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Sandra Bruna Literary Agency

A must-have novel in a good library

Author: Bruno Thursday 30 November 2023

Today I recommend El tiempo que nos une, one of the best novels by Alejandro Palomas. One of my favorites. I remember when and how I read it, because it is one of those novels that mark you and you do not forget. This month, Destino has published it in hardcover, in a beautiful edition, with a prologue by Mario Gas, theater director who has brought to theaters the first part of this novel, La isla del aire, which had great success in its tour of Spain. It is a choral novel of female voices, which you understand, and which become unforgettable.

Grandmother Mencía convalesces with her granddaughter, Bea, who does not want to tell what really hurts her. This is the beginning of El tiempo que nos une, a saga of women with hearts so big that they are capable of harboring from the deepest love to the greatest suffering. Among the five protagonists of the story, family ties are interwoven to form a network that sometimes traps, sometimes embraces and, above all, protects. Mencía, the wise and outspoken matriarch; Lía, who always stays; Flavia, who lives in absence; Inés, a mother who suffers and a lover who laments; and Bea, the youngest, are unforgettable characters, who keep secrets but shout truths, and who feel, laugh and cry.

With delicacy and precision in language, Alejandro Palomas constructs a feminine universe of relationships and emotions that envelops us. And in El tiempo que nos une, as in life, many things happen, but in the end what matters is who has been sailing by your side.

Alejandro is a master of writing, and knows how to profile these female characters, that you hate them as much as you love them, that make you laugh and cry, and that ultimately make you vibrate. A text full of emotion, that has left no reader indifferent, and that is deservedly published in hardcover, after managing to make hundreds of readers fall in love with it in paperback format. I know that there are few fans of Alejandro who have not read this first saga of the author, but whoever has missed it should run to the bookstore, and whoever has read it in paperback should give the hardcover edition to someone who loves it very much, because it is a beautiful and unforgettable story of women: a wonderful gift for this Christmas.

A book for parents to help their children strengthen their character and personality

Author: Bruno Thursday 23 November 2023

We encouraged Maria de Mondo, an author we brought into the Agency after her bestseller Yo, ego (published by Harper Collins), to do a children’s book. She has two girls and we thought she would be the ideal person to explain how important it is to have self-esteem since an early age.

Through Casilda’s story, we will learn how the opinions of others should affect us in order to love ourselves. ¿Por qué estás triste, Casilda? is an effective tool for parents to help their children strengthen their character and personality. There is a sentence that I love in the book Wonder: “You can’t blend in with the group when you were born to stand out”. An invitation to avoid comparing yourself and striving to be like everyone else; a phrase that encourages you to be authentic. Just like Casilda, who, in this story, is worried and saddened because her friend does not like the sneakers she has bought, and her parents help her to understand how much we need the opinions of others and how they should affect us. We must have respect for all opinions, and listen to them, but we must be convinced of what we think, and thus act accordingly: those outside opinions  must “influence” us in a fair and appropriate manner. This is an ideal book to enjoy with the little ones at home, offering them tools through a simple story to face daily situations that, badly handled, can make a day bitter without any sense. Children who know how to manage their main emotions are happy children, and we must help to reinforce their emotional learning.

Do we like the world we are building?

Author: Bruno Thursday 16 November 2023

Bea Cabezas’ novel in a dystopian Barcelona, but not too distant (2060) was conceived, according to the author, imagining how her daughter, who has already been raised surrounded by technology, would act as a mother. Thinking how this will affect these new relationships, which are almost all through cell phones, losing dialogue and human contact. The Piano Lesson is a novel that talks about human relationships, but above all about the relationships between parents and children, and it is also an important reflection on motherhood.

One of the main characters, Sara, has just given birth in an abandoned apartment in the neighborhood called El Raval. She is only seventeen years old and ran away from home. In a more than precarious situation, she accepts that Àlex, the father, abandons the child in an affluent neighborhood, so that someone else can find her and take care of her. In her life, other lives marked by loss intersect: Pepe, a gardener who is going blind; Gloria, who struggles to defend the innocence of her daughter who died in a traffic accident while her husband escapes into alcohol; and Irene, who suffers the death of her mother and tries unsuccessfully to become pregnant. A few months after the birth, Sara tries to find her daughter again and comes into contact with Marga, a piano teacher who is running out of students.

This novel criticizes the society we are creating, increasingly individualistic, losing human contact and dialogue, and the author bets on trying to return to a more collective society and even recover what was a more traditional family. A work with short chapters and very well constructed characters that are intertwined and make it easy to read, while touching on deep issues that lead us to reflect. A perfect balance between a literary and a commercial work, that only good writers, like Bea Cabezas, know how to master to perfection.

