“People age much worse than books”, says Sergi Pàmies as a result of the reissue, 25 years later, of La gran novel·la sobre Barcelona, now with a prologue by Jordi Puntí and an epilogue by the author. So, the book caused a stir, among other things because, contrary to what the title claimed... it is a collection of short stories.
Pàmies puts the work in context when he recalls that around the eighties and nineties there was "a cultural moment with a creative prosperity that tolerated everything", a time when "doing groundbreaking things was in the air of time, but without being aware of that they were." So, he says, what Quaderns Crema did was "provide you with the best craze", with a catalog that brought together as much diversity as there is in "Monzó, Mikimoto, Zweig, D'Ors, the Greek classics, Parcerisas or Stevenson". The editorial identity of Jaume Vallcorba, based on "not having a controllable identity". And it is that the author is immersed in a fund recovery operation, in which he has "said yes to everything, something unusual in my biography."
Its editor, Sandra Ollo, explains that these classics must be made known to the new generations, and that as a reader, this book showed "a turning point and the beginning of an unstoppable upward trajectory." For her, here there were already many of the elements of the Pàmies that came later, a fact that the writer recognizes, and points out that "until then he wrote for pleasure, and here the need for emotion begins to come to the fore". And in fact, 25 years ago I was already telling Rosa M. Piñol, speaking about the book, that she was interested in stories “being moving, rather than entertaining”.
At the same time, he is also convinced that "some of these stories would now be articles, because I can convey short-distance motivations through journalism," and that story writing is, on the one hand, more intimate and, on the other, has a point bordering on the chronicle, to the extent that one of the stories he has recently written recounts the trip he made to Quebec with Manuel Vázquez Montalbán in the 1990s.
Pàmies, who was 37 years old when La gran novel·la sobre Barcelona came out, is now 62, and continues to write at a time when “children have become dealers, suppliers, of new stimuli”. But of course, "the passage of time is something that he did not have before."
Catalan version, here