Jokingly, he claims to be a bit Diogenes. But there is an almost organic order in the distribution of Quique Bassat’s books. It goes by collections (or passions). In the room is the one about the holocaust, which touches him closely: a second great-uncle of his survived an extermination camp, he always wore long sleeves to hide the tattoo. He did not say anything until forty years later, and from the recordings when doing so, it emerged Vouloir vivre: Deux frères à Auschwitz.
Between 1991 and 1993, Bassat studied in Wales and dedicated his final paper to the Nazi conference that would define genocide. To document herself on denialists like David Irving, she went to the Europa bookstore, from Cedade. He had dreadlocks. In the general catalog there was an item titled The Jews of Barcelona . It was headed by a photo of his father, the publicist Luis Bassat. Since then, and with references such as The Catalans in the Nazi camps from Montserrat Roig, or The night by Elie Wiesel – who “condenses in a few pages the same force that Primo Levi did in if this is a Man ”–, he accumulates books on testimonies, the liberation, the collective psychological crushing of the German people to make them an accomplice.
Between 1991 and 1993, Bassat studied in Wales and dedicated his final paper to the Nazi conference that would define genocide.
Always on paper (which was a disaster last year, because the boiler in his house burst and many were lost). They are with those for journalism and history, in a bookcase built by a carpenter named Josep Lamesa Pino thirteen years ago, when Quique and Maria settled here. Before they lived in Mozambique, and each time they carried a suitcase full of books; They have stayed at the Manhiça research center.
He keeps traveling a lot, long flights, weird schedules. And after being an anti-kindle fundamentalist, he acknowledges that they are practical. He has gone from the moral obligation to finish all the books, to reading several at the same time, and if one does not convince him, delete it without mania.
Small of four siblings, at the French Lyceum he was a quantity reader, not necessarily a quality one: a teacher gave them points for every four they read a month. Since he was the ball of the class, he read eighty-one in one academic year. At the age of 16, two novels taught him that “literature is not only good for fun, it also makes you feel.” one was one hundred years of solitude (He would reread it some time later in the Amazon and it would seem like an adolescent to him). The other, The city and the Dogs . As an adult, he received a call from his father’s number, and a man with a South American accent told him: “Hi, I’m Mario; You have a first edition of a book of mine that is very difficult to find, I wanted to tell you in person”.
Bassat is a fetishist with sentimental books (it doesn’t matter if they are poorly edited, underlined or ugly), and detached from others, which he lends, gives away and can read digitally. Among the latter are those of true crime ; He has become fond of those of impostors such as Enric Marco or the Barcelona woman who pretended to be a victim of the attacks on the Twin Towers.
A frustrated photographer, he makes up for it by looking at photos of Salgado, for example, of whom he has several volumes in his bedroom, along with his narrative ones. He is obsessed with mountaineering books. With Maria and her children Lea and Elies, they read together Harry Potter before sleep.
Specialist in tropical medicine and epidemiology, he did his thesis on malaria, to which he dedicates a good part of his work.
In 2008 he opened an e-bay account – the “black hole” of his expenses – to buy an antimalarial box. Thus he would start a collection that will be exhibited at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid next February. What amuses him the most is negotiating. Why is a book worth 200 euros and not 50? There is usually no waiting list for books on malaria, so when he doesn’t get the price he wants, he insists after a few months. He has them in a showcase purchased at the Diagonal antiques fair.
“In the brutal literature of 300 years ago, you find wonders.” He is interested in the images and the interpretation of that time. “You get surprises,” he says, “there are things that are very well planned that we still think about.” Malaria began to be explained at the end of the 19th century, before there was talk of fevers. Around the year 1700, the Italian doctor Francesco Torti made a fold-out with the tree of fevers; each branch represents one. Quique Bassat’s library is a bit like that, among The science tree and his passions.
the prying eye
Types of bookshelf: made to measure, by the carpenter Lamesa Pino, and an old showcase.
Topics: holocaust, malaria, mountaineering, photography, ‘true crime’.
A subgenre: ‘El adversario’ by Emmanuel Carrère, ‘El impostor’, by Javier Cercas, ‘The woman who wasn’t’ there’, RG Fisher and AJ Guglielmo.
The familiars: ‘Vouloir vivre: Deux frères à Auschwitz’, Léon Arditti, and ‘El retorn dels Bassat’, Vicenç Villatoro (La Magrana)
The one who has given the most times: ‘Silk’, by Alessandro Baricco
The one who has given away for the last time: ‘The Master and Margarita’, by Mikhail Bulgakov.
The last: ‘L’estate di Garlasco’, by Francesco Caringella, and ‘In the cell there was a firefly’, by Julia Viejo (Blackie Books)