A new year brings new book releases. Looking at the year ahead to pin down the most anticipated books in 2017, it seems as if there is plenty for booklovers to get excited about among the literary novelties.
First among them is Jaume Cabré, who returns six years after Jo confesso with the publication of Quan arriba la penombra (Proa) in April. This new work is described as “an honest, nude, raw, black and twisting work” of interlinked short stories. With the air of a thriller, the stories revolve around a timid boy who rebels against a tyrannical teacher who actually turns out to be a murderer.
Meanwhile, only last month Rafel Nadal also returned with yet another new book, La senyora Stendhal (Columna), a story told by a little boy (Lluc) and set in the post-war period. The book starts off in Girona in 1990, but takes a step back in time to Lluc's childhood home, after the discovery of an old postcard in a book shop in the town's old quarter.
Valentí Puig also published a new novel in January, El bar de l'AVE (Proa), which is an accomplished social dissection of the country, and full of lucidity and humour.
This month, Sílvia Soler returns to bookshops with a generational novel, Els Vells amics (Columna), a choral work set around a group of four fine art students who meet on a journey to Paris and share an exciting adventure they will remember for the rest of their lives.
However, Germany is the destination for Joan-Daniel Bezsonoff in his story, La ballarina de Berlin (Empúries), also due out this month. The book is based on the real character of the dancer Lea Niako, a German spy and friend of the country's future Nazi leaders. Bezsonoff describes the Berlin before Hitler's rise as a city full of cabarets, concert cafés and theatres.
In March, Xavier Bosch will bring out Nosaltres dos (Columna), which questions whether friendship between a man and a woman is possible. Meanwhile, Joan Carreras presents La dona del Cadillac (Proa), a thriller full of mystery set in a small mountain village.
Among the foreign writers of the Grup 62 publishing house, the highlights include La biblioteca dels llibres rebutjats by David Foenkinos, who will come to Barcelona to present it personally, while Donna Leon's has new case for her Inspector Brunetti. Also a must in March is Jo Nesbo's, La set, with a new case for Harry Hole.
In January, L'Altra Editorial released a new title by deceased US writer Carson McCullers, Frankie Addams, and this month, L'art de la ficció, by James Salter is also due to come out.
Other titles worth keeping an eye out for this year is the debut in Catalan of Elisabet Riera, with Llum, as well as the Documenta 2016 award winner, Jordi Amor's El forat in March.
Meanwhile, Edicions de 1984 published Edward Hirsch's poetry for the first time in January, Història parcial de la meva estupidesa i altres poemes, as well as a new volume of poetry by Josep Riera, Trobadors amb turbant.
After his successful Mars del Carib, Sergi Pons returns this month with Dies de ratafia. Edicions de 1984 also unveils the prose of Catherine Poulain with L'home del mar, which has been generally well received by international critics.
As for Periscopi, it goes for another title by Wajdi Mouawad, La sang de les promeses, and publishes a first Catalan translation of the Rhodes-born writer Hakan Gïnday, Daha!, a novel awarded the Médicis Éstranger prize in France in 2015.
Among others, Raig Vert will publish Enviada Especial, a new novel by Jean Echenoz , which the writer will present in March in Barcelona. And in February, Ara Llibres releases Farishta, a new adventure novel by Marc Pastor, as well as Ara comença tot, Lluís Homar's autobiography, written with the scriptwriter Jordi Portals.
Finally Anagrama this month presents Ian McEwan's latest book, Closca de nou, which tells the story of Hamlet from the point of view of an unborn child, while the French writer and playwright Yasmina Reza's Babilònia is out in March.
- Catalonia Today 05-02-2017 Pàgina 42