Books featuring Barcelona in Spain?
February 25, 2007 2:46 AM   Subscribe

I'm going to Barcelona this weekend and wanted to get a book for the flight and for when I'm relaxing over there. Does anyone know of any good books that feature the city quite prominently? I'm happy to consider fiction, non-fiction, sporting, historical or political books, anything that you might have enjoyed and that you think might help me engage that little bit more with what Barcelona has to offer.
posted by uk_giffo to Writing & Language (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Homage to Catalonia.
posted by By The Grace of God at 2:55 AM on February 25, 2007

La Sombra del Viento, the Shadow of the Wind, is set in post Civil War Barcelona
posted by Wilder at 3:20 AM on February 25, 2007

Or, Homage to Barcelona. It's the book I read before moving to Barcelona to study, and it gave me a very good grounding in the city and culture. It's written as a tribute to Orwell's book.
posted by Flashman at 3:37 AM on February 25, 2007

En route to Barcelona a few years ago, I hauled along Robert Hughes's Barcelona, which I found both informative and emninently enjoyable. As noted above, the Orwell is sort of essential reading, though of course it's from a very particular perspective and is more about the war than the city in all of its beauty and complexity.

I have been assured by a friend who read it in Spanish that La sombra del viento was magnificent, but I wasn't as impressed as I expected to be when I read it in English -- she claimed that it lost a lot in translation.

Here's a short piece from the BBC on Barcelona and fiction.
posted by BT at 4:46 AM on February 25, 2007

Oh, and per Flashman's recommendation, Colm Toibin is a wonderful writer -- I haven't read Homage to Barcelona, but in his novels Toibin writes with a very convincing feel for place.
posted by BT at 4:49 AM on February 25, 2007

Seconding Shadow of the Wind. Hugely enjoyable, and it comes with map of a walk in Barcelona that you can make to visit some areas in the plot.
posted by djgh at 6:30 AM on February 25, 2007

Sportwise, Barça is a good one about the team and the history behind the passion.
posted by bink at 10:00 AM on February 25, 2007

To the best of my recollection, only one work of his, The Nautical Chart, is somewhat set in Barcelona, but I find the work of Arturo PĂ©rez-Reverte wonderful.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 10:34 AM on February 25, 2007

Not Barcelona, but much of Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises" is set in Pamplona.
posted by chrisamiller at 12:14 PM on February 25, 2007

Response by poster: I've got the Colm Toibin book ordered from Amazon, but in the meantime I downloaded a copy of the Orwell book from the Guttenberg Project and I'll have a go at reading that on my PDA. Thanks everyone for your input, much appreciated. Might have to ask a similar question in a few months when I go to another European city for a break.
posted by uk_giffo at 1:10 AM on February 26, 2007

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