“The summer of love” by Toni Orensanz

No, it’s not a novel about Woodstock but about Pablo Picasso’s stay at Horta de Sant Joan (Terra Alta, Catalonia) during the summer of 1909, written by the freelance journalist, drama author, and now novelista Toni Orensanz (Falset, 1970). The description of L’estiu de l’amor [The summer of love] reads like this:

During the summer of 1909, a voluptous earthquake shook the pillars of Horta de Sant Joan. An emotional fever provoked by the intoxicating curves of a young Parisian model, Fernande Olivier, muse and companion of a Picasso looking for inspiration in a village. A physician and a pharmacists converted into alchemists of eros; civil servants, farmers and priests who lose common sense; jealous women, fugitive anarchists, doses of bromide, and real pitched battles are the protagonists of a summer full of love, humor and passion, coinciding with the Setmana Tràgica (more info at the Wikipedia). The correspondence between Fernande Olivier and Getrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas of that time that is kept at Yale University’s Beinecke Library, plus the anecdotes that are still told in today’s Horta have been the sole starting points of this novel, that is a totally free reconstruction of the facts, in which the true protagonist is the model from Paris that is driving crazy the village’s men, women and children, while Picasso paints frantically in an attic.

Centre Picasso, Horta de Sant Joan

Orensanz is a contributor to numerous media. Among his books are L’òmnibus de la mort [The omnibus of death, 2008], a historical study on a group of assassinating thugs during the early months of the Spanish Civil War, and El falsari [The forger, 2010] a collection of popular stories in which truth and legend mix up. In 2012 he published, together with the photographer Rafael López-Monné, the walking guide A peu pels camins del vi i l’oli del Priorat [By foot on the Priorat’s wine and olive paths]. As to theater, his work Bildelberg, club cabaret [Bildelberg Cabaret Club], written together with Oriol Grau and produced by Sala Trono, was staged at Sala Muntaner in Barcelona during the spring of 2013. He is also the author of the monologue Nicomedes, el verdugo diligente [Nicomedes, the diligent executioner] that has been performed on different occasions, the most memorable so far that of the Monologue Festival of Castelldefels in 2008.

Sources: Blog L’estiu de l’amor, Blog of the Falset public library

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