I got to know of The Time of the Doves, a novel Mercè Rodoreda, through my mother who had received the book as a gift from a Catalan teacher and translator. First, I loved the book. Secondly, I was shocked that I’d never heard of Mercè Rodoreda or of any other Catalan writer. This is because I try very hard to include translated works in my reading and also try to keep abreast of the many and wonderful literary traditions across the globe. I obviously need to try harder.
Catalunya (Catalonia in English) is one of the seventeen autonomous communities in the Kingdom of Spain. Its capital is Barcelona. Catalan is the native language of the region. The region has a long and fascinating history. During the Franco era (1939-1975), their nationalist aspirations became subsumed in the leftist and republican struggle and they were suppressed and oppressed during the period. Their history is quite fascinating and perhaps has contributed to a rich artistic culture. Notable Catalan artists include the painter Salvador Dali and the architect Antonio Gaudi.
So I’ve researched and I present below a list of novels by Catalan writers that are available in English. Please note that for the purposes of this list, I’m only interested in Catalan writers who write in their native language.
- The Time of the Doves by Mercè Rodoreda
- Death in Spring by Mercè Rodoreda
- Carmelia Street by Mercè Rodoreda
- The Enormity of the Tragedy by Quim Monzó
- O’Clock by Quim Monzó
- Gasoline by Quim Monzó
- Stones in a Landslide by Maria Barbal
- Solitude by Victor Català
- Cold Skin by Albert Sánchez
- The Towpath by Jesús Moncada
- Winter Journey by Juame Cabre
- A Not so Perfect Crime by Teresa Solana
- The Doll’s Room by Llorenç Villalonga
- I Love You When I Am Drunk by Empar Moliner
- The Last Patriarch by Najat El-Hachmi
- The White Knight, Tirant lo Blanc by Joanot Martorell and Martí Joan de Galba
- The Virgin of the Railway and Other Stories by Pere Calders
- A Matter of Self -Esteem and Other Stories by Carme Riera
This list is by no means exhaustive. What my research has uncovered is that Catalan literature is really vibrant and that the number of books translated into English is a minuscule percent of Catalan books in publication. Of course. Catalan literature may be one of the well-kept secrets in European literature.