God’s Not in the Photo


« Do you remember Aunt Maria? » With this simple sentence and a rediscovered photo, Jordi, the narrator, slips back into his family history and the strange and ambiguous relationship between his father, Felix, and his Aunt Maria. She was a Benedictine nun in the convent of the Angels, in Barcelona, and he, an anarchist. We are in Spain, in 1936, and it’s war. A war in which the protagonists feel « unavoidably and woefully destined to failure » and yet are still unwilling to lay down their arms because, more than ultimate victory, it’s the simple fact of resistance that matters most… And where is God in all this? He observes, he commentates, and, in the end, as usual, he dictates fates…

« I see now that human destiny is the sole theme of this book. But when does a destiny become apparent? At what point do you recognise that the course of a life has been predestined by a greater force? » (J.B.)

Catalan by birth, in his teens Jordi Bonells became a workman for a bookbinder and continued his studies at night school. In 1970 he immigrated to France and enrolled in a sociology course in Paris while working as a night watchman. He changed his degree course to study for an ‘agrégation’ in Spanish. Over a period of two years, he divided his time between France and Argentina. Today, he lives in Marseille.

Jordi Bonells teaches contemporary Spanish literature and culture at the University of Toulon and is the author of several essays, including Le Roman espagnol après 1939 (Nathan, 1998), and novels and poems published in Spain. He is also the author of L’Espagne et les Espagnols and La deuxième disparition de Majorana, published by Liana Levi.


"Not without humour, Jordi Bonells incorporates the poetry of the photo and the philosophy of boxing into this family-inspired story… […] A dark fantasy for troubled times… A story apt to touch a wide readership." Livres-Hebdo