Álvaro Pombo wins the Umbral Prize for ‘Santander, 1936’ | EUROtoday

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.


At the age of 84, the Cantabrian author wins the thirteenth version of the award, value 12,000, for a novel concerning the homicide in 1936 of his younger Falangist uncle, Álvaro Pombo Ibarra

The writer Álvaro Pombo.
The author Álvaro Pombo.ALBERTO DILOLLI

Álvaro Pombo is a author along with his personal world who places on a wool hat à la André Gide and begins writing novels like Santander, 1936. And what he does is inform the Falangist adventures of his uncle, Álvaro Pombo Ibarra, murdered that very same 12 months and transformed in his nephew’s novel into a superb work of self-inspection, avoiding the complexity of residing in Spain in these days and the way skepticism is without doubt one of the types of goodness, of survival (even).

Well, for that novel, Santander, 1936, printed in Anagrama, Álvaro Pombo receives the Francisco Umbral Award for the e-book of the 12 months 2023, in its thirteenth version. An award organized by the muse of the author from Valladolid, endowed with 12,000 euros and with a sculpture by the artist and designer Alberto Corazón.

The ties between Umbral and Pombo are territorial and mutual sympathy. The winner was born in Santander on June 23, 1939, right into a household of the Cantabrian aristocracy. In the middle for an solely little one. He studied within the Piarists, the place he repeated one of many programs and was invited to march. By then, {the teenager} Pombo was writing articles within the faculty journal. He modified the Piarists for the Jesuits and Santander for Valladolid. He exchanged the ocean for the plateau. He exchanged one strangeness for one more. She entered literature by groping, as is regular.

So Pombo is 84 years outdated and the Threshold jury has decided that Santander, 1936 es “an exceptional novel, against the current, that shows the high literature and sensitivity of which this author is capable”. They say within the jury “against the current.” And that’s exactly what Pombo means in Hispanic letters. A approach of combating in opposition to literary formulation, and fashions, and gregariousness, and conventions. Because Pombo writes in Pombo and that has given rise to some memorable items: The iridescent platinum meter, the place the ladies o The hero’s tremor.

The literature of this creator, even in ‘Santander, 1936’, additionally shows a sagacious irony that’s an ethic, and an aesthetic, and one thing greater than laughter: primarily intelligence. And a approach to present that life would not at all times damage in the identical place. “That uncle of mine, the protagonist of the novel, who was killed at the age of 19, belonged to the liberal agnostic branch of my family, that of his father: my grandfather Cayo. In my childhood home, on Pier 35 in Santander, there was a photo of him. And for me it had something of heroic figure, of a Falangist heroism that included death, not victory“says Pombo on the opposite finish of the cellphone.

That boy was carried away by the youthful enthusiasm of the Falange and the novel covers the years of 1933, 1934, 1935 and till the execution. “The family then took a year to recover the body from where he was murdered to transfer it to the Santander cathedral,” explains the author. “And, finally, they deposited his remains in the crypt of Christ.” The Álvaro Pombo Ibarra of this piece was younger and good-looking, younger man impoverished and saddened by the loneliness of his father and the frivolity of his momprimarily good, Falangist attributable to a mix of idealism and very important anguish… He protected himself from it by means of politics, the promise of a radically new world…

But Pombo, the author, the one in all now, ours, takes shortcuts in his personal impetuous approach. Let’s see. “The interesting issue here is not the novel, no.” So what’s it? “Well Francisco Umbral. His presence is still among us. His literature. The precision of it. Your language. The threshold article is still valid. Well written. Bright. Very present, because he wrote from the present, not from the timeless.”

– He was an enormous reader of Umbral.

– Rather a lot. And I bear in mind one morning after I despatched him a espresso pot so he might drink an excellent ghostly espresso. And he responded to me with an article. Umbral captures actuality in a tremendous approach. And that has not been misplaced. Some younger columnists are in that wake. Not imitating the model, however embracing the spirit of it.

Álvaro Pombo coughs and retains writing.