Three days and two nights in Juan del Val’s New York: "The world of letters is full of self-conscious people, much more than television"

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A blue suitcase spins, forgotten, on an airport conveyor belt. As the butterfly effect would dictate, that everyday bitch unleashes in Bocabesada (Espasa) a transatlantic cyclone with unpredictable consequences. Perhaps that is why seeing Juan del Val appear in Barajas with a black briefcase generates a certain respite.. Novelist, television collaborator and celebrity homeland even before everything else, he likes to lose himself in the anonymity that New York offers him to write, to think; In short, to live, without further ado.

And yet, the plan doesn’t always go well. “Can we take a photo with you?” Liliana and Carlos emerge from behind a flower bed on one of the little slopes of Little Island, a set of artificial islands converted into a garden next to New York’s Meatpacking district, one of those fetish places that are reflected in the guide’s eyes. Juan del Val. «We are very fans, especially of The Controversial», Almeria tourists justify themselves, cell phone in hand, ready to take a souvenir. Liliana notes, in a low voice: “He is more handsome in person than on television.” Her husband nods.

The couple will by no means be the last to look for the selfie in the three days and two nights that we spent with him in the city of skyscrapers, visiting his favorite corners, those that populate the pages of his new novel, which will be released next Wednesday. Reality is not usually as placid as fiction.

When Juan del Val enters the center of Manhattan, the cathodic speeches loaded with sarcasm, the stark writing, the irony in each sentence disappear. The writer disappears and the film buff appears. «Do you see that kiosk, under Radio City? There Al Pacino and Diane Keaton discover the death of Don Vito Corleone on the front page of a newspaper,” he notes on a night walk. The next day, as he pushes the door of the bistro where we will eat emulating its protagonist, although we without the intention of impressing a flirt, points out: «And in this restaurant it starts Melinda and Melindaby Woody Allen. He recognizes corners of the city in each film and likes to stop by there a couple of times a year to relive mythical scenes. He also revisits his favorite films over and over again. Coincident or not, they are all set in the city of skyscrapers.

It’s in a corner of that Pastis allenianoafter tasting a croque-monsieur almost 6,000 km from Paris and asking for a «singleI say… one express» – that he comes to New York to be left alone, it is clear as soon as you hear his level of English, just enough to get by -, it is in a little corner chair away from the madding crowd where Juan and Martín, person and character, merge and become confused until, at times, it is not known which of the two is speaking..

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