Snippet: Gabriel Janer Manila’s memories

Gabriel Janer Manila, Ha nevat sobre Yesterday [Snow has fallen over Yesterday], 2016, 400 p.

The publisher’s summary:

Gabriel Janer Manila, the novelist who shook the Balearic literature during the 1970s and 80s returns to the frontstage with his rich and literary powerful memories. Through the life and work of his family, clothes sellers at countryside fairs in Mallorca, he portrays the island. He evokes his childhood in the village of Algaida, in contact with nature, with the weight of the [Spanish Civil] war still present, in surroundings where all know each other. The religious education and the nuns draw an atmosphere that today appears pintoresque and moving.

The author gets excited about the island’s popular culture: certain folkloric imagery, witchcraft, popular legends, erotic songs. He resists the pressure to become a priest. He descovers the passion for learning and teaching and also the cultural activism of certain groups. And despite the shadow of Franco, the beginning of the 1960s brings, like a breeze, the songs of the Beatles, liberty and uprising.

Gabriel Janer Manila (Algaida, Mallorca, 1940) is a graduate of Letters, PhD in Education from the Universitat de Barcelona, Chair of Anthropology of Education at the Universitat de les Illes Balearsés, and a writer. In 1967 he presented himself with L’abisme [Abyss], for which he was awarded the City of Palma novel prize. From then on he has continued to publish novels, with emblematic titles such as Els alicorns [The head-wand] (Josep Pla prize 1971), La cerimònia [The ceremony] (1977), Els rius de Babilònia [The rivers of Babylon] (Premi Sant Joan 1984), La dama de les boires [The lady of the fogs] (1987, Columna 2000), Paradís d’orquídies [Orchids’ paradise] (Columna, 1992), Lluna creixent sobre el Tàmesi [Growing moon over the Thames](Columna, 1993), La vida, tan obscura [Life, so dark] (Columna, 1996), Els jardins incendiats [The gardens set afire] (Premi Carlemany 1997, Columna 1997), Estàtues sobre el mar [Statues on the sea] (Columna, 2000), and George. El perfum dels cedres  [George. The cedars’ perfume] (Premi Nèstor Luján, Columna, 2002). He has also written essays and juvenile literature. At present times, Janer Manila is the director of the Institut d’Estudis Baleàrics [Institute of Balearic Studies; IBS website (Catalan only)].

Julià Guillamon calls it “the first great memory book by an author of the 1970s generation.”

SOURCE: Proa (publisher); “Cultura/s”, La Vanguardia, June 11, 2016, p. 6 [printed edition]

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