Theodore McDermott: The Obstacles is, in a lot of ways, a coming-of-age story, but it’s also an incredibly ambitious—and achieved—book. How old were you when you wrote it?
Eloy Urroz: I started The Obstacles after finishing Las leyes que el amor elige (1993), my first novel. So I wrote it between ‘93 and ‘95, more or less, while I was getting my BA at Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM). It was first published in 1996 in Mexico and then reissued in Spain in 2002. For the second edition, I polished it a lot. I guess I was 26 or 27 years old when I first wrote it.
And yes, in a lot of ways it is a coming-of-age story. It resembles, for example, Flaubert’s Sentimental Education, in that the search for love is a central theme, and—again like Flaubert’s novel, as well as Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as Young Man—one of the central rites of passage a protagonist undergoes concerns his love for a prostitute who becomes, through that love, the object of a desperate desire. The characters Federico Ross, Ricardo Urrutia, and Elias are all seeking love and not getting it. Read More
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