the vermilion ribbon by Fèlix Fanés (Barcelona, 1948), published by Ensiola, I found it to be a magnificent book of an indefinable genre that combines reflection, memory, politics and cultural criticism. Fanés is the eldest son of the journalist Manuel Ibáñez Escofet. He started writing film articles with his mother’s last name to avoid the police, who were chasing him, and he kept this alias, while his brother, Jordi Ibáñez, signs novels, poetry and essays with him. his father’s name. I only saw Ibáñez Escofet once, they sent me to interview him when he published Arrels and fulles (1985) and, frankly (they were golden moments of pujolismo), it scared me a little. Later I have known everything that he did in the days of director of the newspaper Tele/eXpress and in The Catalan Post, I have read his biography of Kubala and I have seen him with different eyes. With the vermilion ribbon Just changed the optics. Fanés portrays with great talent the world of his parents, with all the shortcomings of the postwar period, the pragmatic, thrifty, optimistic instinct. This part of the family – with a grandfather from Montmeló, an uprooted cowboy in the Gràcia neighborhood – is splendid. Fanés also explains his intellectual and political training, as a film critic, professor of Art History, a member of Bandera Roja, and a student in Paris, where he met Josep Ramoneda. He speaks, with fine observations and amusing anecdotes, about Manuel Castells and Pere Ignasi Fages (who was Carrillo’s secretary) and reflects on the European 20th century and the world today, especially on his trips to Germany to visit the son of he.
Literature reader, he went around the world with a caravan and a trailer, from track to track
These types of books that offer a living testimony of an era win with the mundane element. Some high-ranking authors give less of it. This is not the case of Fanés, who introduces an extraordinary story that, for my taste, is one of the ends that tighten the book and raise it like the fantastic dome of a circus tent. One of his schoolmates was Víctor Palomo (1949-1985), who began his career with water skiing and was a motorcyclist champion in the 750 cc category, now defunct. What a portrait! A man dedicated to his passion, alone and against the current. A reader of literature, he went around the world with a caravan and a trailer, from track to track. Bruised by falls (he was close friends with Barry Sheene, who carried his body full of nails and metal plates), he made one think of the dull angels of Faulkner’s novels. Palomo died of a heart attack at the age of 36 and there was talk of an overdose. The pain and painkillers were stronger than his iron will, says Fanés, who recognizes the greatness of a character capable of giving up everything for an obsession. In the pain and the memory of him, she finds regret for what he could have been, not only his friend, but “all of us.” What a symbol of transition, what a human portrait, what a great moment in a great book, which I enthusiastically recommend.