The Debt of Rafael Gumucio

I have admired the wit and writing chops of Rafael Gumucio since I first read his columns and short stories in Chilean newspaper El Mercurio somewehere in the early nineties. Everything he touched was immediately impregnated with self-deprecation, melancholy and a strange sense of humor. When his first book, a collection of stories, was widely panned, I smelled envy. (It would take me many years to understand why—but that’s another story.) Soon after that, Gumucio started appearing on TV shows, taking part in the cult-phenomenon Plan Z, still one of the most inventive comedy shows in the history of Chilean TV. Further books gained him national and international respect.

When I had the chance to meet him and interview him in New York, the circle was closing: he had published La deuda, a novel that, once again, I liked against the judgment of Chilean critics. In this interview, we talked about that book and his interest in tackling a topic good Chilean literature has barely scratched: the middle class.