Antoni López Massó, a pensioner from Terrassa (n. Barcelona), won this year’s Carlemany “prize for the fostering of reading” for his novel L’home dels ulls grisos [The grey eyed man]. Awarded by the Government of Andorra, the Enciclopèdia Catalana Foundation and the publishing houses Proa and Columna, and endowed with 10,000 EUR, this literary prize has the particularity that its jury is formed of Andorran students aged 14 to 16 who were given the (preselected) three finalists’ works to read under the supervision of their literature teachers.
The article by EFE news agency reads like this (excerpts):
The author explained in a press conference that this story emerged through his work as a voluntary with Oncolliga, an organization that accompanies terminally ill cancer patients, and the contact he had to a man who lived under Soviet totalitarianism, during World War II and in the Cold War. This peculiar patient told him that he was not the person his ID said he was. And before he died, he talked for hours to López Massó and explained to him that he had been a child that was deported to Russia during the Spanish Civil War, and that as a young man he had been part of the Russian intelligence service. Well prepared and trained he went to the United States to obtain reports on the Atomic bomb, changing his name several times. He also worked in East Berlin and England until he finally became a CIA agent. After leaving the agency, he retired to the Santanyí region of Mallorca where he tried to get back the identity he lost during childhood. He ended up completely alone in a hospital in Terrassa.
Antoni López Massó with this material created a novel that begins with a funeral: “brutal, because there was only a coffin, a priest and a follower.” He then threads together the different passages of the life of the man who told him that he had been a spy. Though he studied the different historical events of the 20th century, Lopéz Massó admits that he did not want to investigate the true identity of the cancer patient, though he discovered that he had a daughter and a son and that he worked for the U.S. Airforce but not as a soldier. “His story was improbable, but I also thought it was hardly possible that he invented all of what he told me,” explained the author.
L’home dels ulls grisos will be published in Catalan by Proa in March 2014.
Source: La Vanguardia