Barcelona literary + movie walks + history


Raúl Montilla, Barcelona de novel·la [Novelized BCN], 2016, 230 p.

Publisher’s summary:

Walking Barcelona through its novels

A book that mixes literature and reality, in which the city of dozens of authors and hundreds of stories coexists with the actual city, where there doesn’t exist any cemetery of forgotten books… at least if that is what you want to believe.

An invitation to get to know and walk through Barcelona from a different viewpoint, from literature. A walk through the streets and the pages dedicated to a city that has been the stage of mythic novels such as The Quixote or In Diamond Square and that has become a protagonist in well-known titles such as Cathedral of the Sea, The City of Marvels, or The Shadow of the Wind. A route of the present to places that have become an essential presence for thousands of literary plots, from The Private Life to Victus, passing by Confessions. And a lively view on the places that marked authors such as García Márquez, Vargas Llosa, Vázquez Montalbán, Mercè Rodoreda, Montserrat Roig or Terenci Moix. A book that invites to read.

The same publisher offers these (e-)books in English:


Eugeni Osácar, Catalonia Movie Walks. 240 p. More information here.

BARCELONA MOVIE WALKS  eugeni osacar dieresis

Eugeni Osácar, Barcelona Movie Walks. 248 p. More information here.


A similar genre would be books on the history of Barcelona.

A recent, best-selling addition is Enric Calpena’s Barcelona. Una biografia [BCN. A biography], 2016, 832 p.

Publisher’s summary:

Modern Barcelona as we know it, that receives 7.5 M tourists per year and that is known and praised around the world for its creative capacity and its innovative spirit (Europe’s NYC) and for its industrial capacity and its rigor and its seriousness in business as the result of the internal dynamics of more than 2000 years of history and the daiy life of its successive inhabitants.

The dreams and ambitions, the necessities and hopes, the struggles and defeats of the people that since the Neolithic have inhabited and constructed Barcelona, have shaped the city, adapting to new circumstances and reinventing it in each age.

Barcelona. Una biografia accounts for this dynamic flux of time and history. A city’s chronicle, its history through the ages as a living organism in constant evolution. The epic of a city on the Mediterranean that has been forged by counts, warriors and kings and with workers, traders, manufacturers, architects, designers and entrepreneurs of all kinds.

Between the past and the present, showing the most splendid and known episodes of history but also the big gaps and silences Barcelona.  Una biografia is an essential book for all readers who live or feel curiosity for the making of an emblematic city.


SOURCE: Editorial Diëresis (publisher “Literary BCN”); Edicions 62 (publisher “BCN. A biography”)


Int’l Book Day: Jordi Gracia’s “Cervantes”

megustaleer - Miguel de Cervantes - Jordi Gracia

Jordi Gracia, Miguel de Cervantes. La Conquista de la Ironia. Una Biografía [M.d.C. The Conquest of Irony. A Biography], 2016, 400 p.

Publisher’s summary:

This biography wants to take off some of the dust of 400 years of history that have settled on Cervantes; it wants to bring near to us his human and emotional dimension, his condition of a firm man of weapons and an inexhaustible man of letters, a unique writer – and also his carried away vitality, his defence of women, and his quest to understand existence as nobody had understood it until then: at the modern crossroads of irony. That has ended up being his best intimacy.

Neither destitute nor predestined Cervantes managed to escape his times to enter the center of our times because only the classics live like authentic modern works. But none is so modern as Cervantes in the Don Quixote: when age already bends his back, his joy continues intact and nothing will sour his mood. Irony and the ideal go hand in hand for the first time in a novel impossible in its time, and today as brilliant as then. Some of the reasons for this sortilege are in this biography that was written with narrative impulse, at street level, trustworthy and modernizing.

It’s been 400 years since Cervantes’ death, key 2016 commemoration in Spain. After the anniversary of the Quixote‘s publication in 2005, the 2016 celebrations focus on the writer himself. It’s the ideal moment for this renovative biography that really focuses on a portrait of Cervantes as a human being and as a writer.

Today (at least part of) the Spanish speaking world remembers the 4th century of Cervantes’ death (died April 22, buried April 23, 1616… the very same day Shakespeare died). The Mexican author Fernando del Paso (Ciudad de México, 1935; available in English: News from the Empire) will receive the 40th Cervantes prize. In Catalonia there are celebrations for Sant Jordi (Saint George’s day), La Vanguardia offers a special section (and also some pictures of the book stalls and rose vendors in the streets of Barcelona)…

SOURCE: Taurus (publisher)

Posteguillo’s “Lost legion” (#3 Trajan trilogy)

Santiago Posteguillo, La legión perdida. El sueño de Trajano [The lost legion. Trajan’s dream], 2016.

