Books

Gain your ends - and damn them

This book of essays from the Edinburgh publisher Luath is designed to explain the case for Catalan independence to the English-speaking world

Pork pies in bulk

Michael aka Miquel Strubell has more degrees than you can shake a stick at, what with the ones in Psychology and Physiology from Oxford University, in the Psychology of Education from London’s Institute...

I couldn’t bear to leave

Rupert Thomson is enamoured of a dream Barcelona, a city of stunning views and intimate corners, great beaches, wonderful bars. The good life - everything in fact that the city’s authorities promote and puff

The dream of freedom

There is an objection (or is it, attraction?) to this book: it is obsessively scatalogical. Max Besora does not seem to have quite grown out of fascination with reciting ’caca, piss, shit’. His hero Joan Orpí’s birth is described in bracing detail of blood and excrement

The journalist on Hill 481

Jimmy Jump’s beautifully written book portrays dozens of his comrades in the International Brigades and tells the terrible story of deaths and defeat. In addition, he tackles controversial questions with an honesty unusual in Civil War memoirs

Avant-garde romantic

This biography of the composer Leonardo Balada is a strange and rather moving book. Balada’s life – even his name – was shaped by the Franco dictatorship, but then he soared above it to find freedom in both life and art

Mad times

No doubt at all what this novel’s about! From start to end, three friends, the rather dull narrator, the cynical charmer Armengol and the medical student Giberga investigate the eccentric behaviour, then madness, then total mental collapse of their acquaintance Daniel Serrallonga

Downright peculiar

Salt Water is the translation of Pla’s Aigua de Mar, published in his Collected Works in 1966, plus 29 pages on an ill-tempered conversation about a shipwreck with Salvador Dalí’s father

Toni Garcia Ramon
CULTURAL JOURNALIST

“Bill Murray told me, ’No one will ever believe you’”

Not everyone can say that Harrison Ford stole their mobile phone. That Jean-Claude van Damme’s dog died while they were interviewing him on the phone. Or that Scarlett Johansson asked them if they preferred...

In full view of the tombs

English Hours is the irregular diary of the two years (1926 to 1928) that the historian Ferran Soldevila spent as a lecturer at Liverpool University