Miguel Ángel Ortiz, “La inmensa minoría” – a Barcelona novel

If I had to judge from the cover photo, a typical backside view of Barcelona’s blocks of flats, I would buy this book; J. Ernesto Ayala-Dip’s review is also positive (“… a distinct novel.”)… Miguel Ángel Ortiz (Cape Town, South Africa, 1982; soccer blog (Spanish)), La inmensa minoria [The immense minority].

The publisher’s summary:

Barcelona right before the Soccer World Cup in South Africa [2010]. Pista, Retaco, Peludo and Chusmari [nicknames] live in the Zona Franca district. They are between 15 and 16 years old, attend the last year of mandatory secondary education, and solve their existential questions with joints, a lot of music, girlfriends, some sex, a lot of beer and soccer as metaphor, learning, battle and dream. They live in this physical, urban and social environment of the Barcelona suburbs whose horizon is nothing but disappointed expectations. And they try to score a goal against reality. Their fathers and mothers survive as best as they can: doing cleaning jobs, driving buses, working at a hairdresser’s or selling clothes in a street market. They are these people, this immense minority, that hardly makes the news and for whom the crisis “never rains but it pours”. And then the adolescents grow up, i.e. some learn to be worse and others try to prevent misfortune from crushing them. La inmensa minoría has come to form part of this masterful lineage of extraordinary novels in which Barcelona is landscape, time, light, shadow, color and space: Los atracadores [The robbers] by Tomás Salvador, Han matado a un hombre, han roto un paisaje [They killed a man, they broke a landscape] by Francisco Candel, La plaça del Diamant [In Diamond Square] by Mercè Rodoreda, Las afueras [The outskirts] by Luis Goytisolo, Si te dicen que caí [If they tell you I fell] by Juan Marsé, or El día del Watusi [The Watusi’s day series] by Francisco Casavella.

SOURCES: Me gusta leer (Penguin Random House); El País, Oct. 11, 2014

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