(Catalonia)

Max Besora (Barcelona, 1980) he studied trumpet at the Music Conservatory of Barcelona. He has worked as storekeeper, videogame shop assistant, hotel receptionist and even selling sporting goods and herbal products. For the past three years he has been working as a teacher of Catalan and Spanish for foreigners. In 2008 he was awarded the Benet Ribas Prize for poetry for L’espectre elec-tromagnètic and used the money to pay for his university degree. He holds a BA in Literature and an MA in Comparative Literature. His first short novel, Volcano (2011), was acclaimed by critics and received positive reviews.


 

  • Vulcano (Volcano). Publisher: LaBreu Edicions I Language:  Catalan I Year: 2011 I Pages 140 I Rights: World I Spanish & English Sample available

The village of San Pancraci del Paradís, situated on the slopes of a volcano, had to be evacuated. A man with a hallucinating mind decides to stay in the village and observe the slow destruction of everything surrounding him and, ultimately, is able to stare in front of his naked soul. Delirium, loneliness, disillusion, chaos and a warm hope of redemption accompany the protagonist on his descent to hell.

Max Besora’s book, clearly influenced by the work of Malcolm Lowry, is a disturbing and uncompromising piece of literature on the battle between reason and madness, between word and chaos. A frightening look into the end of the world. The author creates a contemporary hero who faces the difficulties of everyday life with humour and irreverent apathy, projecting on the reader the shadow of a confused and frantic mind. Volcano, following the tradition of the genre, can be read as a modern katabasis, where hell ceases to be a geographical space and turns into a product of one’s own subjectivity.

“Vulcano is a sincere and provoking book, a fast read that doesn’t want to offer great revelations but only a good dose of refreshing sarcasm that gives some oxygen in a scene currently dominated by mediatic literature.”- Revista de Letras

 

  • La Tècnica Maravellosa (The Marvelous Technique). Publisher: Males Herbes I Language:  Catalan I Year: 2014 I Pages: 252 I Rights: World I Spanish & English Sample available

Set in a very Catalan fictional university campus, Sant Jeremies, located a few miles away from Sant Pancraci del Paradís -a village already mentioned in the author’s previous novel, VulcanoLa Tècnica Meravellosa tells the adventures of the student Rosset Stone and Juan Ramón Calortre (J.R., to his friends). However, the remarkable main character of this book is the Campus Sant Jeremies and its surroundings. Rosset Stone is a student who comes upon a book written by a retired professor who now lives in the woods of La Vall de la Font Fresca, having founded the University of Infinitism, a sect that believes in yoga as a way to make astral journeys. Rosseta, attracted by his writings, quits her PhD in order to delve deeper into the mysteries surrounding this sect. Following this radical change, Rosseta’s boyfriend, J.R., decides it’s time to intervene and get his old girlfriend back. This simple plot slowly unfolds against the background of Campus Sant Jeremies, where the lives of students and teachers pass in a totum revolutum.

This cleverly crafted novel is underpinned by moments of absurd humour, and packed with seemingly irrelevant small stories, interrupted conversations, and trivial situations that wittily define the atmosphere typical of a closed campus environment. It’s a satirical look into the endogamic world of universities (especially the ones in Southern Europe), where professors consider themselves as untouchable geniuses. It also criticizes pretentious literary theory that tend to suck the life out of literature and leave readers with only an empty shell, in total disregard for an author’s work. Here, the university system collides with the outside world, where Rossetta Stone attends self-help workshops looking for freedom. But both worlds are the two sides of the same coin, and literary theory as well as self-help workshops hide what really matters in today’s cruel society: the search for love and freedom.

The first Catalan campus novel in the style of English authors such as Anthony Trollope, Malcom Bradbury or David Lodge, and of American authors such as Mary McCarthy, Tom Wolfe and Jeffrey Eugenides.

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