Mapuche people were ghosts until the end of the 90's


Caryl Férey

Caryl Férey

Mapuche

Caryl Férey’s novel Utu won the Sang d’Encre, Michael Lebrun, and SNCF Crime Fiction Prizes. Zulu was the winner of the Nouvel Obs Crime Fiction and Quais du Polar Readers Prizes. In 2008, it was awarded the French Grand Prix for Best Crime Novel. He lives in France.

After New Zealand, Australia, the reader is taken to Argentina. Where does this interest for the South of the Southern hemisphere come from ?

With the globalisation, the world has gone right-wing, and South America has done the other way around, by getting rid of dictatorships and the influence of the CIA. Argentina, so close to us (Westerners), has undergone the worst of all of them, and the worst crisis in our economic system. I’m passionate about that, as well as the fate of the natives, in this case Mapuche people.

When can a novelist take possession of a subject to write a story about it?

If he knows about his subject… I was in complete immersion for four years, I have the weakness to believe that I know a little bit about Argentina.

Ruben is a tough nut like Sam Spade… in love with a beautiful Native American woman. Blood, tears and a little tenderness, is it Caryl Férey’s vision of life?

Fortunately I am much more optimistic in my life than in my novels. I swore to be happy a long time ago and I’m doing pretty well. In my novels, given the subjects I’m interested in, it’s difficult to write something light-hearted. In the end, even if it’s not stronger than everything, love has managed to bring the worst dictatorship to its knees, thanks to the fight of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo.

Argentina is known for its terrible dictatorship in the 70’s, and for being the first country to go bankrupt and to have told the financial markets to go to hell. However it is less known for its Native Americans. Do Argentineans now take the claims of the first inhabitants of the country into consideration?

Mapuche people were ghosts until the end of the 90’s. Thanks to the fight of Marcos in Mexico, who gave their voice back to the « Indians » (a word never used by the natives), Argentina has seen a certain resurgence of the natives… partly when Benetton has encroached on their territory. But they are not considered as terrorists, as it is the case in Chile.