The third installment of a bestselling trilogy on the Roman emperor Trajan (53-117 AD, Wikipedia), born near today’s Seville, Spain.

Publisher’s summary:

In the year 53 BC the Consul Craso crossed the river Eufrates to conquer the Orient but his army was destroyed in Carrhae. A complete legion of Roman soldiers was taken in captivity by the Parthians. Nobody knows for sure what happened to this lost legion. 150 years later Trajan is about to cross the Eufrates again. The Parthians are waiting on the other side of the river. The troops of the Cesar are in doubt as they fear to end up in the same way as the lost legion. But Trajan doesn’t fear and starts the biggest Roman military campaign to either victory or disaster. Intrigues, battles, two adolescent women, foreign languages, Rome, Parthia, India, China, two Cesars and an empress intertwine in the biggest epic history of Antiquity, La legión perdida, the novel with which Santiago Posteguillo closes his acclaimed trilogy on Trajan. There are emperors who end a reign, but others ride directly to legend.

«It’s the most complete novel and the one I am most proud of so far.» «It will be a tremendously spectacular novel as we don’t see only Rome, but also Parthia, India and even China. It will surprise. » Santiago Posteguillo

The preceding titles of the Trajan trilogy were

Los asesinos del emperador [The emperor’s assassins]

Circo Máximo. La ira de Trajano [Circo Maximo. Trajan’s rage]

Though a professor of English literature, Santiago Posteguillo (Valencia, 1967) has dedicated most of his literary attention to the Romans, but there are other titles too. Among his books are

Africanus, el hijo del cónsul [Africanus: son of the Consul] (2006, first book of a trilogy on Scipio Africanus, 236-183 BC, Wikipedia)

Las legiones malditas [The accursed legions] (2008, Scipio #2)

La traición de Roma [The betrayal of Rome] (2009, Scipio #3)

La noche en que Frankenstein leyó el Quijote [The night Frankenstein read Don Quixote] (2011, on surprising enigmas of literary history)

La sangre de los libros [The books’ blood] (2014, short stories on literary history)

Some more information on these titles can be found in the English Wikipedia article dedicated to Posteguillo.

SOURCE: Planeta (publisher); author homepage (Spanish); review in La Vanguardia, March 26, 2016, p. 39 [printed edition]

Snippet: Stella Maris prize to Emilio Calderón


Emilio Calderón,  La memoria de un hombre está en sus besos. Biografía de Vicente Aleixandre [A human’s memory is in his kisses. Biography of Vicente Aleixandre], 2016, 535 p.

2nd Stella Maris Biography and Memories Prize

Publisher’s summary:

Giving the 1977 Nobel Prize for Literature to Vicente Aleixandre was in recognition of a poetic universe that was not only comparable to the most celebrated Spanish poets of his time, but also comparable to T.S. Eliot and W.H. Auden with whom he maintains powerful parallelisms. In Vicente Aleixandre’s poetics stands out his capacity to procure an oneiric, sensual and pantheistic vision of human existence, his bet for poetry understood as communication, and his profound eagerness to incorporate widely diverse currents in a personal form. Nourished by a huge amount of unpublished documents -mainly obtained from the author’s correspondence, e.g. the one he maintained with the painter Guillermo Prieto-, Emilio Calderón has written the first complete biography of Aleixandre. He lets us in on Alexandre’s childhood in Sevilla and Málaga, his dazzled discovery of poetry, his friends -from Emilio Prados to Carlos Bousoño-, his frail health or his entry into the RAE [Royal Spanish Language Academy]. He reveals to us his reserved love life, his position during the Spanish Civil War and the Franco regime, and his attempt to go into exile in February 1938 that was finally unsuccessful due to questions of bureaucracy, his relation with different generations of poets -among them Luis Antonio de Villena, Jaime Gil de Biedma, Vicente Molina Foix or Pere Gimferrer-. He also describes Aleixandre’s house in Velintonia -today a place of “worship”- and the troubles that derived from his testament. Finally, thanks to Emilio Calderón’s narrative strength, Vicente Aleixandre, the most complex and complete Spanish poet of our recent literature, receives the attention that he deserved.

 Emilio Calderón (Málaga, 1960) offers an English speaking website with more information on his biography and bibliography.


SOURCE: El Diario, Jan. 16, 2016; Stella Maris (publisher)