At age seven, on May 10, 1940, Cees Nooteboom heard the noise of evil for the first time. She was at home, next to her father, who from the window listened to the Nazi bombing of The Hague.
At sixteen he left home, to listen to the sound of the world, and now he is in Amsterdam, awaiting the strange, fateful rumor of the pandemic. From that long journey that took him everywhere, numerous books emerged, some about his experience of more than 40 years in Menorca, from where now, confined to his own land, he feels above all nostalgia for the garden.
On Friday he will receive the Formentor prize in Mallorca , which was launched by Carlos Barral and which was reactivated by the editor and writer Basilio Baltasar. Nooteboom publishes in Spanish this fall Venice (Siruela), his vision of the beautiful Italian city, and his latest book of poems, Farewell , is already in bookstores . Poems in times of the virus (Viewer).
He is happy as a boy, although he is 88 years old and has just spent nine times for different reasons at different hospitals. Activist of the idea of Europe, here he talks about the threats that the virus adds to those that the world and the Old Continent already have.
And it’s going to be with us all the time, because it’s not over. It will enter dreams, nightmares, people will be marked by this in a very deep way. Even if a vaccine is found, it will still be there in memory, it will mark a whole generation.
To those who are now going to school, to those who are beginning to live. I was thinking of places like Córdoba or Seville, of the poor parents who live in small houses where it is very hot and have to sit with their children, trying to educate them, people who probably do not have a computer.