Pla is described by the New York Times, “realistic, direct, ironic, self-deprecating and sometimes caustic…the modernizer of Catalan literature.”
Largely considered to be the most widely read and popular Catalan writer of all time.
“He travels with smugglers, narrates the stories of storms and shipwrecks that he hears on boats and in cafés and listens to fishermen, bar-tenders, sailors, layabouts, cooks, crooks and eccentrics. You could call most of them eccentric, author included…The translation reads immaculately…With pride, Josep Pla talks in Salt Water of his fierce coast in his and its battered language. He both observes and shares the dreams, traditions, food and culture of its people.” —Michael Eaude, Catalonia Today
“Pla’s stories are generally unadorned and precise in their renderings of both the people and the places of the far northeast of Spain, lives full of hardship and labor—but also their insistence on freedom. A fine introduction to a writer little known outside his native land and who memorably captures its atmosphere.” —Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
“The grand old man of Catalan letters and one of Spain’s most prolific writers.”—Chicago Tribune
“In each essay, the reader is swept up and carried along…Pla’s style, ably translated here by Peter Bush, is glorious and precise.” —Lamorna Ash, Times Literary Supplement
“Salt Water benefits from Pla’s prolific career collecting pithy observations from sources, which helped the author generate idiosyncratic characters and iconoclastic literary insights…His unique prose, suffused with love, exists in a space between stoic observation and daydream.” —Colton Alstatt, Zyzzyva
“Josep Pla has long been considered one of the finest writers of autobiographical texts in any of the languages of Spain.”—Hispanic Review
“Considered one of the most influential Catalan authors of the twentieth century, [Pla] was born and raised in the Emporda, and over the course of his life wrote over 30,000 pages of prose in which he diligently catalogued the landscape and the life and habits of the people of the region. His complete works, published and republished over the years, contain marvelous descriptive passages that capture the landscape’s history and its complex topography at once.”—Words Without Borders
“Josep Pla was a great noticer of things and places; his gaze was alert and dry; he wrote in a style which registered both the smallest detail and the large picture. His relationship to Catalan identity and Spanish history was complex, often ambiguous. His relationship, however, to the scene in front of him, or the days in which he lived, remains fascinating for its clarity, its sharpness, its originality and its wit. On display in his work is a glittering and sparkling sensibility.” —Colm Tóibín
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