Les possessions

The Possessions | Anagrama / Asteroide, 2018

» Anagrama Award of Novel in Catalan 2018

This is a ghost story. A novel that starts with a return and ends with a howl.

The narrator of The Possessions travels from Barcelona to Palma to put a stop to the paranoid conspiratorial ravings of her father, a man who, following his retirement, has gone from an easy-going high-school teacher to a man hell-bent on fighting a legal battle against an alleged zoning crime.

It proves to be an awkward weekend of conversations with a father who has suddenly become a stranger, a mother acting as if she hadn’t a care in the world and a former lover and mentor. These encounters reopen old wounds, pitching the protagonist into the very heart of her family’s past history, marked by a sinister event in Madrid in 1993: caught up in various financial shenanigans and staring ruin in the face, the entrepreneur Benito Vasconcelos (a former business partner of her grandfather) murders his wife and son, before taking his own life.

Falling somewhere between an elegy, reportage and a thriller, Llucia Ramis has written a novel of many layers, deftly interwoven with a lightness of touch and a depth of feeling at one and the same time. A deeply personal, bold exploration of the past history of a family and a country, of the nature of romantic love and failed relationships, of ambition and thwarted plans, of how we build our own identities and hold firm to objects and feelings, aware that nothing lasts forever. Not even the homes in which we were once happy, for growing up means having nowhere to return to.