There is always hope

Author: Bruno Thursday 9 November 2023

It is my turn to talk about another book by Francesc Miralles, but this time for young people. This author began writing juvenile literature and has not abandoned this facet, for which he has also had many successes, such as his first book UN HAIKU PARA ALICIA, Gran Angular 2002 prize organized by the publishing house Cruïlla, or RETRUM, which mobilized buses of fans dressed in black for Francesc to sign the book. Francesc Miralles is truly a wise man in the world of literature and for this reason it is vital that he does not abandon young people, since novels like JOHANNA AND DR. FRANKL are the kind of novels which captivates the reader from the first line, that tell you about a time, in this case a hard time, and a post-war period, but always with a message of hope that, nowadays, all young people need because, talking to several experts in psychology and psychiatry, they have told us that what young people feel is hopelessness in this world. On the one hand, it does not seem strange to me, I can understand them very well, we have created expectations that are not true, and every time they hear some news about the world, if they stop to listen to it, they find a world adrift with two open wars and with a climate change that advances and that nobody wants to put the necessary measures to take care of the place where they should grow up.

However, there have always been turbulent times and they have been overcome, so this novel, simple, tender and hard at the same time, tells the story of Johanna who, although she lives a horrible situation, which cannot be worse, finds hope, thanks to two people she meets in her life by chance. Here is a short summary of this novel:

In 1948, after World War II, Vienna is in shambles. Food is scarce and jobs are hard to find. Sixteen-year-old Johanna aspires to Work as a waitress in a cafeteria; she must support her mother, who has been in depression since her father died at the front. When she is fired, the world falls on her. However, that same day a chance encounter with a psychiatrist who suffered Nazi persecution and with a young American who interviews her for an article will help her find the motivation to live.

I suppose that in Francesc’s DNA there is always an IKIGAI, that reason to get out of bed every day, and therefore a motivation to live and not lose hope. This novel was as one of the finalists for the Edebé prize and it was a pity that it did not win the award, but I hope that, equally, entering the school circuit, it will be a reading that motivates young people to see that light they need and to understand that problems are neither big nor small, everyone has their own and all are respectable, and that, unfortunately, there are extreme situations, such as a war, that no one would like to live through, but even after something as difficult as living through a war, the loss of a parent and not having money to eat, which exists and is real, there is always a path to build and a green light that awaits us on that path.

Love has no borders

Author: Bruno Thursday 2 November 2023

When we say that love has no borders, it is very true. We are living through two wars, at this moment, and the “normal” citizens living in these countries do not share what they are living or would like that things could be solved in another way, because war is not the solution, we all know this, weapons do not make sense, and because, those in charge are not always absolutely right, and less and less, because we are in the hands of dangerous people who have lost the forms and values. And this is scary.

This week the photo that has been most popular in social networks has been a picture of two children hugging, one with the flag of Palestine and the other with the flag of Israel. Children are still capable of valuing friendship and love above flags, and, unfortunately, many adults have not yet understood that weapons should not be the resource for anything, it should be dialogue instead, but power and money make people lose their way: humanity is lost in a sad world that does not move forward. Have we evolved so little? It makes me feel very bad to turn on the TV every night and see that I can be sitting peacefully drinking a cup of coffee and thinking about my small problems, because they are still small, when I see the horror that these people are suffering and their despair. I feel helpless and that is why I believe that books like Miquel’s are needed, which, although they do not speak of war but of love between two people from two very different “sides”, it carries messages that should make us reflect.

Miquel explains the life of Martin Heidegger and Hannah Arendt, who met in 1925 at the University of Marburg. He was a professor and she was his student. He was married and she was single. She was eighteen and he was thirty-five. Thus begins Love Beyond World, an extraordinary novel about the relationship they maintained until the end of their lives despite all obstacles. Love Beyond World narrates in a thrilling way and, at the same time, with extreme delicacy, the tumultuous idyll between two of the great figures of European philosophy and thought. How can a sensitive Jewish intellectual and a professor of the highest prestige who was a militant in Hitler’s party love each other? Always marked by an anguished tension, the relationship between Arendt and Heidegger evolves in a stormy way and becomes an example of spiritual and philosophical love that goes beyond earthly ties.

Miquel Esteve has managed to capture one of the most incredible, contradictory and passionate love stories of the last century, still surprisingly forgotten today, which moves forward against the backdrop of some crucial episodes that will forever mark the future of humanity. An ideal reading to delve into the life and work of two key intellectuals to understand the contemporary world and I would add to try to learn from mistakes, that even reading great novels like this one, we are not able to stumble over the same stone.

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