Lost luggage by Jordi Punti
Original title -MALETES PERDUDES
Translator – Julie Wark
Source – review copy
Jordi Punti is one of the rising voices in Catalan literature ,born in 1967 ,he moved to Barcelona to study philology ,then went to work for a publishing house in Barcelona ,where he has worked translating writers such as Pennac ,Nothomb and Auster .He also writes poetry and in the newspapers regularly as well as novels and short stories .Lost luggage is his first book to be translated to English.
If we’re going to make progress we Christopher’s now need to return to carrer to Napols The first time we four brothers met in Barcelona , incredulous,suspicious and still dumbfounded by the revelations . Cristòfol showed us our fathers Mezzanine flat .
They start on their quest for Gabriel .
Well lost luggage as a title has a double meaning, the first comes from the main figure in the book. Gabriel a truck driver ,he was an orphan and went into trucking with his two friends he knew growing up ,after he left the orphanage .They literally on every trip the took in the truck around Europe, lost luggage a box Would disappear and the three friends divide them up all this was during the reign of Franco in Spain dark days indeed .The second meaning is lost luggage is what Gabriel left behind ,this is how we are introduced to him via his first son Cristòfol the Spanish son and until this point when contact by the police that his father has gone missing ,he hadn’t seen him in 20 years ,he doesn’t know him to well has disappeared .This leads him to met three other men called Christof, Christophe and Christopher ,they are his half brothers his father had whilst trucking .And are from Great Britain , France and Germany .So they meet not til this point,they were unaware of one another’s existence to this point .All the more than they only have slim facts from their respective mothers told them about Gabriel so the go on a quest to find him and learn about him .Along the way they become the Christopher’s like one and did his father ever got to Italy ? all this and more we find out .
Gabriel had learned to pace his relationship with his three equidistant women and three sons and ,like a good plate spinner ,he seemed to keep his cool .Of course ,the rules of the game were in his favour :he had his base camp in Barcelona ,where he lead a bachelor’s existence and ,thanks to removal work ,went to visit his famlies from time to time .
Gabriel described as plate spinner sounds right not easy what he did .
Well this book when it arrived reads like a headline from one of those women magazine” shock horror I discover my three half brothers with the same name “
the sort of thing you think oh no. I don’t want to read that .But no this is not that it is funny ,dark and at heart of this book is about how a moment of discovery can change the course of four lives for ever .We also get to the bottom of what motivate Gabriel to have these four children and why have they all got the same name ?Why did he run away from them ? Under all is the meaning of being lost whether boxes ,sons ,father ,mothers and living under Franco .Not overtly political we sense the wrongs of Franco regime .Punti as a Catalan a language that until after Franco wasn’t taught .This book is hard tom place in the cannon of Spanish fiction I ve read I think I need to read Monzo another Catalan writer to compare him too ,Like one of my favourite Spanish writers the Basque writer Bernardo Atxaga ,Punti shows how different the writing can be in Spain Catalan is language that developed separately to Spanish and one that seems to have a strong voice in its fiction if this book is anything to go out .