Rosa Montero Gayo (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈrosa monˈteɾo 'gaʝo]; born 3 January 1951) is a journalist and author of contemporary fiction who lives in Spain.

Rosa Montero in 2014


  • one of the most widespread mirages is to think we are not going to be like the other old people, we will be different. But, then, age always catches you and you end up being equally shaky, unstable and drooling.
    • La Carne (2016), quoted in rain taxi interview
  • Stereotypes stick in the mind like parasites: it's easier to increase a country's GDP per head twelvefold – in the last 40 years Spain's has gone from $2,413 to $29,651 – than to eliminate our neighbours' prejudices about us...It's true that until relatively recently Spain was chauvinistic and backward, yet it's equally true that there have been dramatic changes in the last 40 years...The fact is that Spain is no longer notable for its machismo, when compared with its European neighbours.

Interview with rain taxi (2017)


Translated from the Spanish by Jorge Armenteros

  • The truth is you do not choose the stories you tell, but stories choose you. You do not choose, therefore, characters either. Novels are like dreams you dream with your eyes open; they are books which appear in your head with the same apparent immediateness as they appear in your dreams at night. A writer always writes their obsessions and the truth is that all throughout life we end up writing the same thing in different ways. I am a tremendously existentialist writer; a contemporary novel is a novel that is very much marked by death, but mine is even more than the average one. Then all my books speak in a very obsessive way about death and the passing of time and what the time does to us or undoes to us, because our lives mean us being undone over time.
  • At any given time, if you live long enough, old age catches you...the only choices we have in life are either the impairment of old age or early death.
  • The relationship between the human being and the flesh has always been a matter of huge conflict. Since the beginning of time every religion has tried to take control of our selves, usually from a repressive point of view, most often than not inhibiting the body as well. Other times, on the other hand, as in certain eastern liturgies, empowering the body and doing away with the ego. But living inside this body never ceases to be a conflict. We are cultural beings and that clashes with our animal instincts. That’s where the title [La Carne] comes from...In the first place, the flesh is what traps us, because no one has ever chosen his or her body to live in, has he? You are what you are and you didn’t get to choose it. It’s the flesh that traps us in the first place, the flesh that makes us sick, that makes us old and that eventually ends up killing us. But at the same time, it’s that glorious flesh that enables us to scratch heaven through sensuality, through sex, through passion. Paradoxically, the flesh that kills us will also make us feel eternal for a brief moment because that’s what we are in passion, eternal—we abandon ourselves, we merge, we give ourselves to the other, so much that when we are loving passionately, death doesn’t exist.
  • I believe in twinship—in my novels there’s lots of twins—and it’s exactly about that. It’s about all of the possibilities of our own being that we leave behind because one of the things that troubles me the most in life, that upsets all of us, is that we reach this world with the capability to be anything. But then life starts to confine us inside our small realities. And then, the shadow of those other possible lives stays to lurk us, which also sticks to you and you can’t shake it off, since it was so easy, it’d have been so easy to lead another life. We make twenty thousand small choices a day, and maybe one of those choices is the one that will take us to a completely different life. If you stop to think about it, it is vertiginous, hypnotizing and distressing. So, twins represent the other possible lives you could have led, which you drag behind you some way, in a ghostly way.
  • what we can control is how we respond to what happens to us, what we do with what happens to us. Even if the range of choice is minimal, there is always a choice...Even in that tiny little range of choice, you can choose. So, from that point of view, destiny is our battlefield. It’s not a tragedy; it is what we do with it.
  • I have the feeling . . . no, the conviction, the certainness that reality and fiction are really mixed up. The frontier between reality and fiction is tremendously porous and slippery.
  • Kids are the ones who create; I find it really great to have my inner child still alive.
  • You can’t make a living out of fiction writing. You can’t and you shouldn’t. I always tell everyone that is a huge mistake, because I have seen many writers get lost because of that. Novels should be an area of total freedom. It is already difficult to fight against the market pressure, against the pressure from your friends, your family, your editors, against the pressure of your own ambitions. All of that is already a fight. If you also have to earn money to pay for the mortgage, it’s fatal.
  • The print journalism I do, reporting, is a literary genre as any other, and it can also be as sublime as any other.
  • For me, fiction belongs to my inner being, is something essential which defines me—I am a fiction writer in the same way I am a woman, the same way I am dark-haired—it is something essential and structural. It’s like an exogenous skeleton that keeps me going. And I don’t know how I would manage to live without writing, working with words. But they are two extremely opposite genres; let’s say as essays are to poetry. In particular, within journalism, clearness is a value. The clearer and less misleading a work of journalism is, the better. In a novel, ambiguity is a value. The more readings a novel has, even contradictory, the better. In journalism, you talk about what you know; you have provided yourself with records, you have gathered information, you have performed interviews. In a novel, you talk about what you don’t know, because the novel comes from the unconscious. They are very different relationships with words and with the world. In journalism, you talk about trees; in the novel, you try to talk about the forest.
  • I will say there are two authors I consider my teachers, one on the most realistic side and the other one in the most fantastic side: one of them is American, Ursula K. Le Guin...and the other one is half American, Nabokov, although his Russian ancestry and his Russian works also influence me a lot.
  • The art path leads you to be increasingly free. That’s what you do. Maturity happens because of being increasingly be truly free, you have to break free from internal and external pressures. The things that restrict the freedom of writing are thousands, from the fear of hurting someone to the will of pleasing someone . . . a lot of things. And you actually have to erase the self completely and become a sort of medium, let the story pass through yourself and let the story dance with you.
  • By being completely free, totally erasing the self, you can dance well, you can make love well, and you can write well.
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