Tuesday, May 18

Elísabet Benavent, the woman of three million readers | The weekly country


Elísabet Benavent doesn’t really want to lie to us. The publisher —Suma de Letras— has told us that it has reached three million copies of its books sold. But she wants to clarify the data when we meet at the Comercial café in Madrid, where one day she comes down to write or take notes at any of their tables. We are at the beginning of March … “The exact figure is 2,989,000 or something like that, it does not reach three …”. Well, anyway, anyone tends to round. And when this profile comes to light, it will surely have surpassed them. The rigor is appreciated on the indicated date, but the accounts prove that for April 8, the day for which the launch of The art of cheating karma, his new novel, will be more than what the publisher has calculated.

And it is that Elísabet Benavent, at 36 years old, tries to minimize importance. It tends to be subtracted because its sums are overwhelming. Since his first novel appeared before the public, in 2013, his life changed. “No one is going to read it, no one is going to buy it, you will see,” he warned some close friends. He did it with judgment, intuition, and a lousy idea about his own possibilities. Completely removed from what happened next. Today, those two friends who encouraged her do not stop inviting them to eat.

He always leaves a certain suspense in the air when he tells his life. Traces of the plot so that you can make your own composition, your puzzle. On the one hand, Benavent is narrated with a certain disdain, but without distance. On the other, it slides data that does not match the version it offers of itself. Even that’s what he’s a novelist for. You judge. Those friends encourage you to take the step: self-publish on Amazon. The first title was In Valeria’s shoes. His environment was betting hard. She, she says, not so much. But who knows … The truth is that he had artillery stored in the drawer of the just in case. “Yes, I had finished seven novels. Four on Valeria — in order: In Valeria’s shoes, Valeria in the mirror, Valeria in black and white, Valeria naked—, two about Silvia and another: My island. That’s why in the first stage I was publishing so fast ”.

The fact is that it did not take long to climb to the top sales positions within the platform and, with scouts to the parrot, they did not delay in signing it for its current label, Suma de Letras. The one that Gonzalo Albert directs today, a young lynx of the trade who takes care of the throws side by side with the author. If we go further back, he confesses that the first three he wrote about Valeria had not been taught to anyone. Not even your most intimate family environment? Silence. Another ingredient for suspense.

The personal plot continues… And that since childhood in their home in Valencia they had more than clear their vocation. “Vitamin, they called me. He did not stop counting things ”. His mother, Rafaela; his father, Tomás, and Lorena, his sister, a true mentor of his footsteps and a secondary school literature teacher, listened to them attentively at times. Others, we can imagine, disconnecting from the fantasy that the girl displayed: “I was the troubadour of the house.” Already in school he won a contest. “With a story about a worm that had problems with other worms. I argued with a very big one and in the end they end up being friends ”.

Elísabet Benavent on calle de la Palma, in Madrid,
Elísabet Benavent on calle de la Palma, in Madrid,Bego Solís / EPS

If the misadventures of that invertebrate did not cause him a problem when it came to presenting himself for the award, why did he wait so long afterwards? “It was something I did for me, I had no training, who would be interested … Besides, people make you feel vulnerable.” In that his instincts did not fail. And this is where the parallel comes in with the ugly duckling. For the plot … Elísabet Benavent worked within the marketing and communication department of a multinational consulting firm, which she does not want to give the name of, but the nickname: “Mordor, it was one of the big four [de las cuatro grandes a nivel mundial]”. In part, her decision not to publish was because she knew for a fact that she was going to be crucified at work. Not the bosses, they weren’t so afraid of. To some colleagues, on the other hand, yes. “They laughed at me cruelly, not otherwise. They laughed ad nauseam ”. He also armed himself with armor by remembering that. It must have hurt, but… “I didn’t count. It was Mordor, as I told you, and I did not possess the ring of power ”.

