On Monday the 16th of April we held our favourite event: the CL, which in Spanish literally stands for Círculo Literario (i.e. Reading or Book Club, so to speak). We basically pick a book from our library and invite the writer to participate. Vis-à-vis, communication becomes fluent, and we freely can “dig characters, target, story, historical background and motivation out”. This time the CL was conducted in a small, cosy restaurant with Javier Negrete and talked about La Zona, his latest book.
Javier resolved to write a book along with Juan Miguel Aguilera, simply because the latter suggested him the idea of writing a TV, or may be cinema script, knowing offhand what both the plot and dynamics would be like. As far as content was concerned, the task was directly assigned to Javier. Thus, once both skeleton and flesh were set-up, the whole project seemed to work on its own.
Javier shows throughout the book a great concern for social problems, especially for those directly affecting the unprotected, as well as for universal conflicts of prime relevance nowadays. Among others:
- Immigration: merciless trade of collectives- men, women and children – who, fleeing from hunger and disease become an easy commodity for merciless, lucrative trading.
- Bioterrorism: Javier’s warning for bio-threats is present all along. They are more than suspected and closer than expected.
- Xenophobia: xenophobic attitudes and depiction towards different races and immigrants from underdeveloped countries is common practice in the so-called first world countries, which, paradoxically enough in many cases underwent strong migration movements to boost their GDP and so set the grounds for their present economies.
- Zombies: Javier uses this concept as a symbol of alienation nowadays.
We liked La Zona mainly because o its:
- Structure: because so many things take place in such a tight time frame, its 446 pages are polarised in 60 reasonably short chapters. This way, to stop reading it becomes a mission.
- Assortment of characters: a real parade of the most picturesque samples of underground Matavientos dwellers, as opposed to the cool, high profile of main characters.
- Symbolism: zombies, Aguirre’s particular, snake-like eyes.
- Message of tolerance, and rejection to prejudice.
- Type: Techno-thriller.
- Time Frame: 2011.
- Place: Amsterdam (the Netherlands), and Matavientos – Almeria – (Spain).
SOMETHING TO REMARK: its rhythm. Simply because the book was supposedly a draft for a script, action takes place hectically. People’s lives turn upside down in 48 hours. Characters are continuously threatened and chased.
FURTHER READING: Mount Dragon, by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.
READABILITY RATE: A2-B2 – easy to normal. The readability rate of index tells us about the reading difficulty degree or level for non-native speakers. Native speakers can also benefit from this benchmarking.