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Dimarts  04.03.2014  20:39

Autor/s: Liz Castro

Albert Villaró: "History is made of milions of personal decisions"

Villaró's 'The Ambassadors' explores an alternate universe where Catalonia becomes independent in 1934


Albert Villaró is an archivist, archaeologist and now a prize-winning novelist. His latest novel is Els Ambaixadors (Grup62) [The Ambassadors] and is an alternate history that gives a vision of what might have happened if the very real Proclamation of the Catalan State—within the Spanish Republic—had been successful and Catalonia had grown up alongside—instead of under—a Spanish dictatorship.

As Villaró explains in this #CatalanTalk interview, he created the Republic of Catalonia that his father, who fought in the Civil War, might have wanted. The story begins with General Batet, whose decision to call out the Spanish troops to quell the Catalan Republic on October 6, 1934 was poorly rewarded with his own execution three years later at the hands of the government he had supported. In Villaró's version, Batet decides to lend his support to the Catalan Republic and Catalonia becomes independent. After this short introduction, the novel shifts to 1949, several years after Catalonia has been invaded by the Nazis, and centers on the main character's mission to cripple the atomic bomb program of the Spanish dictatorship—in which Franco has been killed off in a plane crash.

One of the underlying themes in the novel is of course whether the actions of a single individual can really alter history. "Everybody can make things happen," says Villaró in this #CatalanTalk.

You can read the full interview here in English, and find the Catalan, Spanish, Italian, French, and Dutch editions on CatalanTalk.com

And you can read one of Albert Villaró's short stories, Promiscuity—an exclusive treat for VilaWeb readers.