“Basically, I don’t know what I’m doing”

Photo credit: Pilar Hormaechea

Photo credit: Pilar Hormaechea

Talking about the literary phenomenon of the season being only halfway through the year might seem like an exaggeration. However, when we refer to a best-selling debut feature that Elisabeth Moss herself is going to bring to the big screen, to say otherwise would be naive. We promise you there is no hyperbole in this success story.

‘Mrs. March’ has made Virginia Feito baptized as “the Spanish Patricia Highsmith”. After seeing her chat on ‘Live For Arts. Culture beyond limits from Mallorca to New York’, a day held at INNSiDE New York Nomad that is part of the second edition of the Magaluf Expanded Literature Festival (FLEM) whose intention is to spread the culture of our country beyond its borders, it is hard to believe that there is a Madrilenian behind his impeccable speech. Her perfect English (she has studied English Literature and Drama at Queen Mary University of London), fast and funny could also make the writer a more than worthy host of an American ‘late night’. She grew up consuming culture written in the language of Shakespeare (let’s stop with snobs bullshit… Which is also Dua Lipa’s and Kris Jenner’s!), so never write in spanish. The translation of the work is the result of the work of Gemma Rovira, translator of a book that Virgina is passionate about: ‘El secreto’, by Donna Tartt.

Clutching a huge cup of tea that brings her closer to Oxford than to Wall Street, we meet her at The Wilsons restaurant to talk about Hurricane March and her time in the Big Apple, where her novel is set. “I hadn’t been back since I came to meet publishers to publish the book with. New York is like a set, a stereotype of itself that we have all created. I will remember a lot about this trip. Meeting Elif Batuman has been an absolute treat, I’m going to harass her until she dies! Look, I hate traveling, I’m getting older, I look like a lady… I’m an old lady: I ​​don’t like going out, I drink tea and I’m waiting for my people to reach my emotional level, but there’s no way… They’re still determined to go constantly! to Tony 2!”he says as he watches the rain through the window, an inclement weather that makes him rethink his initial plan, to go see his book at the New York Public Library, to stay in his place in the hotel room watching ‘Friends’.

Photo credit: Mara Catalan

Photo credit: Mara Catalan

Stumbling is scary, but it is even more terrifying to fall after having reached the top, something he has achieved with his first novel, which captivated Elisabeth Moss in the midst of a pandemic. The protagonist of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ will be in charge of bringing the story to the cinemaunder the label of Blumhouse Productions, as producer and protagonist. “I am afraid of always failing, but now more so. Before, I had the freedom of ignorance, of not knowing what I was facing. Now that I know, I can visualize the faces of all the people I’m going to let down.”, he assures. We well know that humor is used to tell truths, and it is evident that after her rain of funny headlines, the (understandable) fear of not living up to what is expected of her appears.

That a book starring an extremely unpleasant woman has managed to excite critics and the public is not easy. We’ve gotten used to applause for the anti-heroine, but Feito has made sure that Mrs. March is insufferable without redeeming her. “It is that now a lot is happening that the villain is beautiful, and I think it goes against feminism. Women are human and that’s why there are crazy, good and bad. We have layers and grays. The villains are usually either beautiful, or a caricature of the ugly stepmother, very bad and with only one dimension. That’s dangerous. But nor can we escape the inevitable pressure that women experience in this society, to which I subscribe. That should not be ignored”He says.

The Tale of the (Almost) Call

It was in the not-so-distant Zoom-enclosed past that Elisabeth Moss appeared in his life. “At one in the morning or so, I get an email from my agent saying that Elisabeth Moss loves ‘Mrs. March’ and would like to play it. He asked me if I wanted to zoom in on her and I told him I was way too interested in doing it. It was surreal. To this day I doubt that ever happened! She has that celebrity aura that seems to shine with its own light, which I guess is expensive products. I haven’t started working on the script yet, I’ve tried a few things, but I’d like, when asked, to do it as a group, because we’ll have to leave out a lot of things. The novel has a little bit of everything: we could focus on gaslighting, mystery, raise the idea of ​​crime, go to the past… Basically, I have no idea what I’m doing. It’s another language”.

An avid reader of scripts since she was a child, she assures that it motivates her to be able to tell the story in another way (“Is that to do the same thing, the book is already there, right?”), and although he points out that he likes the idea of ​​facing the search for resources with which, for example, to reflect the conscience of his protagonist, he confesses that in the book there are already some scenes created ‘ad hoc’ for the cinema. Do you remember the enigma of whether it was the chicken or the egg first? Here too the times overlap. “I was editing the book at the same time as selling the movie, so I thought of a scene thinking about the movie, not the book. What Elisabeth read was the initial Word document, when I didn’t even know which publisher was going to take it. It still had a year to go before it was published!”.

Photo credit: Thereza.Helena

Photo credit: Thereza.Helena

Immersed in her second book, which will once again feature a complex, dark and humorous female character (“Basically, it’s me doing stand up comedy,” he says), he has decided to go against his customs and read in Spanish. On the table she has ‘Nuestra parte de noche’ (Anagrama), by Mariana Enríquez. “I’m finding a lot of dark and off-putting visuals in the book, a lot of things with fingernails and eyelids that are the perfect level of darkness for me, because that’s what I’m willing to put up with.”.

The difficult part will be managing to continue seeing literature as a pleasure, not as training. “I’ve adopted that layer of reading for work and for training, but on the other hand I’m excited. I have made my passion my job. My little self will be super proud!”. Her current me would have to be too. In the book, the one who enjoys literary success is George March, the protagonist’s husband, and it is curious to read a written sentence, logically, without knowing that those words would later be the ones that so many people have repeated and repeat since the work was published. published: “Have you read the latest book by George March?”, It had become the fashionable phrase to start a conversation at cocktail parties, “writes the author. Now, the obligatory question in any meeting is if you have read the novel by Virginia Feito If you haven’t, by the way, don’t hesitate.

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