Year's End

Jordi Cussà – of whom I am both a friend and eager reader – is a live and prime example of an écrivain maudit: one of those writers consigned by Sod's Law to relative oblivion despite the undeniable quality of their work. Having survived the first part of his adult life – Cussà was involved in professional drug dealing, became heavily addicted to heroin himself and had five car crashes – he synthesised some of his experiences into a stunning novel 'Cavalls salvatges' ('Wild Horses') which appeared in 2000 to critical applause and garnered him his first hardcore readers, who for the last ten years have been following his writing wherever it takes them: to the ancient world ('La serp', 2001), to the jungles of South America ('L'alfil sacrificat', 2003), to Sitges ('Apocalipsis de butxaca', 2004), to an ultra-sophisticated realm of science-fiction ('La novel·la de les ànimes', 2005), to a hilarious, delirious gospel tour ('Clara i les ombres', 2007), on an emotive meander through a variety of short stories ('Contes d'onada i tornada', 2009), to the Bosnian war ('El noi de Sarajevo', 2010) and finally, at the tail end of this year, to a future Catalonia made independent both by hook and by crook ('A reveure, Espanya'). Cussà has a rhythmic, flowing style which meshes high, low and middle registers into a single natural voice exuding a conviction hard to find in most writers, let alone just Catalan language ones. When he occasionally grouses about his lot, you can hardly blame him: he has been shunted from publisher to publisher like a redundant tank engine, and his last four books have been largely ignored by the reviewers. However, a glimmer of hope has appeared on the new decade's horizon: his Bosnian novel will be published in Italian early in 2011. With luck, it'll be followed up by more recognition and thus more translations (this article has been written in English, in the hope that some publisher, somewhere, will take the hint). Romantic though it might be to be maudit, there are few writers who don't look forward to the day when their particular curse will be finally lifted. It's more than high time that Sod let Jordi off the hook. Oh, and Happy Christmas.

Matthew Tree, Catalonia Today, desembre de 2010.

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