Petra Delicado returns with a new case: with a novel set in the traveling world of food trucks after which she will probably no longer be the same. Alicia Giménez Bartlett gives new life to the inspector she created three decades ago with The Fugitive Woman (Destino), murders, drugs and a journey through metropolitan Barcelona. But there is also a very personal story in which it is not clear if the fugitive of the title is one of the wanted ones or Petra herself.

“A change of cycle for Petra? I make fewer and fewer future plans for my characters and myself. But yes, it will not be the same from now on. Assuming she’s still alive. You can’t plan. And even less in an artistic profession. There comes a point where you find yourself incapable of doing something, there is another story that you are passionate about and you go that way. What if suddenly she decides to write a philosophical treatise? “I feel like letting myself be carried away by circumstances,” says the author in a bar in Madrid, who is participating in the BCNegra festival on Saturday.

“Who is the fugitive woman of the title? There is a phrase in the novel that says it: all women run away from something in the end. Oh, I don’t want to think, I don’t want to focus on this… You run away. From memories, experiences.” And Petra, what is she running from? “Of her own personality, of her time. She is a woman with convictions that she sees increasingly crumbling around her, that she understands things less and less and she flees forward being impertinent, strong. And dragging what she finds. It is an escape too.”

Giménez Bartlett talks about what is falling apart and in the novel she reflects on her generation, those women who were finally able to choose, with all the difficulties that entailed. “It was an interesting time, conflictive, with difficulties but very groundbreaking. Our feminism was not theoretical. The men, the women, the companions… there was no distinction, we all went forward and against, and no thought was given to the specific rights of women. And that visceral way in which they took center stage gave it an interesting and fun passionate and pioneering tone.”

Despite which the author now confronts Petra with all the contradictions. Maybe she has been a false progressive? “Our era was one of contradictions, now too, but we do not recognize them. So they were black marks on your record. I do this but I should think about the other. We ended up saying: it’s the same, the important thing is to become aware of your contradictions. And Petra has not come out of there: accept them and realize that there is not much way out.” Petra’s system of thought that consists of an exhaustive analysis: “We lived like this, I have done well, I have not done well, this is appropriate, it is not appropriate, you have to read this book, yes, but the other one too.” and has an opposite thesis. It was a moment in which thought dominated, look what things. And it’s not that long ago.”

A Petra that she created in 1996 and that, she says, “ideologically she is the same, she is more burnt out, but not too burned out, because her philosophy is that what you don’t do, no one is going to do to you, perhaps she is more conservative from the point of view of From a sexual point of view, she is not fucking like before, she is calmer, just as much of a drinker. It’s not that she’s true to herself, it’s that she’s true to the idea that you are you and nothing else.”

A novel whose twists and changes do not seem unrelated to the author’s moment, with the death of her husband. “It has been terrible. A cancer that took him away in four months without any previous symptoms. We had a very good relationship, very close. I still had a long way to go in the novel. She told me: ‘I’ll lie here and read and you keep writing because otherwise it’s going to be terrible.’ Of course it has influenced me. When I started writing I forgot everything, even my husband’s illness. It is savior, literature. I had never thought about it, it seemed like a joke, but it’s true.”