Journalist and literary critic Javier Goñi died today in Madrid at the age of 69, according to his family. Diagnosed with cancer ten years ago, he ended the life of a good-natured man who referred to his illness as “Comanche territory” from which, he says, you never end up escaping. He has spent the last ten years going through and out of an illness that has sapped his strength but not his irony. When a few months ago he was prescribed photopheresis treatment, which “purifies” the blood but affects his eyesight, he resigned himself to reading “only short books in large print”. Recounting it, he added, “It will be the age.” He always looked younger than he was.
Seasoned with the noisy newsrooms of the end of the 20th century and a great lover of cinema, he was above all a reader. He was born in Zaragoza in 1952, entered as a scholarship holder at The North of Castile from Valladolid to work later in the mythical Information and as an adviser in the Spanish television program paper time. landed on babelia in 1992, very shortly after the creation of the cultural supplement of EL PAÍS. In these pages he worked as a critic of Spanish narration until cancer forced him to give up an activity that he combined with his work in the press department of Fundación Juan March, where he had worked since 1985.
Until the end, he was curious and generous. There was no author or genre that seemed minor”
His birth and training outside the cultural heart of Madrid led him to always be attentive to what was happening in the provinces. More than one writer from the periphery was surprised to open EL PAÍS on a Saturday and find a review of the book which, with no other reference than its rigor, had sent Javier Goñi like someone throwing a bottle into the sea. It was like that until the end: curious and generous. There were no authors or genres that seemed minor. Hence his early attention to history at a time when some confused the commercial journey of a work with its artistic significance.
Although he ended up being a library and office reporter, his eyes shone when he remembered the nights when, after dinner, he returned to the headquarters of The North participate in closing until dawn. If he had any free time left, he entertained her by reading Jules Verne to her in the pocket editions of Alianza. “In the translations of Miguel Salabert,” he added punctually. In the corridors of this newspaper, he came across Delibes more than once, to whom he dedicated in 1985 the book of interviews Five hours with Miguel Delibes (republished in 2020 by the Fórcola publishing house with a cover by the painter Damián Flores on the occasion of the centenary of the author of The path). A year earlier he had published Against his willdedicated to another of its reference authors with Galdós and Max Aub: Pío Baroja.
All the culture that accompanies you awaits you here.
In a third title, Meaningful Strudel (La Isla de Siltolá, 2014), brought together some of his readings and chronicles. He became vice-president of the Critics Association and a fundamental pillar of the prestigious prize awarded by the companies each year. His greatest pride, however, was his children Paloma and Mateo. And already from a great distance, as he wanted the classic, all the books he had read and the many he had made known to the press.