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Jaume Cabré’s novel ‘I confess’ to be translated into 20 languages

Jaume Cabré’s latest novel, Jo confesso (‘I confess’), which was recently awarded the Courrier International Prize for ‘Best foreign book’, will be translated into 20 languages. The work has already been published in 9 languages ​​and will be available in English in 2015. The Catalan writer has been praised internationally for his novels delving into the human condition and reflecting on mankind’s propensity towards evil. In Jo confesso, a multi-layered novel starting in Barcelona in the 1950s, the main character investigates his family’s past and wealth, going all the way back to the very origins of evil, notably Spanish Inquisition, Franco dictatorship and Nazi Germany. Cabré’s contribution to the projection of Catalan culture abroad will be rewarded this Tuesday by Barcelona’s City Council.  

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11 February 2014 06:57 PM

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ACN / Emma Garzi

Barcelona (ACN).- Jaume Cabré’s latest novel, Jo confesso (‘I confess’), which was awarded last week the Courrier International Prize for ‘Best foreign book’, will be translated into 20 languages in the coming months. The work has already been published in 9 languages \u200B\u200Band will be available in English in 2015. Jaume Cabré, who was born in Barcelona in 1947, has been praised internationally for his novels delving into the human condition and reflecting on mankind’s propensity towards evil. He is probably the living Catalan writer with the greatest international projection. In Jo confesso, a multi-layered novel starting in Barcelona in the 1950s, the main character, Adrià Ardèvol, investigates his family’s past and wealth, going all the way back to the very origins of evil, to the Spanish Inquisition, Franco dictatorship and Nazi Germany’s extermination camps. The intricate novel portrays an earthly hell, stressing the inhumanity of mankind and covering the last 7 centuries of Western Europe’s history. Cabré’s contribution to the projection of Catalan culture abroad will be acknowledged on Tuesday evening: indeed, the writer will be awarded the ‘Premi Ciutat de Barcelona a la Projecció Internacional’ given by the Catalan capital’s City Council. ‘I confess’ has been praised as “a novel of novels” and a masterpiece of European literature by many literary critics.


Following the announcement that his latest novel would be translated into 20 languages, notably English, Cabré explained that appealing to North-America still remained very difficult, but that Latin America readers, in contrast, were increasingly interested in Catalan literature. The writer’s contribution to the projection of Catalan culture and history abroad will be recognised by the City Council of Barcelona who will award Cabré the ‘Premi Ciutat de Barcelona’ to the International Projection on Tuesday evening.

Jaume Cabré, who was born in Barcelona in 1947, is one of the most emblematic contemporary Catalan novelists. After many years of teaching at the University of Lleida (western Catalonia) and writing scripts for Catalan television, he became a widely-recognised writer when middle-aged. He published his first novel at the end of the 1970s which heralded his later works, usually delving into the human condition, power, man’s tendencies towards evil and the ephemeral relief art can provide.

The first of his novels which achieved great literary recognition was published quite some time later, in 1991: the work, entitled Senyoria (which means ‘Your honour’, but the book has not been translated into English yet), explored judicial corruption in 18th century Barcelona. The writer once again reflected on the past, focusing this time around on the last years of Franco’s Regime and the Transition from dictatorship to democracy in L'ombra de l'eunuc (1996) (which means ‘The eunuc’s shadow’). Les veus del Pamano (2004) (‘Voices from the River’) spanned a longer period of time. Starting in a little village in the Catalan Pyrenees in the 1940s, the story continues on to the present day, addressing issues such as the obligation of remembrance or the impossibility to forgive.  

'Jo confesso' undermines the faith in human nature

His latest novel, Jo confesso (‘I confess’) was published in Catalan in 2011. In this complex, multi-layered novel starting in Barcelona in the 1950s, the main character, Adrià Ardèvol, investigates his family’s past and wealth, going all the way back to the very origins of evil. In this intricate work, where new times, new characters are constantly introduced, the faith in human nature is brutally undermined. Cabré jumps from the Spanish Inquisition to Franco dictatorship or to Nazi Germany’s extermination camps, portraying the last 7 centuries years of Western Europe’s history. The title itself, clearly linked to Zola’s famous ‘J’accuse’, as explained by Cabré, relates to the evil mankind is capable of: according to the Catalan writer, it has a double meaning: referring both to “confessing in terms of religious sacrament” and to “confessing a crime to the police or one’s guilt to someone else”.

The book has received great reviews from literary critics based in Spain, France, Germany and the UK. Some of them have referred to ‘I confess’ as “the central novel” of Catalan contemporary literature. It has also been praised as “a novel of novels” and a masterpiece of European literature.

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  • Jaume Cabré in an interview with ACN in Paris (by A. Segura)

  • Jaume Cabré in an interview with ACN in Paris (by A. Segura)
Jaume Cabré presenting 'I confess' in Barcelona two years ago (by ACN)