Uruguyan-Dutch author Carolina Trujillo interviewed

Carolina Trujillo

Translated from Dutch daily Trouw:

August 7, 2010

Iris Pronk

“Anger is a good engine, just like grief”

From what do writers get their inspiration? What is their literary goldmine? Episode 1 of a series: the originally Uruguayan writer Carolina Trujillo [Píriz] (40). She writes about cocaine, coups d’état, guerrilla fighters and their children “who are destroyed.” …

“Polder Latina”, Trujillo has been called. Because of her novels, “un-Dutch”, but written in Dutch: her debut “The Bastard of Mal Abrigo” (2002) and “The Return of Lupe Garcia” (2009).

All their pages exude South America: there are coca plantations and drug cartels, the cocaine comes in wholesale quantities. Trujillo describes coups and dictators, prisons and tortured guerrillas. Her next book, of which she by now has completed more than 150 pages, is set in Montevideo. The capital of Uruguay, her hometown.

Trujillo’s biography is torn between Uruguay and the ‘polder’. Her baby and toddler time she spent in Montevideo, until the military tore her family apart. After the coup in 1973 her father, who was a member of the urban guerrilla Tupamaros, landed in prison. Five-year-old Trujillo fled with her mother and sister to the Netherlands. …

It ended when Uruguay freed itself from the military and Trujillo’s father was released from prison. He landed at Schiphol airport, Trujillo was fifteen. And deeply disappointed at the sight of the man who, in her fantasy, had assumed mythical proportions. “During my entire childhood I had longed for him and boasted about him. In my imagination he was two meters tall, a freedom fighter who had snatched a soldier from his horse. ”

But Latinos are usually not tall anyway, and Trujillo’s father was also malnourished, weakened and shaven headed. “He looked like someone who came from a concentration camp. I was embarrassed as a fifteen-year-old girl may be ashamed about her parents. I thought my friends will not think he’s tough.”

With her freed, but broken, father, Trujillo went back to Uruguay for a new start with the family. That failed, her parents divorced. On her 21st Trujillo finally settled in the Netherlands, where she went to college. …

“Another pivotal event: the 1987 referendum in which the “impunity law” was adopted. It provides that people will not have to stand trial for crimes committed between 1973 and 1984 in Uruguayan territory.

“They” decided that we pardoned the soldiers. But I do not pardon anything. They took away my father from me and they took away twelve years of my father’s life. That had a very big impact on me then.”

2 thoughts on “Uruguyan-Dutch author Carolina Trujillo interviewed

  1. Pingback: Apologies for Salvadorean, Uruguayan dictators’ crimes | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: World poetry festival in Venezuela | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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