La Vanguardia newspaper, in an advance presentation of recommended books for international book day (Sant Jordi in Catalonia [Saint George’s day, April 23]), presents Toni Sala (Sant Feliu de Guíxols, 1969; Catalan Wikipedia article) in the following terms:
During the last 15 years, Catalan literature has produced few voices of such strength and with so few complexes when addressing different genres. Sala made himself known in 1997 with Entomologia [Entomology], an unforgettable book of short stories that received the Documenta award [for authors younger than 35]. Then came Pere Marín (1998), in which human nature was presented full of nuances through a youth story. With Petita crònica d’un profesor a secundària [Small chronicle of a secondary school teacher] (2001) Sala was successful with the reading public, and in 2004 he received the Premi Nacional de Literatura award [by the regional government of Catalonia] for Rodalies [suburbia, suburban trains]. Afterwards came Marina (2010), Provisionalitat [Provisionality](2012) and the essay Notes sobre literatura [Notes on literature](2012), for which he was awarded the XIVth Octavi Pellissa award. His new novel Els nois [The guys](2014) is one of the first books to be published by L’Altra Editorial.
Sala’s publisher offers among the reviews that of fellow writer Jordi Llavina, published in El Temps magazine. Llavina writes: “With Els Nois returns the best Toni Sala, the severe narrator of the normal lives, those without hope… one of the best works this year in Catalan… The plot is thin, minimal, hardly interesting.” The story starts with a car crash in which two twenty-somethings die, and follows the paths of three ‘survivors’. Does not sound too exciting, but for Llavina and other reviewers Els Nois is “a great book”.
Toni Sala is the author of 15 novels; Rodalies has been translated into German as Zwischenland.