(First edition: 2006; second edition: 2008)
In 2002 I was overjoyed to be commissioned by a medium-sized London publisher to write a book on the literary figures who had helped create the image of Barcelona, foreign and autochthonous, in particular the two whose novels had introduced me to both the Spanish language and the city, Juan Marsé and Manuel Vázquez Montalbán. George Orwell had to feature. And then there were the Goytisolos, Sagarra, Mercè Rodoreda, Colm Tóibín… writers in Spanish, English and a Catalan I was slowly learning.
The book was written. Then the medium-sized publisher rejected it as “a broken-backed book” because it was half literature and half politics. They were right. Books grow as you write. And I had strayed from my original proposal. Luckily the book was finally accepted by a small left-wing publisher in Nottingham, Five Leaves, run by Ross Bradshaw.
Over the years it’s become the favourite among my books. It was written with the freedom of ignorance. Its combination of literature and politics caught (I boast) the feel of a city emerging from the drab, shabby 1960s into the reinvented, post-industrial city of art and good living (for those with money). Broken-backed, yes… it is two, even several, books in one. How can you write about this city’s magnificent literature in two languages without touching on its national and class rebellions over several centuries?
“Eaude threads his narrative between literary quotes, historical details and a critical look at one of Europe’s most highly reputed tourist destinations.”
Lourdes Gómez, El País
“Partly a jauntily erudite guide to the city, partly a sharply written history, Eaude’s book excels at spiking his deft snapshots of squares, bars and sites with flavoursome fragments of Catalan lore and literature. Unlike other Barcelona boosters, Eaude knows how hard the road from Franco to freedom proved, and shows us the marks of that struggle.”
Boyd Tonkin, The Independent