Poetic vigour

This selection, made by the translator, covers over 50 years of Pere Gimferrer’s varied, lyrical, avant-garde poetry. The very young Gimferrer was a fresh voice in the 1960s, part of Catalonia’s cultural resurgence, setting fire to the straitjacket of the dictatorship with verbal fireworks


Just the right amount of irresponsibility

Miquel Berga makes his first foray into autobiography with a memoir relating his early experiences in London in the 1970s

The end of corsets

Antonia Byatt’s meditation on Marià Fortuny i Madrazo and William Morris compares two artists of huge energy in several fields. They were of different generations, different countries, different life-styles, different ideology. What they had in common was a “coming together of life, work and art” (p.28).

Independent woman in a hostile world

Forty Lost Years is an unsentimental novel with direct and clear prose. Its first-person narrator, Laura Vidal, is a timid working-class girl struggling to find herself. Then, gloriously, she grows to live free of subordination to any man or conventional ideology

Gain your ends - and damn them

This book of essays from the Edinburgh publisher Luath is designed to explain the case for Catalan independence to the English-speaking world

Pork pies in bulk

Michael aka Miquel Strubell has more degrees than you can shake a stick at, what with the ones in Psychology and Physiology from Oxford University, in the Psychology of Education from London’s Institute...

I couldn’t bear to leave

Rupert Thomson is enamoured of a dream Barcelona, a city of stunning views and intimate corners, great beaches, wonderful bars. The good life - everything in fact that the city’s authorities promote and puff

The dream of freedom

There is an objection (or is it, attraction?) to this book: it is obsessively scatalogical. Max Besora does not seem to have quite grown out of fascination with reciting ’caca, piss, shit’. His hero Joan Orpí’s birth is described in bracing detail of blood and excrement

The journalist on Hill 481

Jimmy Jump’s beautifully written book portrays dozens of his comrades in the International Brigades and tells the terrible story of deaths and defeat. In addition, he tackles controversial questions with an honesty unusual in Civil War memoirs

Avant-garde romantic

This biography of the composer Leonardo Balada is a strange and rather moving book. Balada’s life – even his name – was shaped by the Franco dictatorship, but then he soared above it to find freedom in both life and art