Martín Kohan

* 1967

  • “As a writer I could refer to a certain tradition, which advises to go further to be able to tell the story from close. Where does the novel Dos veces junio take place? In my quarter. When I was a little boy, until the age of fifteen, my family lived seven blocks away from navy headquarters, one of the neuralgic points of the army junta, a place, where during the past regime people were captured illegally, tortured and even killed. I remember terrible things from that time: there used to be electricity failures, but in our quarter there was never a single failure. And while there were other planned failures elsewhere, I never experienced anything alike in our place. And now we know why: torturers needed constant electricity supply.”

  • “Interviewer: „Dos veces junio from 2002 is possibly the very first Argentinian novel, where the members of a repressive apparatus of the last dictatorship are given voice, is that right?“ – „In this respect Dos veces junio has at least a single predecessor, a novel called Villa by Luis Gusmán from 1996, which my book also refers to. Neither Villa, nor Dos veces junio work with the repressive discourse, but with a mediator figure. It is not a figure of an ideologist of a repression or a torturer´s voice, in case of Dos veces junio the story is not even told by a doctor, but a subordinate. I believe that I went a step further than Gusmán, as his Villa is a doctor, while Dos veces junio is told by the doctor´s driver. So the torturer is given orders from his superior, a doctor is one step below, who assist the torturer and keeps the prisoner alive, and one more step down is a the doctor´s driver.”

  • “I didn’t read Eichmann in Jerusalem before I began writing Dos veces junio, and read it by accident, in the middle of writing my novel. I didn’t begin to read Hannah Arendt thinking, well that would help my cause. It was actually the opposite. When I write I try not to read Argentinian literature, while the language and its tone, mainly if I like the book, could also reflect in the tone and register I chose for my text and so I use the time to read political and literary theories. While writing Dos veces junio I opened Eichmann in Jerusalem and thought: this is exactly what I was looking for.”

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    Buenos Aires, 29.09.2015

    duration: 01:24:31
    media recorded in project Stories of 20th Century
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The grey zone of of impunity fascinates me

Martín Kohan
Martín Kohan
photo: Pamět národa - Archiv

Martín Kohan was born in 1967 in Buenos Aires, lectures literary theory at the local university and at the University of Patagonia. He is an author of essays, stories and novels. He achieved the largest international success by his novel Ciencias morales (Ethics, 2007), which was awarded the Spanish award Herralde for a novel (2007) and was later opted into a movie by Diego Lerman, called La mirada invisible (Invisible view). Amongst author´s other important novels are Museo de la Revolución (Muzeum revoluce, 2006), Dos veces junio (June, Twice, 2002) and Segundos afuera (Seconds outside, 2005). In 2014 he received as one out of five best Argentinian novelists an award of the Konex foundation in 2008-2010.