Jaume Cabré’s novel 'Confessions' hits English bookstores

Catalan author Jaume Cabré’s latest novel 'Jo confesso' has been translated into English and is finally hitting bookstores in the Anglophone world for the first time since its original publication in 2011. It was translated by Mara Faye Letham and published by Arcadia books. The novel, which this year won the Courrier International Prize for 'Best foreign novel', as well as several Catalan literature awards, has already been translated into Spanish, German, Italian and Chinese, among others. This is another success for Catalan literature, after the publication in English of 'Quadern gris' ('The Grey Notebook') by Josep Pla and the Joan Sales classic 'Incerta Glòria' ('Uncertain Glory'). Catalan literature is blossoming among English readers, thanks to the recent translations of several other classics.

Copies of 'Confessions' in a UK book shop (by L. Pous)
Copies of 'Confessions' in a UK book shop (by L. Pous) / ACN


October 22, 2014 09:12 PM

Barcelona (ACN).- This week, the latest novel by Catalan author JaumeCabré will be coming to bookstores throughout the UK, thanks to the publication of the English translation 'Confessions' (from the original 'Jo confesso'). It has been translated by Mara Faye Letham and published by Arcadia books. Cabré’s novel, which was published in 2011 in its original Catalan to great acclaim, has already been translated into more than 20 languages including Spanish, German, Chinese and Italian among others. The novel centres on the trials and tribulations of Adrià, a young man from a wealthy family, set in post-war Barcelona. It won several prizes in Catalan literature, as well as the 2014 Courrier International Prize for 'Best foreign novel'. The novel has received great critics at the international level, such as the one from the former bookseller and current President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz. He defined it as "a European novel" and "a novel of novels" and he wanted to personally meet Cabré while in Barcelona. The release of 'Confessions' comes at a great time for Catalan literature abroad, after the publication of the English versions of 'Quadern gris' ('The Grey Notebook') by Josep Pla and Joan Sales' classic 'Incerta Glòria' ('Uncertain Glory').

Award-winning Catalan classic comes to UK

This week, 'Confessions', the English translation of the Catalan classic 'Jo confesso' by Jaume Cabré, will come to the UK for the first time. The novel, which was originally published in 2011, was highly praised by Catalan readers, winning the Catalan Critics Award and the Serra d’Or Critics Prize. It has already been translated into 9 languages, including German, Spanish, Italian and Chinese, among others, and there will be versions in some 20 different languages in the coming months. It has been internationally acclaimed, and this year was awarded the Courrier International Prize for 'Best foreign novel'.

Barcelona from the 1950’s to the present, passing through the past

'Confessions' is set in contemporary Barcelona, and centres around Adrià Ardèvol, a young man who explores his wealthy family’s past. He follows the money, through 7 centuries of western European history, linked by the theme of the origins of evil.

Cabré is one of Catalonia’s most important writers working today, and his contribution to Catalan culture was recognized when he was awarded with the 'Premi Ciutat de Barcelona a la Projecció Internacional' by Barcelona’s City Council. 

The themes of love and loneliness, and man’s predisposition towards evil are universal, and explain the books multilingual success. In 2011, the novel was translated into German by 'Das Schweigen des Sammlers' and into Spanish ('Yo confieso'), edited by Destino, and translated by Concha Cardeñoso Sáenz de Miera. Years later it has been translated into more languages, and began arriving in Italian, Dutch, French and Chinese bookstores, among others.

Great moment for Catalan literature

Catalan literature is enjoying a surge in popularity among foreign audiences. Cabré’s novel is the latest in a string of translations of Catalan to English. It follows the release on October 2 of 'Uncertain Glory', the English version of 'Incerta Glòria' by Joan Sales, translated by Peter Bush and edited by MacLehose Press. Sales' first novel, 'Uncertain Glory' has been considered 'the great novel of the Spanish Civil War'.

Bush also translated another classic of Catalan literature, 'The Grey Notebook' ('El quadern gris') by Josep Pla, a comic and autobiographic observation of early 20th century society, centred around the city of Barcelona. It was published by the New York Review of Books in April this year, and following its enormous success in the United States, it will be presented in London on 6 November.

Other classics of Catalan literature have also recently been made available to Anglophone readers, including 'La plaça del Diamant' ('In Diamond Square') by Mercè Rodoreda, edited by Virago; 'Els sots feréstecs' ('Dark Vales') by Raimon Casellas, a leading figure in Catalan Modernism (Art Nouveau), edited by Dedalus Books and translated by Alan Yates; and 'Fifty Love Poems', an anthology of poetry by the recently deceased Montserrat Abelló, her own translations, edited by Francis Boutle Publishers.