Snippet: Albert Lladó’s “The eels’ crossing” (2020)

Albert Lladó, La travesía de las anguilas [The eels’ crossing], 2020, 128 p.

publisher’s summary:

Every city has got its forgotten neighborhoods. Also the Barcelona of the Summer Olympics [1992], when it transformed itself due to the impulse of the Games, ignored some of its own. La travesía de las anguilas portrays the coming to life of a group of adolescents at the beginning of the 1990s, in one of these no-places born during the last years of the Franco regime, the outcome of the lack of scruples of the real-estate speculators and of the authorities’ indifference. These were neighborhoods without essential services and without law, where for an adolescent the understanding of the world was formed on the basis of evictions, police raids, low-flying delinquents, abused women and men who destroyed themselves at the bars. But also there adolescents were able to construct a universe with meaning, with its own rules and its own language, to form indestructible friendships, to start reading at the single stationer’s and to elaborate an epic of resistance that would never abandon them.

Albert Lladó considers in this book how we can narrate and interpret the margins without resigning to marginality. And he manages to make visible the humanity that struggles to survive in the unknown, rough and not photogenic reality of these neighborhoods that more than periphery are gutter.

There is an older post on an essay on journalism today by Albert Lladó.

SOURCE: Galaxia Gutenberg (publisher)

Snippet: Toni Vall’s “Bocaccio” [non-fiction]

Toni Vall, Bocaccio. On passava tot. Històries i estètica del mític temple de la Gauche Divine [Bocaccio: where everything happened. Stories and aesthetics of the Divine Left’s mythic temple], 2020, 292p.

publisher’s summary:

Bocaccio, the mythic boîte of 505 Muntaner St., open from 1967 to 1985, is Barcelona history, the history of an unrepeatable epoch, of the people who met there, the architects, singers, actors, movie makers, publishers, designers, models and writers who talked, danced, drank and created there every night. A conjunction of creativities, yes, that was Bocaccio, the temple of the Gauche Divine. Some of these personalities explain themselves in these pages thanks to squeezed out memories, a part of their past that they had the generosity to share with Toni Vall. Arisen from the imagination and entrepreneurial, generous eagerness of Oriol Regàs, Bocaccio is also the history of a successful business, of a very recognizable brand, precursor of today’s globally present merchandizing. The objects and papers that contain Bocaccio’s memory are also protagonists of this book.

Oriol Bohigas, Beth Galí, José Ilario, Mònica Randall, Teresa Gimpera, Román Gubern, Joan de Sagarra, Toni Miserachs, Serena Vergano, Rosa Regàs, Enrique Vila-Matas, Joan Manuel Serrat, Oscar Tusquets, Guillermina Motta, Juan Marsé, Colita, Elisenda Nadal, Jesús Ulled, Georgina Regàs, Anna Maio, Jorge Herralde, Beatriz de Moura, Salvador Clotas and Gonzalo Herralde.

SOURCE: Columna (Planeta, publisher)

Snippet: Xavi Casinos’ “Secret Barcelona”

Xavi Casinos, Barcelona secreta [Secret Barcelona], 2019, 256 p.

publisher’s summary:

A journey to the city’s most secret details.

This book reveals details of Barcelona that don’t show in travel guides and that contain part of the city’s history. The readers find anecdotes, mysteries and curiosities, from Roman times to the 1990s. All together a visual tour full of surprises through all of the city’s districts. Xavi Casinos collects in this second volume some of the city’s best stories, chosen from those that he published during the past years in the «Barcelona secreta» section of La Vanguardia newspaper.


The first volume, Barcelona. Històries, curiositats i misteris [Barcelona: stories, curiosities and mysteries] was published in 2016, and it is still available in its second edition.

SOURCE: Viena Edicions (publisher)

Snippet: Manu Valentín’s Yiddish Barcelona [non-fiction]

Voces caídas del cielo

Manu Valentín, Voces caídas del cielo. Historia del exilio judío en Barcelona, 1881-1954 [Voices fallen from the sky: the history of the Jewish exile in Barcelona, 1881-1954], 2019, 270 p.

publisher’s summary:

Voces caídas del cielo pretends to fill a notable vaccuum left by Spanish historiography and to weave the thread of the collective memory of a community of Jewish exiles who struggled to establish themselves in the city of Barcelona with hardly any support. Based on a vast body of documentation, a lot of it unpublished (corresponding to archives that hadn’t been consulted before), sources that dealt with the crisis of the Jewish exiles in different moments, and interviews with the refugees and their descendents, the historian Manu Valentín manages to rescue the protagonists’ memory and raises their personal experiences to the level of historical events.

