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Author: Bruno Thursday 17 December 2020

I used to love my city. It was a cheerful city, full of light and people, modern, cosmopolitan and for me, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but on March 13th everything fell silent. A virus arrived and forced us to stay at home, putting the city to sleep. During those months, the trees grew, there was less pollution, the birds made the city their own and approached the balconies without fear, perhaps to accompany us in that lack of flight and freedom that all humans had. The virus grew and became the king of the city, cultivating fear among the citizens, taking away the older ones without mercy and nullifying the affection, the smiles, turning the weakest into subjects of that fear that paralyzes and limits us.

Now the city is sad, the stores are closed, the hotels are without light, and many citizens have become icy robots who prefer to stay at home, not to see their own people, not to touch, and in short, not to give. All with the flag of prevention, which we must be clear, but in reality, it is fear that dominates us. Fear is the King and sadness its Queen, and our Barcelona is getting greyer every day. Personally, I feel disoriented, I do not like this city or those who have taken over from us. Without being able to flee far from this reality, because we are not allowed to travel anywhere, my escape route has become books again, because they make me believe in magic, in the fact that there are always intermediate paths where nothing is black or white, that grey can exist and that we can change what we do not like.

The heroes of literature help us see that nothing is impossible. I would love to have Harry Potter’s magic wand to improve the world in a minute, or to be like Alice, the protagonist of Lewis Carroll’s book, a polite, educated, well-dressed girl… in short, the perfect little girl of the Victorian England. But her curiosity and skepticism make authority figures take her to magical worlds full of, as the title of the book itself indicates, wonders. I would also like to be like the aviator who wants to think like a child again, or like the rose that challenges the tigers, in a work like The Little Prince where every sentence is a learning experience and the most important thing is today and not what will happen tomorrow. In each book we find our hero who surely would help us to give us advice to fight this hard moment that nobody would have thought to live. That is why fiction is one of the best resources to escape from a reality that today I find difficult to accept. In the agency we have had novels like EL BRINDIS DE MARGARITA by Ana Alcolea or LA MAESTRA DE SOCARTES by Laura Mas, with female heroines who did not live easy moments either but managed to fight and overcome them. While Margarita travels through the personal gaps left by the deaths of her family and learns to live in a Spain in full transition, Diotima will open the way to Socrates, proving her worth as a philosopher and saving Athens from the Plague. Two examples of women who knew how to overcome their situations and move forward.

And finally, I would like to recommend a novel to all of us who miss that active Barcelona that has now fallen asleep. Jordi Solé, with his novel EL TIGRE Y LA DUQUESA, tints it with intrigue, action and danger so that we can walk its streets with adrenaline from our home and try to solve with him in its pages a crime produced in our city by a real gang, The Pink Panters.

It will be a different Christmas, and that cannot be changed, but if we choose a book as a companion in this strange time, I am sure that it will become a lighthouse to get to see a better horizon.

Merry Strange Christmas and let us hope that in 2021 we can have a normal life again, so that we can continue sharing the best stories through books.

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