Joan Carreras’ “Black Eagle” (premi Sant Jordi)

It’s Joan Carreras’ (Barcelona, 1962) sixth novel and it has won one of the most important literary prizes for novels written in Catalan, the 2014 Premi Sant Jordi, L’àguila negra [The Black Eagle].

The publisher’s summary:

On the verge of becoming 70, deprived of the routines of work and family, Marià Solvell decides to settle the debt he has got with the past. To do this, he goes to a nudist camp for a few days. He wants to liberate himself of all the nuisances he has acquired during the years and recover that which remains, inside himself, of the dentist devoted to reconstruct damaged pieces, of the young man trapped in a tumultous sexual relationship and of the boy that could not know which changes he would witness, during the 1960s and 70s, in a Barcelona that barely opened its eyes.

L’àguila negra is not an epic about heros that oppose the Franco dictatorship, but a novel that portrays the normal people: the novel about those who tried to live with enthusiasm and fullness in a country like themselves, of an acquiescent character. Joan Carreras proposes an emotive journey that bring us, from surprise to surprise, from the streetcar strike of 1951 up to the time of the big independence demonstration of 2012.

L’àguila negra no és una epopeia d’herois que s’oposen a la dictadura de Franco, sinó una novel·la que retrata la gent normal: la novel·la dels que van provar de viure amb entusiasme i plenitud en un país com ells, de tarannà acomodatici. Joan Carreras ens proposa un recorregut emotiu que ens porta, de sorpresa en sorpresa, des de la vaga de tramvies del 1951 fins més enllà de la gran manifestació independentista del 2012.

(The novel’s title is an allusion to a song sung by Barbara (French) and Maria del Mar Bonet (Catalan).)

From a review:

[…] a novel about lost illusions, an itinerary through the biography of a man without qualities who … embodies a kind of generational sadness linked to dentistry. Against the epics of the transition [from the Franco dictatorship to democracy] … Carreras describes some Catalans who distance themselves from their parents because that is what one has to do, who make their revolution (without politics, based on personal freedom and sexual transgression) and from a certain moment crash the boat of love against daily life, … Later come the misfortunes … Joan Carreras and Vicenç Pagès Jordà, …, portray the flat Catalonia, the accommodative one. In Carreras’ case with well explained details of bourgeois life …

Julià Guillamon, La Vanguardia

For more information on Carreras’ earlier novel Cafè Barcelona, cf. this post.

SOURCE: Grup 62; “Cultura/s”, La Vanguardia, March 14, 2015, pp. 10-11 [printed edition]

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