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- Creators: Acereda, Alberto
The subject of this study is the work of Spanish novelist J. Á. González Sainz, comprised of Los encuentros (1989), Un mundo exasperado (1995), Volver al mundo (2003) y Ojos que no ven (2010). His work, which is structurally demanding, treats themes such as morality, terrorism, the nostos or return to one's homeland, and nature. He has been connected to the "dehumanized novel" of Juan Benet, though his career demonstrates an attempt to make clear references to historical reality. González Sainz has acquired a measure of prestige in the estimation of important critics. With his latest book, he has furthermore gained recognition for his moral commitment in opposing the terrorism of ETA, and his work has entered debates on current events. In my study I argue that this formally rigorous narrative has a singular capacity for political engagement. I argue that González Sainz is an example of the integration of ethics in a narrative discourse whose semantic density allows a commitment with moral conflicts. To situate it in the context of contemporary Spanish fiction, I relate Pierre Bourdieu's notion of the literary field to the proposals concerning the history of literature of Pablo Gil Casado, Gonzalo Sobejano, Ramón Buckley, Ignacio Soldevila Durante and others. I follow three lines of investigation: terrorism in literature; ethics; and the political engagement of the writer. Ethics, whose relation to literature has been studied by Zachary Newton, Wolfgang Hallet or Nina Rosenstand, has allowed the author a political engagement in opposition to terrorism in general and in particular in opposition to ETA. González Sainz exhibits an equilibrium between aesthetic and ethical values of literature. In the plural context of the latest fiction in Spain, his novels have found a place in the tradition that since the middle of the twentieth century has been characterized by a dialectic between political engagement and the autonomy of literature. The theme of ETA terrorism and his structural rigor situate González Sainz's work in a position that maintains the validity of this dialectic.