Goodbye to Luis Sepúlveda

“Today we lost a friend but his words, both written and spoken to me personally, will live forever. I send hugs to his family.” Carlo Petrini

After being taken to hospital at the end of February in Oviedo, Spain, today the great Chilean writer Luis Sepúlveda has died of Covid-19. He was 71 years old. A political activist and environmentalist, he had achieved worldwide fame with The Old Man Who Read Love Stories and The Story of A Seagull and The Cat Who Taught Her To Fly.

We want to remember him with his words in An Idea of Happiness, written in collaboration with Carlo Petrini and published by Guanda/Slow Food Editore in 2014.

“… it’s necessary today to claim our right to our personal, singular rhythm, in particular our right to slowness. The world has lost the capacity to see fundamental things, or serious things, simply because we don’t stop to look. A Russian poet that I admire, Vladimir Mayakovsky, wrote a poem called ‘Prayer for wisdom’, in which one verse recites: “Stop, like the horse that perceives the abyss.” Because when you’re still you can at least reason, and ask yourself if the path towards the abyss is really the best choice, or if it might be better to take another path. Or else to turn back. I think that today we need this capacity, which seems simple, but it really isn’t: to interrupt our course and reflect. When we stop, we begin to think: is this breakneck rhythm of life actually taking us somewhere? Can it really lead to a happy future for humanity?”

Rest in peace, Luis.

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