Abans de les cinc som a casa

Edicions 62, 2020 / Destino, 2020 | I'll Be Home Before 5

» BBVA Sant Joan Novel Award

A detective-like investigation that can also be read as a journey into the past and a reflection on the urge to write.

What are our lives made of? The answer might be find in this novel, in which the author immerses us in a fascinating adventure: the reconstruction of the the extraordinary life of an ordinary man, Hilari, based on a series of diaries.

Someone dies, the family hires a company to empty out the apartment of the deceased and divvies up the items of value. The belongings wind up getting sold at a flea market, and the Sunday after, a passerby finds three notebooks at the famous Sant Antoni  book market. These notebooks are the diaries of a man from Barcelona who has left evidence there of his everyday life over the past fifteen years.

The buyer soon realizes that these notebooks contain the whole of a life, and he takes on the task of reconstructing it. All he has are fleeting notes to tell him that on one day the man went to work, on another to the Liceo theater, on another on an excursion to Montserrat, that on one day he came home at five and on another day some time later. Now and again, there appear names––Grazia, Monzó, Marina––streets––Numància, Galileo––tram or bus passes, a ticket to somewhere in Europe, stubs from movie theaters with continuous showings.

With his diaries, Hilari threw a message in a bottle into the sea. This book relives the excitement of finding it and opening it.