“You probably do not know the case of a businessman who is a poet and a novelist,” said the Nobel Prize for Literature Mario Vargas Llosa at the launch of the new book Alexander Roemmerheir to the homonymous pharmaceutical empire, in the latest edition of the Buenos Aires Book Fair.
die what is necessary is the third novel by the Argentine writer, businessman and philanthropist, whose success in the literary world, despite having published a dozen poetry books, came in 2008 with his first foray into narrative, The Return of the Young Prince. This spiritual novel, translated into more than 30 languages and with more than 3 million copies sold around the world, is a continuation of The little Princethe children’s classic Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
Towards the end of the presentation die what is necessaryafter interviewing Roemmers about the strangeness and difficulties of his life as an entrepreneur and writer, Vargas Llosa commented: “The conclusion is that, when one has a vocation, he carries it out against all obstacles”.
roemmerswho wrote his first poem at age 8, had to placate his passion for poetry for a few decades in the face of his father’s insistence on maintaining the family business. Until he was 45 years old, he dedicated himself exclusively to the company that bears his surname, although without ever relegating his interest in writing, which would later transform him from a “retired and melancholic man” to a “full and happy” one..
His father, Alberto Roemmer, used to tell him that if he wanted to keep the lifestyle he was used to, he could never live on books. He was somewhat right: nowadays, it is almost impossible to find a writer who lives from his work. roemmerswho followed his father’s advice and entered the business world, does not count on his literary sales to live on: always donates the royalties from his books to different non-governmental organizations such as Little Wish or Unicef.
However, beyond the fact that the family priority was the pharmaceutical company, roemmers he was always attracted to poetry, although not to the world of letters in general. More than a writer, he considers himself a “mystic and a poet” who does not usually go to bookstores and prefers to read loose poems by unknown authors..
At 14, the author of die what is necessary spent an afternoon with Jorge Luis Borgesin which he read some poems to the famous writer and he rescued the “poetic content” of the adolescent’s texts. Although the pharmaceutical entrepreneur thinks that the poetry of Borges it amazes him but does not move him because it is “too intellectual and loses emotionality”, he is also the owner of the largest collection of books and manuscripts of the author of fictions.
This collection generated enormous controversy when, after offering his donation to the Argentine State for the creation of the Borges Museum, the writer’s widow, Mary Kodama, reported that it had been stolen, which Roemmers dismissed. Some years before, he had bought Borges’ collection of 6,000 books and manuscripts from Alexander Vaccaropresident of the Argentine Society of Writers, the same one who later proposed to roemmers for the Nobel Prize for Literature.
die what is necessary is in the antipodes of the rest of the work of Alexander Roemmernoted for her interest in spirituality. The novel starts with the discovery of a corpse in a construction site in the midst of a pandemic, a “bad omen” for the construction of a private neighborhood. Detective Luis Fernández, with the help of officer Romina Lacase, must investigate a crime that, with no apparent clues, risks going cold.
Fernández is a police detective from San Fernando, whose long years on the force took away his enthusiasm for his work. Alone in a dirty studio apartment and recently separated from his wife Laura for not being able to accept the homosexuality of his eldest son, Fernández seems unable to find respite in his life.
Along with the investigation that the detective and the officer will undertake, die what is necessary tells the story of Miguel, a “soft” and short middle-class young man, from the same party in Buenos Aires. He was dating Leticia, a wealthy “girl from Palermo” whom he met at the University of San Andrés where they are both studying Business Administration. Miguel is torn between abiding by the family mandate of a normal life imposed by his father, or following his dream of becoming a musician..
One of the most determining influences in Miguel’s life is that of Facundo, his only friend from school, who represents everything that he is not: confident, tall, masculine and successful, although his work is a mystery. Facundo is the only one who, in his childhood and adolescence, defended Miguel from his aggressors. The relationship between the two, which revolves between the friendly and the paternal, will also take on erotic, almost romantic overtones, something that the protagonist will completely repress. “What’s the point of spending your life studying?” Facundo tells Miguel, whose only goal is to have a life “without monetary concerns.” This phrase will resonate in the ears of the protagonist until he is encouraged to dare to follow his dreams.
When his girlfriend Leticia confesses that her parents paid him for an apartment in front of Central Park in New York to finish his studies, Miguel decides to leave his life in Buenos Aires and do everything possible to succeed with his guitar. Once in the United States, his meeting with another Argentine, owner of a bar, will give him the first kick to experience the pleasure of the stage, the public and the applause. But Miguel won’t get used to it: Shortly after arriving, he begins to notice among the crowd the use of chinstraps that anticipate the arrival of a virus that, as in real life, would change everything.
When strict confinement is declared due to the coronavirus, Leticia leaves Miguel alone in New York and returns to Argentina on one of the flights for returnees in which, because he does not have contacts like her, there is no place for him. Thus, without dollars or a place to stay, Miguel will depend on the help of the owner of the bar to undertake the return to his country in an exotic and unusual return.
Together with the brothers Fernando and Raúl, Miguel will depart on a two-month trip aboard a sailboat to Argentina, in which a bag of pills will trigger a series of events that, as expected in any police novel, will culminate in a tragedy..
The reading of die what is necessaryfar from stagnating in the traditional model of the police novel, starts from a crime in which the mystery is not so much who committed it, but unraveling the multiplicity of reasons that caused it, many of which drag on for generations. Corruption, drug trafficking, disdain for sexualities that deviate from the norm and lack of love within the family nucleus are some of the problems that Alexander Roemmer aims to illuminate to, as he said in his presentation at the Book Fair, “raise awareness”.
“A piece of me will be what dies. And as much life as it takes me”, writes the author in the epigraph of his latest novel, whose objective is to teach the reader to live a life without reproaches or remorse: a life that, after squeezing it so much, when it ends, only dying remains pending. necessary.
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Corruption, drug trafficking and a vertiginous family drama: how is “To die what is necessary”, the new book by Alejandro Roemmers