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Selfie of author Javier Castillo and SUR journalist Francisco Griñán yesterday at SUR's Aula de Cultura event, sponsored by Fundación Unicaja and Cervezas Victoria. Photo: Ñito Salas / Video: Pedro J. Quero
Literature

Javier Castillo, the local author of Netflix blockbuster The Snow Girl, premieres his new novel in Malaga

Hundreds of fans queued for up to six hours to hear the 36-year-old city-born writer present his new book at the SUR Aula de Cultura event, sponsored by Fundación Unicaja and Cervezas Victoria

Cristina Pinto

Malaga

Wednesday, 17 April 2024, 11:12

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It is not usual to have a book signing on the same day that the book goes on sale. But Javier Castillo's story is out of the ordinary. Seven years, seven novels. And without ever forgetting where he comes from and where it all began.

The writer from Malaga has once again chosen the city to lay the foundation stone of what no one doubts will be another triumph: La Grieta del Silencio (The Fissure of Silence). It is the third book, closing The Snow Girl (La Chica de Nieve) trilogy, which has travelled around the world and which was adapted for the television screen by Netflix.

Castillo chose Malaga and SUR, the newspaper with which he still laughingly recalls his first interview as a writer. He returned to SUR's culture hall on Tuesday 16 April, following last year's successful book signing. Yesterday, there were hundreds of fans who had been waiting for Castillo for six hours before the event, filling the hall until about 11pm, when he signed his last book.

"I wanted to do it in my homeland, I wanted the presentation to be with you and I wanted my family, my brother... to come. Thank you for being here," Castillo said. And so it was. Together with his children, his wife, his in-laws, his brother and many friends who wanted to accompany him. From the first moment until the last, he maintained his well-known good sense of humour alongside SUR journalist Francisco Griñán, at the event sponsored by the Unicaja Foundation and Cervezas Victoria, and which on this occasion was supported by Málaga Procultura and Suma.

"This is his best novel". That is how emphatically the literary director of Suma, Gonzalo Albert, described it. He also said it is "the most tender and moving". With it, the author closes the trilogy, saying farewell to the character of Miren Triggs. "Can I cry?" he said as he spoke about the ending. "I had a hard time writing the last epilogue because I knew that for a long time I had to say goodbye to Miren and at the moment it is going to be definitive because she is a perfect character right now. This is an honest way of saying goodbye, although maybe in 20 years I'd love her to come back," he said.

"I think I've left all my emotions in this novel; right now I'm empty, I don't even know how to feel"

Writing is Castillo's passion and that is something that is reflected in the pages of his books, hence the feeling of sadness at the end of one of his novels and particularly this one, which ends the story that launched his worldwide success. "I think I've left all my emotions in this novel; right now I'm empty, I don't even know how to feel," Castillo said.

He could not reveal much about the novel, but confessed some of his feelings while writing it: "Writing about my fears helps me to cope with them. Life has changed for me since I became a father.... This novel is about the disappearance of a seven-year-old boy and my beloved daughter Gala is that age. The reality is that being a father has taught me the purest emotions there are and it helps me to write about irrational fear, unconditional love," he said.

Ñito Salas

A universal language

"Why are readers so interested in crime?" asked Francisco Griñán - a question directly linked to "writing about fears". After all, it is only a universal language. "We are increasingly divided and have more distance between cultures, but the reality is that we are all fascinated by the same things and have the same fears, such as our children not arriving home from school or something happening to our partner when we get home. On the other hand, crimes interest us because they speak of what we are not and of something very different that makes us think about what we would do in that situation, we are all struck by that," Castillo pointed out.

To close the trilogy, the "nostalgic elements" that constantly appear are not left out either. The VHS tape, the Polaroid camera already present in the previous ones and now the cassette. "I like to give that touch of nostalgia just now that we are constantly looking at screens; I'm afraid of that feeling of losing control quickly when you spend 15 minutes looking at photos and in reality you had only picked up your mobile to answer a message," Castillo said.

That is one of the purposes of reading, to leave the screen for a moment and enter into history. That is what many of the attendees did yesterday, who hardly picked up their mobile phones during the book signing event. Eventually, they did switch on their mobile phones because it was time for the book signing and, of course, they could not miss the selfies and videos to capture the moment with Javier Castillo, who was once again a prophet in his own land and opened in Malaga the crack that closes his trilogy.

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