23. ilb 06. – 16.09.2023

Marcos Giralt Torrente

Marcos Giralt Torrente was born in Madrid in 1968. He studied philosophy and today works as literary critic for the renown daily newspaper “El País”. He began writing with stories which appeared, amongst others, collected in the volume “Entiéndame” (1995). In 1999, his first novel “París” came out, which was awarded the “Premio Herralde”, one of the most well-known literary prizes in Spain.

“At that time I used to enjoy reading narratives much more than novels”, says Marcos Giralt Torrente on the period in which he worked on his first book “Entiéndame”, a range of short stories which all, in some roundabout often confused way, have to do with love, with seduction, jealousy, and finally with the craving of writing. There is for example the story of the playboy who seduces rich women to be kept by them. When the narrator of the story quite by chance meets this cad in a scene, he doesn’t give him away but interrogates him in great detail just to satisfy his own curiosity.

Torrente is concerned that narratives are less regarded in Spain than the novel and that in a place where there are so many talented writers of stories. Precisely with this genre you can learn literary discipline and the art of shortening. In the best case, the narrative can interpret the many aspects of the world through sudden enlightenment while the novel must reflect these many aspects.

Perhaps Giralt Torrente succeeded in such a portrayal of the world in his first novel “París”. Here there is also a narrator, who constantly asks questions altough they are directed more to himself than to his surroundings. In a weaving of repetitions, variations and digging linguistically into the past, the narrator attempts to follow his childhood in seventies Madrid and the conflict between his parents whose constant arguing made their son’s life hell. The father, a failed academic who has become a small-time criminal, at some point leaves the family, his mother succeeds, after many pointless attempts, to free herself from him. Mother and son don’t just suffer due to their terrible destroyed relationship but they are both also connected by a secret, which is only revealed on the last page of the novel. This labyrinth-like book of memories above all tells of the desire for absolute love – the fulfilment of which may seem utopian but is at the same time the driving force behind Marcos Giralt Torrentes’ writing: “If life and love are our great dreams then we must have the courage to carry on dreaming.”

In 2002, Torrente was a guest of the German Academic Exchange Programme in Berlin. His second novel, “Los seres felices” (t: The happy beings), was published in 2005.

© international literature festival berlin


Barcelona, 1995

Nada sucede solo
Del Bronce
Barcelona 2000

In deinen Augen
München, 2001
Übersetzung: Matthias Strobel

Los seres felices
Editorial Anagrama
Barcelona, 2005

Übersetzer: Matthias Strobel