Francis Boutle Publishers | Short Fiction
Translated from European regional and lesser used languages
By Prudenci Bertrana
Translated from Catalan by Peter Bush
ISBN 978 0 9957473 7 1
82 pages paperback
From its first publication in 1906 this story of the sacrilegious love between Josafat, the bell-ringer and caretaker of Girona Cathedral, and Fineta, the prostitute, has shocked and enthralled generations of Catalan readers. It eventually led to its author and family being hounded out of Girona.
This first English translation of a classic of Catalan modernism lures the reader into the shadowy realm of a provincial cathedral, where the brawny bell-ringer from the countryside finds his lust for the voluptuous Fineta, herself in search of fresh sensual, ever more violent thrills, is too powerful for his faith and stewardship of the building’s hallowed spaces. A stricken conscience leads him to the confessional, where advice from a white-haired Jesuit opens the way for the appalling finale.
Prudenci Bertrana (Tordera, 1867–Barcelona, 1941) rebelled against his fervently theocratic Carlist, landowning family and espoused the republican cause throughout his life. He eked out a living as a writer, sign painter, portraitist and journalist and editor of satirical magazines, first in Girona, and later in Barcelona. He is the author of many short stories, novels and an autobiographical trilogy. Josafat is his best-known work, a modern Catalan classic.
Peter Bush has translated a number of Catalan modern classics, including Black Bread by Emili Teixidor, Mercè Rodoreda’s In Diamond Square, Joan Sales’s Uncertain Glory and Winds of the Night, Josep Pla’s Life Embitters and The Gray Notebook, which won the 2014 Ramon Llull Prize for Literary Translation. He is currently working on Pla’s Salt Water, Barcelona Tales, and a selection of stories by Teresa Solana. In 2015 he was awarded the Creu de Sant Jordi by the Catalan government for his translation and promotion of Catalan literature.