At that time, he did not have blue hair and lived in an apartment in Estrecho, near Cuatro Caminos, squeezed into 30 square meters, “not useful,” he points out. Regarding the color of the hair: “I wore it dyed red and also had a piercing.” Nor had the beginning of Valeria been tattooed then: “Once upon a time…”, like today. One of the more than 20 motifs that decorate her body. “And the next one I have already thought about: a woman’s hand holding a flame. I don’t know what it means, but it suggests a sense of power. We women juggle with our hands and we don’t get burned, ”she says. What does that mean? What now? That now already holds the ring of power? Three million copies sold provide the answer.

The next bar where we stop is El Amor Hermoso, on calle de la Palma: another of its urban laboratories with doors and windows in current to prevent the virus. He recommends ordering a vermouth slush, but she opts for a red wine to match her polka dot dress and red shoes. The new tattoo design can also be a nod to his new character: Catalina Beltrán, protagonist of The art of cheating karma.

It has cost him more than the rest, he confesses. He wrote during the pandemic year and ended just in the days of the storm Filomena. “I could not get the story to touch the ground,” he says. “I knew absolutely everything about the characters, but I didn’t focus. The isolation was fatal ”. Perhaps for this reason, a tribute to Madrid has also come out. The city in which he lives, passes very present between its pages and purges the trauma of the coronavirus like a past scar with a safe conduct to start a belle époque 21st century. He has raised it in a dystopian plan, but the other way around, in his new story. That is to say, let’s say that we have already overcome the pandemic and we are again somewhat happier. “As before, I do not deny that before, but at 36 years old I am already old enough to assume that it will not be the same again.”

The novel has something of what she could have become from continuing the path of another of her passions: art. An environment conducive to the genre that Benavent addresses: the romantic comedy. In The art of cheating karma, Benavent mixes Anglicisms with traditional language – ”I am very social, my mother says that if the house sinks, do not look for me under the rubble, although in this pandemic I have felt like a misfit”, he affirms—, conversations and spills, sex and sophisticated plots with brand eschatology of the house throughout almost 700 pages.

It is the formula of this author with a vocation to once again burst the market and become that voice of transversal generations, capable of bringing together daughter, mother and grandmother in a queue of signatures. “That has happened to me, yes …”. Her success proves that she is a medium capable of traversing global sensations and emotions with the ingredients of her entanglements.

Who will make it … Her and her ring of power. Therefore, a year after publishing In Valeria’s shoes and continue with his aftermath dusted off while his complexes, while he began to eat the bookstore tables, had already given Mordor a sleeves cut and devoted himself full time to writing when he had not reached 30. That determination has come out in eight years 22 novels and a television series posted on Netflix about Valeria. His gives for various soap operas. In his tone, you know, without cutting his veins for love, with feminine power and fleeing from the millennial label, which claims not to know what it is, but without a doubt connecting with a generational state of mind. It does not claim to be aware of it. But she does say that her personal experiences are shared between her characters of both sexes: “She was very crude; if there was a move, he would stick his nose in, ”he lets out. Not that she was distracted by that, that yes, “she was also the queen of procrastination”, it is that she smelled arguments as a child.

And about first love …? What’s left A name: “Jacobo, the naughtiest in the class. It lasted between 7 and 15 years, although we officially went out for a week and shelved because it was inconstant: he was in love with me at times yes and at times no ”. Then came Pau, in adolescence: “I proposed and he said no. There I learned what frustration is for adult life. I am a hopeless romantic, but very practical; if they don’t like me well, door. I don’t let myself be sick too long. I have been lucky, they have not made me suffer, although sometimes I feel a deep sorrow, I start to cry for 20 minutes and then I feel like new ”.

He doesn’t understand half of the things that happen about politics today, but he doesn’t lose sleep either. Atlético de Madrid, yes. She is a fan, above all, of Cholo Simeone. He does not abhor social networks. Much of its success is due to what was once a successful blog: Betacoqueta. But it has become selective with some. “I left Twitter in 2019. I asked not to tag my pirated books and you don’t know the one that fell on me. In that network they speak a code that is not mine: arguing for the sake of arguing. Instagram, on the other hand, yes: “It is healthier and more positive… Networks are a window through which everything enters. Sun, rain, wind and dust. But for the most part they are very good ”.


elpais.com

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