paths through the city every night. He lives the life of a loner without any contact to his parents and grandmother, who tortured him psychologically as a child and broke his will. Celeste tears Bruno out of his apparently ordered and normal life, and he senses that she can help him.
Celeste too senses that she touches something in Bruno. She wants to convince him that it's good to lose control over oneself every now and then. She suggests sex, but on their third real date he takes Celeste along on one of his night tours instead, and the two of them watch people through their lighted windows: people who are alone, people who have nothing to say to each other and all watch the same TV shows. Celeste recognises one of these individuals: a man who begs in the town centre and obviously manages to maintain a meagre sense of dignity. By chance, she and Bruno meet him later in a restaurant and get into conversation. A few days later, Celeste reads in the newspaper that the man has been murdered – and Bruno has vanished...
In Fragil, Paula Perez Alonso steers two unusual and fundamentally diffe-rent personalities up against each other, prompting dramatic consequences. The book is a startling revelation of the fractures and identity problems of today's Argentinean society.
With this novel Paula Pérez Alonso locates herself ahead of the handful of Argentine storytellers who have emerged in the last decade.
Her prose is both hard and poetic at the same time, chilly at times and always torn.
No sé si casarme o comprarme un perro ("Don't know if I should get married or buy myself a dog") is a hypnotic and demanding novel which from the outset was read fervently by a vast audience in both Latin America and Spain: readers, captivated by its raw expressiveness, were transformed into hard-core fans.
Back from a long journey, Juana is alone and knows it is not good for man and woman to be alone. She tries in vain to reconnect with people she used to know, but the gallery of characters she meets leads her to put out a classified ad: Wanted: a man who can compete with an ideal dog for the love of a woman. We are about to enter the tormented world of a young woman and her intense affections, trying to survive desperately by clinging to a humorous inquiry. But real life rarely respects humor.
Original editions and rights sold:
El Gran Plan
Buenos Aires: Tusquets 2016, 222 p.
Buenos Aires: Seix Barral 2008, 230 p.
El agua en el agua
Buenos Aires: Seix Barral 2001, 255 p.
No sé si casarme o comprarme un perro
60.000 copies sold in Latin America and Spain!
Buenos Aires: Tusquets 1995, 2016, 280 p.
Hecho un taller
Buenos Aires: Argos 1983
Participation in Anthologies:
El mundo de la edición de libros
Argentina : Paidós 2002
Terror ("Lo inconfesable")
Argentina : Planeta 2012