The writer’s 14th novel comes out in November "The Tango of the Old Guard", his 14th novel
A tale of dark and dangerous love, three encounters over 40 years against the backdrop of three historical events that will shape the course of the twentieth-century and the lives of the lovers: in a nutshell, that’s the plot of Arturo Perez-Reverte’s latest novel, The Tango of the Old Guard (Alfaguara), due to hit the shelves on November 21. As well as following the interrupted love affair between a wealthy young woman and a tango singer, the author and academic’s 14th novel, also deals with “big themes such as maturity”, says publisher Pilar Reyes .
The novel has all the hallmarks of the Perez-Reverte novel: intrigue, adventure and meticulous research into the historical events of the narrative. And the author is once again set to captivate fans with his trademark literary style, Reyes added: “There are strong characters, especially the protagonists, whom the reader will see develop throughout their lives, both physically and psychologically”.
Perez-Reverte is currently completing this triptych portraying love and history. A man and a married woman in their 20s meet in Buenos Aires, 1928, in the interwar period - and two musicians make a fateful wager. They meet again on the French Riviera in 1937, caught up in espionage during the Spanish Civil War and the impending WWII. And finally, in 1966 in Sorrento during a game of chess with echoes of the Cold War and Vietnam.
But readers don’t have to wait till the novel comes out: they can follow the ongoing online notebook, “novel under construction”, at novelaenconstrucción.com. This blog with text and photos provides readers with a fascinating insight into Perez-Reverte’s creative process, complete with his doubts, his research, his reflections on the act of writing and the novel itself. They’re more than "notes" as he calls them. Rather, they’re the brushstrokes making up a painting, and the reader can watch as the artist goes about his work.
The blog went live on April 20 this year and the author’s first entry tells us what to expect of the notebook and the novel itself: "My brief notes on the work in progress will continue over the coming months, without any particular method or a fixed schedule. This is not a historical novel. I started it on January 7, 2011 (although the idea is older), and, little by little, it is approaching journey’s end. "
The latest post is dated July 4, preceded by a photograph of a hotel, the text saying: "Nice, on the Riviera. Preparing a scene and a dialogue in the hotel Negresco’s bar, with annotations that include a floor plan of the place. It is not always wise to entrust everything to memory. When I get round to typing it up, I’ll be far away from here, and some detail might come in useful that I didn’t take in at the time or have since forgotten (lamps with bronze sconces on the walls, bar stools, velvet-covered seats, wooden balustrade upstairs where there are tables, carpet near the entrance: Time Bound by Love). My steps, and those of the characters, are silenced by the carpets. Perhaps this is good place to mention a cocktail in fashion in the autumn of 1937: Bronx, Riviera, Sherry-flip. As I talk to the barman, leaning on the bar, on the other side of the revolving door and windows I can see the street and the Promenade. I can imagine there, parked, a powerful red Packard with the driver (the mechanic) leaning on the hood, waiting. "
But there are also glimpses into the writer’s inner world, such as on June 24: "There are few feelings as pleasant as going to sleep thinking of the scene you’re going to write the next day, provided that the scene is clear. That you know exactly what you want to tell, and how. " On May 12 he wrote: "The pictures or the words in your head don’t always make a smooth transition to the page. Writing means constantly resorting to the right tools. The more tools, the more possibilities you have. The more effective. When I was young and just a reader, I thought Spanish was the richest and most perfect language in the world. However, after you’ve spent forty years struggling with the problem of saying things with words, you realize that no language is perfect. "
Pérez-Reverte also shares his thoughts on characters that will fascinate readers. Posting a picture, he explains: "It could be the composer of Armando de Troeye and his wife, Mecha Inzunza, in 1928, a few days before they embark on the liner Cap Polonio. They’re off to Buenos Aires, where De Troeye will compose his famous tango, conceived as a challenge to his friend Maurice Ravel’s Bolero. This contemporary cover of the magazine Blanco y Negro, by the great Penagos with its unmistakable style (all women back then wanted to look like they’d been painted by Penagos, and indeed some were) perfectly captures the atmosphere of the time. The setting and characters of the first third of the novel. "
Thus, readers can enjoy privileged access to Arturo Perez-Reverte’s ideas, secrets and thoughts ahead of the novel’s publication in November, when they’ll be able to finally watch this dark and dangerous story of passion unfold between Mecha and Max amid the great events of the twentieth century.