A: He lived on the other side of the zacualli, near the calle Salazar. In the book it’s close to Maximilian’s house.
Q: Is Yvonne real?
A: We don’t know many things in the volcano because of the day of the death, she has a spiritual dimension, she’s a figure that’s part of this world and part of something else. He lives in a world of his own imagination and Yvonne is real but also she isn’t, maybe his wife who has come back but she may be a figure of the day of the death, because in this day the death people visit de living ones. The perspective is Consul’s one, so we can’t be sure how real this figures are and that includes Yvonne, for us she is real but for him is partly a phantom. He just can’t believe she’s there of in part he doesn’t want to take the responsibility for his drinking.
Q: Where is the Parian and the Farolito, were there such places in real life?
A: My talk was called: the geography of imagination, the real world is changed by Lowry to create a fictional world where many things happen. Firstly Tomalin and Parian do exist, but near Oaxaca, not near Cuernavaca. Secondly there are towns like Amecameca and Tetela which are in the right place near Cuernavaca, so one landscape is yuxtaposed on the other, then we have three problems: Chapultepec is too close, Tomalín and Parian are in Oaxaca and Amecameca and Tetela are too far, but in the right place near the volcanoes and the right distance for the trip in the bus, Tomalin would be Yautepec or Cuautla.
Q: Where was the dying Indian?
A: First the bullthrowing is in Chapultepec, but it’s too close and the dying Indian should be in an isolated place. It’s changed or put farther at about a distance like Yautepec, or an hour’s time journey in the bus, then brings the volcanoes closer and finally names the towns Tomalin and Parian (in real life in Oaxaca, as well as Nochtitlan) which are Tomalín a very small town and Parian a rancheria and the Farolito half an hours walking.
Q: What elements are taken from the Oaxaca landscape into the Quauhnáhuac’s?
A: He brings also the Farolito in Oaxaca to his imaginary world in Parian, as he does with the virgin of Solitude from Oaxaca also.
Q: “Lowry is not describing a place, but constructing one, a Mexico of the mind” says Ronald Walker, what do you say?
A: He is mostly right, but when he constructs a place he has an objective, he didn’t invent things but changed things he saw, Lowry constructs a Mexico of the mind, but it comes from the real one. The interesting thing is how Lowry constructs a “Mexico of the mind” because he always works from something given to create his own fictional world.
Q: What do you think about the Casino de la Selva is being built down to construct a supercenter?
A: It is always tragic when something associated with a great work of literature disappears, but it’s particularly sad how something as important as the Casino de la Selva is replaced by a supermarket.
Q: Did Lowry want to see things from an Indian point of view?
A: No, because the book has no other choice than telling the story from a European perspective because Lowry and the Consul are Europeans in Mexico, but I think Lowry is sympathetic to much of Mexico. However the Consul is very aware that his position in Mexico is compromised and for instance he’s trading in the black market with silver and so several times he sees himself as a modern day conqueror exploiting the country as the Spaniards do and one way to look at his death is as a kind of a sacrifice for that sin or crime.
Q: Is it good that Lowry didn’t write the prologue in which he declared his sympathy to Mexico?
A: It is better not to have a prologue or anything from the author, it’s better to trust the book.
Q: What day was November 2nd 1938?
A: In the book it’s a Sunday 1938. There was a red cross at some point, but again it’s thematic important because the dying Indian doesn’t have help.
Q: Will you still work with the volcano?
A: As a result of the conference and for walking around Cuernavaca again, I want to develop my talk into a monographic book in which I will look at the way these transformations were made. It would be a fascinating study in the creative imagination to see how Lowry constructed his fictional world out of different places of the real one.
Q: “But the name of this land is hell?”
A: First it’s colourful, second, sympathetic to his imagination of a place between heaven and hell to place this battle. Third because many elements of Mexican past shape themselves into a gigantic tragedy of betrayal.
Q: How did you find Cuernavaca, is it very different from 1982?
A: It’s been twenty years since I was last here and I don’t want to pass other twenty years to come again, many things were in 1982 have disappeared. In 1982 I was younger, I didn’t know Lowry’s work that much, coming now has enriched the experience and my understanding of Lowry’s world. He captures that sense of place.
Q: Did you find anything new in this visit?
A: I have found more facts, have corrected many of my earlier mistakes, have a better sense of the physical and the fictional landscape, so the visit has been valuable. I have taken so many other photos and have discovered many other photographs such as the Bella Vista’s in other books and so, I am very thankful to all of you.