Joan Enric Barceló: dying has a lot of story | Entertainment | The USA Print

Joan Enric Barceló: dying has a lot of story

Joan Enric Barceló (Vidreres, 1981), one of the members of Els Amics de les Arts, admits that he is surprised and even frowned at first when he saw books “by people I don’t classify as writers,” and names like Gerard come up. Quintana, Lluís Llach or Xarim Aresté. That hasn’t stopped him from jumping in and publishing Dying knows few things (Periscopi), a compilation of stories about death, mourning and the consequences for the deceased’s environment.

Each story has a very different style, whether they are third-person narrations, dialogues in which we only read one of the interlocutors, a story full of footnotes that provide another point of view in what is explained in the main text or a narrative within another within another. “The most important thing was to find a voice, success was to find a way to explain each story,” explains the author, who knows that “the secret is never in the content, but in the form, an idea that is not new, clear”.

“I have dedicated myself to spying on characters in the most pathetic moment of their existence,” says the author.

The book comes out of this concern, because “there were things that I wanted to explain and they didn’t fit in a song, which has very clear parameters, between three and a half minutes and five minutes, a chorus, a structure, a bridge… I didn’t know “What to do with some ideas I had and, looking to give them an outlet, in 2016 I signed up for the Girona Writing School.” One of the reasons was that it was directed by Vicenç Pagès Jordà, his favorite writer: “I did the entire itinerary with the final objective of having him in front of me, and in 2017 we met, he adopted my project and we started working with what is today this book”. After the course, “with varying frequency, I sent him versions and then he called me and we met one morning to talk. It was a privilege that he read me in an absolutely altruistic way and acted as a sparring partner for me, until one day he told me that I had to look for a publisher,” he recalls.

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He sent it to Periscopi, where they made it clear that not because he was a well-known musician would they publish it: “Fantastic, because it was exactly what I was looking for, that someone believed it as much or more than me.” With the publisher they finished giving it shape, purging some stories and at the same time adding new ones, and they found a circularity, with elements that are repeated forming the same world – as happens in recent books such as those by Sergi Pàmies or Carlota Gurt.

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That death haunts the book – there are also some characters who try it and don’t succeed – was a process: “When I was four or five years old I saw that everyone was talking about it, because it is one of the great themes.” He approaches death from different and surprising perspectives, such as the case of a man “who had the gift most desired by human beings, to be immortal, and that makes him miserable and condemns the people around him to sadness.” ”. After all, the author has “dedicated himself to photographing or spying on characters in the most pathetic moment of their existence” with a great sense of humor and absurdity.

With references such as Pere Calders or David Foster Wallace, Barceló does not consider writing, however, as a plan B in his career: “My job and what I make a living from is music, and this was a personal challenge . I was very clear about what I wanted to do and who I wanted to do it with; “I wanted to be here.” At the same time, he is also aware that “there are people who will not read the book because of who I am and people who will read it because of who I am, but I hope that when you turn the last page you will say that what I have proposed has been worth it.” .

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Version in Catalan, here


Joan Enric Barceló

Ignacio Rodriguez