Three hundred years after it was built, a flood destroys the Besalú bridge. The royal village, joining efforts between Jews and Christians, commissioned the master builder Pere Baró to rebuild it, because the lack of this communication route puts the expansion and commercial position of the city at risk.
A young Jew,
, descendant of Prim Llombard, the first builder of the bridge, gets to work on the works, some jobs that will be stopped for some hidden reasons that he will investigate, with the help of a young Christian,
Thirteen years have passed since Martí Gironell (Besalú, 1971) published
The bridge of the Jews
, a great editorial success that asked for a continuation. Now comes
Word of Jew
(Column / Planet in Spanish), which contains all the ingredients to be a new success: the Judeo-Christian conflict, the daily lives of small characters who achieve great results, the uses and customs of the time, a love story, a point of magic, and the appearance of the city of Barcelona as the setting for the central section of the novel.
The new novel takes place between Besalú, Barcelona and Girona
“We are at late 14th century and
Word of Jew
it resumes action at the point where the bridge had to be rebuilt, ”says Gironell. And, faced with this new challenge, he asks himself: “How are the relations between Jews and Christians? Can the bridge be rebuilt with guarantees? ”
With these two premises, the novelist introduces the reader to the lives of our ancestors, both in Besalú and in Barcelona, with a stop in Girona, reconstructing how they were, how they lived, how they related, how they dressed, what they ate. The character of Ester, a young Christian “who works between the Almoina hospital in Barcelona and the Jewish quarter”, also plays bridge between these two worlds and these cities.
Gironell confesses: “I am an ass with a bad seat, I am a curious person, with many open windows.” And he was curious about the fact that “at the beginning of the 14th century many Jews were expelled from France and some go to Besalú”.
Relations between Jews and Christians run through this historical novel that draws on other genres
For coexistence, “there are two basic foundations: love and respect between Jews and Christians.” But things are not so pretty, and the book talks about antievangelios that the Jews wrote, “because it was the only way they had to fight against the Christians, who made their lives bitter”.
Thanks to the research of that period, he details that “the little characters are based on the documentation of real characters”, so that the book, which is a historical novel but has ingredients from other genres, gains credibility. The pinch of magic comes through
Book of Creation
, “Because through the words of this book a golem can be created, one of the myths of the Jewish tradition.”
Thus, the author pays tribute to words. “They may be throwing weapons, and I have played with those that have more than one meaning. I also wanted the names of the characters to make sense. The monk Lluís Duch It said that, based on misunderstandings, words that were badly said or misinterpreted, Europe had experienced great crises ”, he concludes.