Jesús Ferrero was born in 1952 in the Spanish province of Zamora. After completing his secondary education he studied literature in Zaragoza for a while and then moved to Paris to study ancient Greek history at the Sorbonne. Since 1995 he has been living in Madrid where he teaches literature. Jesús Ferrero, like Javier Marías or Antonio Munoz Molina, is a writer of that new Spanish prose which developed after the ‘movida’, one of the early post-modern currents. He has written numerous novels, poetry collections, short stories, essays and screenplays. He is, among other things, co-author of Pedro Almodovar’s film ‘Matador’.
Jesús Ferrero’s writing shows a rebirth of the old myths and also tells of the banal, sometimes absurd everyday stories. It reflects the utopias of the twentieth century like those of ‘Metropolis’. Ferrero’s style has been seen as close to that of Cervantes or Kafka. The author loves adopting classical narrative patterns while also modernizing and using them aesthetically with new stylistic features.
Fererro’s book ‘El Efecto Doppler’ (1990), follows a precise choreography which shows the protagonist, Darío, caught up in a complex tale. During an evening meal in Paris the young Rosaura blows her brains out in front of the diners: “Suddenly she looked at me and took a pistol from her bag. Without stopping her whistling she put the weapon to her temple.” Every gesture, every look follows a kind of message, and Darío, Rosaura’s cousin, takes it upon himself to create a meaningful entity from the seemingly unconnected clues. In calm, very precise language and in a very detailed, cleverly devised structure Ferrero tells in his novel a gripping love story and at the same time makes us consider the limits of our perception.
Precise, too, is that view which the hero has in the novel ‘El diablo en los ojos’ (1998). Since young Leo Salgado has been focussing his camera lense on his own family, he senses the great influence of this instrument which is able to record everyday trivialities and their most intimate facets. The camera here is the up and coming creative genius which captures, with almost cruel clarity, the disintergration of the family.
The action of Jesús Ferrero’s novel, ‘Juanelo o el hombre nuevo’ (2000), is set in Toledo in the 16th century. The protagonist in this fantasy-tale, a good-looking youth, gradually comes to discover the terrible history of his origin as he becomes more and more involved in events in Toledo. It becomes clear that he is an artificially created human being, a golem, a new kind of human being. The novel is a good example which again makes clear Ferrero’s basic themes: “Destruction begins with the first tears in the cradle and ends when, in our parchment-like hands, time dies.”
© international literature festival berlin