Yesterday, Monica Rouanet, a Madrid author, presented details about her novel I don’t hear the children playing’ (Roca Editorial) in the strange space of the San Jose cemetery’s ‘Sala del Adios. This was within the context of a new Gravite Festival day. Although the aforementioned work was not the most recent – ‘Nada Importan’ (also at Roca), has just been published, which Rouanet will present to Granada Noir – it fit perfectly in the context chosen to present it. Nearly fifty students from IES Veleta attended the event. The author spoke out about the reality of boys who are ‘forgotten’ today by their families at boarding schools, due to some behavioral difficulty.

Rouanet’s experience as an educator is used to describe characters who are either deceitful of reality or have multiple addictions (sex, alcohol and drugs) from a young age or suffer from schizophrenia paranoid.

There are many periods in the history of the buildings where the novel takes place. Jesus Lens, Gravite director, said that “what stands out most” about Gravite is its realistic portrayal of the author’s life. Lens also highlighted schizophrenia treatment and its honesty in addressing this condition. The author responded with a bit of humor: “We all are a little ‘palla”. It’s something we all deal with every day. We must also normalize our relationship with the disease.

The author also stated that the inspiration for the novel came from the building’s doors, which becomes one of the main characters in the novel. This is true. Rouanet discovered marked hands behind the doors or messages of love with an open heart and a date. She also described difficultly explicable episodes, some of which were captured on video. Fernandito, one the ghosts who inhabit the house, communicates with Rouanet through lights that can be turned on and off by simply calling him.

The complex environment in which the novel is housed is located in Madrid’s lumpen region, where you can often find ‘junkies’ in schoolyards at dawn without knowing their origin. This is a tragic story against the backdrop of the Spanish health system’s classic neglect of mental illness. “In my area, suicide rates have increased by 73%, with most of the victims being young people aged under 26. It is something that can be fixed. Rouanet stated that although these rates give some visibility to those who are committed to solving these problems, the situation still persists.”

Lens also highlighted the significant character growth that Lens observed throughout the novel, including rebellion. The author laughed and said that Luna puts her classmates at the fashionable club in Madrid. “Many things happen within her,” Lens observed. The reader is kept guessing until the end whether the protagonist boys are still alive or dead. This keeps them interested in the story’s ‘Chinese boxes’. After a previous visit, the event was concluded with lively discussion with the children who thanked him for caring about people that no one talks about.