Antoni Gual, Locus [Latin, “place”], La Campana, 2015, 408 p.
With Locus you are sure to laugh, because the manner of seeing and narrating the world of its author, Antoni Gual, is uniquely funny. The narrator is a young neurotic who doesn’t know exactly where he is going and who continually meets people who are worse off than he, in a parade of quirky and amazing characters that become the pillars of the narration, from Uncle Quasimodo to his outrageous cousin, passing by the general who invites the protagonist to read inside the doghouse. Locus is a narrative of training and learning, but the other way round: the path followed by our hero is that of “de-education” and unfocusing.
Locus resists being classified in any pure literary genre. Probably it has to be situated among the kind of novelized memories that we find now and then in the history of literature. Where does a fantasy begin that the narrator can’t separate from reality? Impossible to get a clear understanding, and that is what makes the book catch us.
So Locus is basically the literary translation of Antoni Gual’s unique view on the circus where we have been made to live without anyone asking for permission.
A critic’s comments:
A funny work in which Antoni Gual captures the life of a young neurotic in Badalona. […] This book moves between memory and novel; rather it is autofiction. The narrator tells his life (born in Badalona [greater Barcelona] into a conservative bourgeoisie as to his mother’s side, a Catalanist one as to his father’s) up to the end of the 1970s. His problem is the lightness fo the world, his personal instability. He tells it in a vivacious prose, subtle humour, […] The transfer of sheet music from the family printing house to the Liceu [opera house] serves the young man to discover good music. […] It would be very good to read a sequel, because surely the 1980s and following years hold in stock more good writing, more excentric types. We haven’t stopped since then.
SOURCE: La Campana (publisher); review by Pere Guixà, “Cultura/s”, La Vanguardia, May 30, 2015, p. 14