José Carlos Llop, Reyes de Alejandría [Kings of Alexandria]
Another novel based on a writer’s memories of Barcelona in the 1970s…
In a Paris hotel, between the Odeón theatre and the Saint-Germain boulevard, a man remembers his youth in a hipnotic tale that talks about a bygone era of which there are hardly any remains. The locales? Palma de Mallorca -the Mediterranean city- and Barcelona -the mongrel city, …- in the mid-1970s when the old order broke down and the new one didn’t exist yet.
In this corner without history and at the same time deeply rooted in the history of the 20th century -the heritage of all the wars and ideas- there is contemplated, as in a diorama, the narrator’s sentimental education and an unrepeatalbe time, converted into a gallery of shadows that walk as in the atmosphere of a dream.
Music, literature, hippydom, street riots, youth’s disorder, the splendor of erotism and love are the tapestry where the protagonist rescues that time in search of a place in it. In the background, as if it was another music, the relationship with the city and its literary view, a subject for which the author, José Carlos Llop, has been compared with Durrell and Pamuk by the French critique. With Reyes de Alejandría Llop creates a dazzling novel that is crossed by the voices of memory, and he retrieves a life that nobody -not even those that were its protagonists and survived- is sure any longer that it ever existed.
The Instituto Cervantes offers the following biographical information:
José Carlos Llop Carratalá (Palma de Mallorca, 1956). Majorcan writer, known as poet, novelist, has also published essays. His works stands out for a big autobiographic component, his is recognized as a great diarist of his generation.
Librarian, translator of different languages, literary critic, contributor to newspapers such as ABC, Diario de Mallorca, among others.
He is the translator of the Nobel laureate Derek Walcott, of Llorenç Villalonga, Josep Meliá, Patrick Modiano and Biel Mesquida Amengual. Some of his works have been translated into French; in France he received the Prix Écureuil de Littérature Étrangére in 2008.
Llop’s El informe Stein (1995) has been translated into English by Howard Curtis as The Stein Report.
A full list of his works can be found at the Wikipedia (Spanish).