The Transparent Life of Editor Guillermo Schavelzon



For years I believed that Guillermo Schavelzon, Argentine editor and literary agent Born in 1945, cosmopolitan due to the dictatorship in his country, publishing to greats who were unknown when he took the reins of disreputable publishers, he was a man of mystery, who made silence a way of being. I was wrong, and now he proves it himself in a book, Trade Enigma: Memoirs of a Literary Agent (Editorial plot in Spain, Ampersand in Argentina). It is a transparent memory, in which he reviews the life and works of writers with equal importance Juan Jose SayerAnd the Beatrice GuidoAnd the Elena Poniatowska As for Paul Bowlesas well as famous personalities such as Juan Domingo PeronArgentine and Mexican publisher Arnaldo Orvilla As for Jesus Polancothe main figure in the history of the Spanish newspaper Country.

This is a publisher’s book, but it’s also a person’s book; A person who does not ascribe his faults or omissions (as an editor) to others with whom he has engaged or engaged in the work, but to himself, to what he has done wrong or not done. The idea that he was obscure comes from a smiley As the Argentines say: as a young man experienced in vigorous openings (Jorge Alvarez was the most important in his prime), he went into exile in Mexico, and there he found important outlets for himself, and there he met Javier Braderawho was an important publisher (of Alianza) as well as one of the most influential figures in Country, released a few years ago. Through Javier Pradera and Javier Díez Polanco, one of the senior managers at Prisa, the company that launched the aforementioned newspaper, Schavelzon contacted this company, which in Madrid occupied him with launching collections related to the press and daily, and Later he was entrusted with the leadership of Alfaguara, The publisher who now has homes in most of America was gasping for air at the time.

Chavelzon made the publishing house that would be the emblem of Polanco’s publishing empire, making savings that led to a clean-up of accounts, ready so that the initiatives of those who came (those who came) would no longer be fettered by ruin. It prevented it from happening. So I met him at Country, and at that time he seemed to me an obscure man, for he came and went in stealth and I now, by virtue of his recollections, fully understand them. Therefore, as often happens, the newcomers were greeted by journalists with silence. Javier Pradera took him to the editing room, and among those marches that he told so well, only one friendship emerged, that of another Argentine like him, Carlos Schwartz, with whom he had a relationship that the rest of us didn’t approve of. Then came his entry into Alfaguara, where I myself was to be his successor. My arrogance at the time (I was arriving at a place I knew nothing about, and probably didn’t even want to know what my predecessor had left me) certainly prevented me from trying to find out more about the job than I knew about, so I was left without knowing any details of finding myself. Now I feel regret and joy This is an exceptional book that I would recommend to publishers and to those who, for whatever reason, want to get closer to the human side of those who publish books (authors and publishers).

It’s impossible to sum up a book full of humanity and anecdotes, because humanity and anecdotes don’t always align. As if he had separated his disappointments (he had plenty of them) from his joys, and was taking a sincere note about one and the other, Schavelson deals with his differences with Quino, for example, or with Paul Bowles, Without these differences being the only thing that remained in his memory. unlike. This generosity is conveyed, for example, to this journalist who was also an editor. He asked me for an interview Edith Aron That woman who entered history as the one who inspired a character the magician, affiliate hopscotch Cortazar I did it, in London, and eventually attributed to the journalist even what she herself said into the tape recorder’s microphone, to attribute to me her consequential book of stories (55 hopscotch later published in Spain by Pere Sureda) was not a success among other publishers in the world.

It’s not just there that Schaffelzon demonstrates his transparent method of counting. Jorge Alvarezwho was an insane benefactor of publishing life in his early years, has both positive and negative sides, Elena Poniatowska It has the pedestal it deserves, a picture Juan Rulfo A priceless gem, Beatrice Guido deserves a portrait that recalls her best features (those Saint John Percyfor example) from Thomas Eloy Martinez in a familiar death. Those who cover the lives and sobs of the important people in his life as an editor (and as a friend) are as exciting as they are fair, very complicated people, sometimes very annoying, very insecure, like Mario Benedetti As for Julio Cortazar who are devoted to postmortem care. The episode that unites him, as envoy of Jorge Alvarez, to the Gabriel Garcia MarquezWhen he was struggling to move on, in poverty, a hundred years of isolation It is part of what should be an anthology of devotion. Well, the author of what would be the defining novel of the twentieth century asked (from the publisher, through Schavelzon) a cynical sum for a story, and Alvarez never responded to that request, until Gabo got tired of waiting (and suffering.) and finding another to cover the failure of progress … Which was, the young editor recounts, exactly what the hardworking Colombian writer needed to cover the debts of ten months of renting his house in Mexico.

Other biographical reviews deserve a separate chapter which cannot be summarized without risking undermining the emotional significance of these images. Suffice it to mention, as an invitation to a book to end up in the hands of other readers, names like Asma Juan Jose SayerAnd the Osvaldo Baer Or, this invaluable profile, Augusto Roa Bastosperhaps the most beloved writer I have known myself, for whom Chavelson shows an appreciation and affection that can only be due to Which combines two values, transparency and kindness.

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The very special chapter is the first one with which the Spanish version of the book was born. It is the image that is made Sunday Villar, one, and very important, of the authors he had (and had) at his agency. Shortly before the closing of the version that now sees the light of day, Villar suddenly passed away. Chavelzon reviews the various episodes of Domingo’s relation to his doubts as a writer, and appreciates the patience of his editors (Seruela), who always hoped that indecision would not break hope or contract, and this constitutes, of all the images, the deepest, which best shows sometimes also the loneliness of the publisher, agent, or, Anyway, the friend who ends up being the one who is entrusted to someone else has not written the manuscript on which he pins his hope and his life.

He is Transparent bookNo one aware of the editorial heartbeat, as a reader, as a writer, as a colleague, should stop looking for it on the shelves, if that is the case. One wants to know from which aspect of life the art of liberation is produced.

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