El día que apagaron la luz
NOVEL | 2019 | 200 pages
When I was fifteen years old, I listened to rock and roll. I went to live concerts with friends from school. Our get-togethers were in particular houses, with the music turned all the way up on speakers that were not so effective, and we would make time to hang out in enclosed and vicious spaces to listen to that same music, but live. We went to state high schools and studied little, just enough to pass our classes, just what caught our attention. We drank wine and beer in secret, we danced drunkenly in the streets, we confessed our deepest secrets.
When I was fifteen years old, on December 29th in 2004, I went to a concert by the Argentinian band Callejeros at the República Cromañón nightclub. That night I was happy and fearful, because the place wasn’t very large and it was packed with people. Completely engrossed, pressed against each other, doing our best to breathe between songs.
The following night, República Cromañon turned into a death trap. A spark from a pyrotechnic flare reached the foam ceiling and caused a slight fire that released poison into the oxygen.
That night, about 194 people from my generation, rock and roll comrades, friends who were doing the same thing I did—drinking, dancing, telling secrets, kissing, remembering songs that were committed to social and political causes and that had silly phrases that sounded beautiful—died.
The night before the catastrophe, I was there.
It could have been me.
But it didn’t happen to me.
It happened to others.
So what am I?
Could this be a tale of survival?
Is this what it feels like to be saved?
That contradiction shaped me.
Fifteen years have passed since the tragedy in the República Cromañón nightclub.
In 2019, I will turn thirty.
In 2019, Seix Barral will publish The Day the Lights Went Out, my first non-fiction novel. My story about the night that turned into a tragedy, the night we put ourselves in danger, the days that followed while trying to convince ourselves we were still young, strong, and alive.
But in the end, my mind and my friends’ minds always return to the same loop, like the chorus of a catchy song: we got together to listen to our favorite band. We sang loudly, we sweat, we thought we were eternal, and then everything ended.
RIGHTS: spanish SEIX BARRAL