Books

How swift the blaze

This is an impressive selection from four of Forcano’s poetry books, evoking memory and desire, love and loss

Is it legal or is it the right thing to do?

Even the Darkest Night by Javier Cercas was in 2019 a typical winner of Spain’s big fiction prize, the Planeta literary award. The novel published in its original Spanish as Terra Alta is a fast-moving, accessible thriller

A life lived through song

The lead singer of Els Pets, Lluís Gavaldà, has published ’Sona la cançó’, a musical and personal memoir based on 60 songs that have helped make him the person and the musician he is today

Passion, Innovation and Determination

Against all expectations, the pandemic has seen a boom in new bookshops opening. This is also true in Catalonia, where 15 new bookshops have opened in Barcelona alone aiming to make a mark and safeguard reading and culture

A promised land

Rising book sales during the pandemic in Catalonia offer the industry hope that reading is beginning to rival major leisure pastimes

The Curse of Civil War Loss

The Song of Youth is the translation of Montserrat Roig’s last work of fiction, the eight stories of El cant de la joventut (1989). Despite her fame in Catalonia, this is the very first book of hers to be published in English. Congratulations to Fum d’Estampa! It’s a great choice, with Roig in full flight, at the height of her powers

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

MIQUEL BERGA
PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH LITERATURE AND WRITER

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