La Voz de Galicia – June 14, 2019 →

Cristina PatoA Esmorga (On a Bender) is probably one of the texts in Galician literature that made a deep impression on me during my adolescence. I remember my obsession with the work: the plot occurs near the house I grew up in, and I could visualize almost all the settings where something happened. I thought it fascinating to be so close to the protagonists of a novel. On my daily way to school, I walked around the streets of A Esmorga, where life in the old part of Ourense in the 90s did not seem to be so different from the reality represented in Blanco Amor’s work. The novel’s surroundings both shapes its characters and becomes one of those characters.

The Ourense of today is different from that of A Esmorga, but our surroundings continue to offer grave problems with difficult solutions. We are relatively invisible and head one of the most sinister indices: we are the province of Spain with the largest number of elderly people, and our demographic balance profile is so negative that it has reached the ears of the European Union. And we go on, not finding solutions to our problems, even though we were, and are, a source of talent in all fields.

The curious political situation in my city is, in a way, a paradigm of the political situation at a global level. It makes one wonder how many solutions to our problems are in the hands of our politicians and how many solutions are in the hands of society. When I write about this subject, I think, Who am I to opine? Like many, I also left Ourense, and on top of that, I don’t and won’t have children. I am part of the problem, but am I guilty as well? Do our surroundings shape us, or is it us, the protagonists of our novel, who aren’t able to come together once and for all to find a solution and begin to move forward?

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