Historias de Londres

London Stories | RBA, 1999

In Historias de Londres, Enric González chronicles the curious vicissitudes that led him to the English capital and the inextricable love affair he immediately established with it.

The author sheds light on some of the most famous and unknown corners of London via accounts of a whole host of situations and perplexities — the mundane goings-on of his day-to-day life, such as the gossiping and snooping of neighbours; the serene walks; the stress of commuting, work and illness; the hours of spent revelling in every type of performance. These Historias de Londres show us the misery and the greatness of health, as well as some of London’s most defining characteristics, such as its economy, architecture, culture and football, with the effect that the reader can’t help but feel fascinated by a city that changes its skin in the pen of someone who, while he was there, felt like a fish in water and who always plans to come back and come back...

Enric González loved London long before he knew it. Equipped with nothing more than a quixotic scheme, he decided to head to England and hope for the best. And he made it. Fortunately, he also managed to get by on a journalist's salary, which improved his diet considerably. Journalism and some unexpected circumstances allowed him to get to know dozens of intriguing characters and the innermost folds of a wonderful city: from Buckingham Palace and Parliament to the alleys of Whitechapel, its venerable football stadiums and tunnels.

And the fact is that journeys are not only made up of moments, but also of stories. Stories, in this case. Anecdotes from the author's personal experience that, in many cases, succeed in illuminating the city in almost all its facets. Not only is his book not a guidebook in the conventional sense — none of his books are really guides — but it is also, as Enric González himself confesses, a declaration of love for England’s capital.

The book was first published in 1999, which is worth bearing in mind, although this fact doesn’t interrupt the flow of the stories and is only noticeable sporadically, in those episodes that make reference to their contemporary reality. The author's style is slow, like a whisper, and deeply charismatic, a strange mixture of irony and nostalgia that slips between one story and another, each one more interesting than the next, with that the short story writer’s ability to get right to the essence of a tale and discard everything else. Ultimately, these Historias de Londres are not merely stories, but also a whistlestop yet enlightening journey through England’s capital.