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Author: Sandra Bruna Thursday 16 February 2017

Today the sun’s risen with a very special color in the sky, such an intense pink mixed with the blue of the beginning of the day that I can’t help thinking of you. It’s been five years this month since you’ve been gone, but this sky shows me that you’re in a beautiful place where we’ll meet once again, I’m sure of it. It’s been many years since I lost the religious faith, but I’ve won faith in people, in trusting the people that believe, in enjoying the present and giving affection to those you love and to the world in general; no yelling when there’s traffic, no getting angry in a traffic jam, and smiling even though they’re honking the horn because you’re going too slow. This is what you did: smiling. I haven’t forgotten that every time we saw each other, as you were taller than me, you gave me a kiss on my forehead with such affection that it got to my soul, and you made my day happier, as bad as it was. You made my siblings happy, your best friends, and you were just like one of the family. But the color of this sky tells me that, wherever you are, you are well, and that you paint it yourself to guide us and remind us that everything’s good, that we should enjoy what we have, we should believe in nice things, even when there are many other that don’t work as we want them to ­- although if we believe we can change them, we’ll make it through. We miss you, and for as long as time goes on, you’ll always be there, in the best of my memories, as an excellent person that left when it wasn’t your time.

That’s why Silvia Soler’s novel, LOS VIEJOS AMIGOS, published by Destino and Columna, has reminded me of so many things from my past, of the value that true friendship really has. Its story, as do all of Silvia’s, makes you reflect upon human relationships and how complicated they might be or, sometimes, how we’re the ones that complicate things. Throughout five students of Fine arts, who travel to Paris to visit the big exposition about Paul Gauguin in the Grand Palais at the end of the 80s, we enter a story of a trip that should have been the typical end of the course trip, and that will end up being the greatest trip of their lives. From there it will be born a very strong friendship between the five of them, one that all of them think that will last forever, that it will be an unbreakable bond, one of those that nothing or no one can break. But life happens, time goes on, and the main characters will have to understand that not everything is that easy, that the artistic call that brought them together doesn’t treat everyone the same, and that they must accept it. And as life goes on and it becomes more demanding, new people will come in their lives and change them, and they will make decisions that they wouldn’t have made otherwise. There are moments in life, several, where you must choose, and it’s when you’re standing in front of these decisions when you discover the truth, when life tests you.

A novel that will please a wide public and, surely, Sílvia Soler’s fans, who are many. But I encourage a younger public to read it, because they can relate to it and discover, in my opinion, one of the best Catalan writers of the moment.

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