On 17 April we held the first Queen Mary Catalan Book Club meeting of 2023. On this occasion we discussed Jordi Martí Rueda’s Brigadistes: Vides per la llibertat (Brigadistes: Lives for Liberty). We were lucky enough that both the writer and the translator of the book, Mary Ann Newman, joined us for the event.
After an introduction in which the attendees shared their views and knowledge about some of the chapters of the Spanish Civil War which can be found in Brigadistes, with a deep insight into them in some cases, the discussion then focused on several matters. Jordi Martí-Rueda highlighted how this is not a history book, but a book of stories, and he recognised he wanted to give special attention to women and to medical workers, not just to the image of “the man with a gun”, as well as including people from several nationalities. Mary Ann Newman underlined how she noticed, when translating the book, how words are used in a special way in Brigadistes to express certain emotions, even though the author pointed out the usage of the characters’ words and not his own to narrate war scenes.