This book also assumes as a responsability promoting the debate on topics seldom touched in the country’s history, such as the covert persecution of Jews in the contemporary ear (rebuked by different governments as “undesirable elements”). It is definitely necessary to approach antisemitism in Spain to question the idea that Jewish refugees were helped and their integration promoted.

Plàcid Garcia-Planas, in his column that presents the book, talks about a few thousand Jewish refugees that arrived in the 1930s; and that there came even more to fight in the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) on the side of the Republic (Naftali Botwin Company, Wikipedia).

SOURCE: Comanegra (publisher); Plàcid Garcia-Planas’ column “Cabaret Voltaire” in La Vanguardia, Nov. 16, 2019, p. 10 [printed edition]

Snippet: Catalan book week (Sept. 6 – 15)

La Missió d’Editors: una finestra internacional a la literatura catalana.


A week of literary events and book selling at the heart of Barcelona, next to its Cathedral (no, not La Sagrada Família…). The official website is Catalan only, but as you can see from the picture, there is also a stall dedicated to translations from Catalan. At the same time there is held a foreign-rights market with 18 publishers and agents from 16 different countries (cf. SOURCE for more information). The appeal of the fair could be heightened if there was at least some information in Spanish and English on their website – as it is, it looks like a purely inward-looking event, i.e. encouraging those already reading in Catalan to keep doing it…

SOURCE: Institut Ramon Llull (Catalan Language and Culture promotion)

April 25-May 13, 2019: 45th Buenos Aires International Book Fair


The organizers call it “[t]he most important annual literary event in the Spanish speaking world.” This year it has got a special guest city of honor: Barcelona.

Unfortunately, the information by the Ramon Llull Institute on the special program around Barcelona is only available to Catalan or Spanish speakers; there is a list of the authors from Barcelona. Not all of them are outstanding writers, some of them are well-connected culture journalists or managers.

SOURCE: Feria Internacional del Libro de Buenos Aires official website

Snippet: Literary map of Barcelona

Barcelona, an official UNESCO City of Literature, recently presented an interactive online map where one can find out which writers lived where during their stay in the city, where to find public libraries, etc. The map is accessible in Catalan and Spanish, the website’s English version proposes literary routes through the city; and it contains a lot of other literary information. Barcelona’s 40 public libraries also offer an offline, printed version of the map.

There is a 2016 blog post on Barcelona literary and movie walks.

Snippet: Comic Barcelona 2019 (looking back)

Comic BCN 37 [2019] - Download revista

April 5 – 7 saw this year’s edition [#37] of Comic Barcelona, formerly known as Saló Internacional del Còmic [international comic fair].

The award winner’s:

Great Prize, lifetime achievement award, to Antonio Altarriba (Zaragoza, 1952), fair website [Spanish]; personal website [Spanish].

Best new author, to María Medem (Sevilla, 1994), fair website [Spanish], Instagram

Best work by a Spanish author, to Universo! [Universe!] by Albert Monteys (Barcelona, 1971), fair website [Spanish]; publisher’s website [Spanish]

Best work of Children’s and Juvenile Literature, to El árbol que crecía en mi pared [The tree that grew on my wall] by Lourdes Navarro, fair website [Spanish],

Best foreign work, to Lo que me gusta más son los monstruos [My favorite thing is monsters] by Emil Ferris (Chicago, 1962), fair website [Spanish], Wikipedia

La imagen puede contener: una persona, texto

Best fanzine, to Saxífono, fair website [Spanish, no further information]; Facebook [Spanish]

The public’s favorite, to Desmesura by Fernando Balius and Mario Pellejer, fair website [Spanish], a comic book on madness (mental health).

SOURCE: Comic Barcelona; La Vanguardia, April 6, 2019, p. 35 [printed edition]