Translated from the Catalan by Mara Faye Lethem
At 60, Adrià Ardèvol re-examines his life before his memory is systematically deleted. He recalls a loveless childhood where the family antique business and his father’s study become the centre of his world; where a treasured Storioni violin retains the shadows of a crime committed many years earlier. His mother, a cold, distant and pragmatic woman leaves him to his solitary games, full of unwanted questions. An accident ends the life of his enigmatic father, filling Adrià’s world with guilt, secrets and deeply troubling mysteries that take him years to uncover and driving him deep into the past where atrocities are methodically exposed and examined. Gliding effortlessly between centuries, and at the same time providing a powerful narrative that is at once shocking, compelling, mysterious, tragic, humorous and gloriously readable, Confessions reaches a crescendo that is not only unexpected but provides one of the most startling dénouements in contemporary literature.
About the Author
Jaume Cabré is a Catalan philologist, novelist and screenwriter. He graduated in Catalan Philology from the University of Barcelona, is a high-school teacher on leave of absence, a professor at the University of Lleida, and a member of the Philological Section of the Institut d’Estudis Catalans. For many years he has combined literary writing with teaching. He has also worked in television and cinema. He collaborated with Joaquim Maria Puyal as creator and scriptwriter of the first Catalan television series, followed by numerous other shows.
The story covers a long period of time, jumping from Middle Ages to the Second World War, sometimes in the same sentence. This novel is erudite and requires the constant attention of the reader, but at the end, they will be rewarded. It shows a deeply original form of narration that, for us, made this book a masterpiece.
This novel is mostly a story of questions, not answers. Those asked by the narrator and all those asked by numerous characters. Confessions is a puzzle, it is a story about destiny’s role in our lives and about facing this destiny. A story about triviality of human deeds. A story about the fact that when confronting the evil, we remain helpless and passively surrender to it. It is a story about human cruelty and cruelty of times.