In 1997 Quaderns Crema published L'àngel de la segona mort, the first novel in the trilogy L'atzar i les ombres. Jaume Vallcorba and Pere Gimferrer were his supporters. The author, Julià de Jòdar (Badalona, 1942), had a long career, although, for many readers, he came out of nowhere. A chemist by training, he worked in the publishing world directing encyclopedic works. He also participated in the social and political movements of the 1970s. He later learned that he had been an assistant director at the Escola d'Art Dramàtic Adrià Gual.
L'àngel de la segona mort stood out. First of all, because of the setting: an immigrant neighborhood, around the streets of Guifré and Cervantes, in Badalona. The action begins in 1956, with the common thread of the accidental death of a boy, the day of the festival of San Juan: he worked in a bakery and his cokes were burned. From there, Jòdar builds a book that is, from the outset, a fresco of Catalan life between the thirties and the first Franco regime, from a social, political and moral point of view. With elements, let's say costumbristas, of great strength and beauty. Jòdar introduces into his books popular songs, references to films and plays, descriptions of the simple life: anarchists, Catholics, pimps, manual workers and gentlemen from the center of the city.
A novel has recently come out with the absurd claim of eliminating all literature, offering only the documents, to reconstruct the history of a period. Julià de Jòdar's novels are its reverse. They are dialogic structures that establish an exchange between history and desire, reality and memory, fantasy and representation. Facts are not just facts and that's it. In L' àngel de la segona mort we do not get to know if Gabriel Caballero really found the foot of his friend Àngel Cucharicas, dead on the train track. What is the truth? What is the story? What is morality?
In the second novel in the series, El trànsit de les fades (2001), Jòdar introduces the theater, regarding the performance, in 1959, in the ruins of the old bullring of Badalona, of a company that presents La malquerida by Jacinto Benavente. The reality of the neighborhood is a mirror of what happens on stage. As was the case in L'àngel de la segona mort, we find an atmosphere of contemporary tragedy: the action takes place in the fifties of rock
In El metall impur the action goes back to 1962. The boy, Gabriel Caballero, who was 14 years old at the beginning of the trilogy, is now twenty, has begun his declassification, has abandoned his mother in the store to go to work as a chemist in a foundry. If El trànsit de les fades portrayed the feminine world and the dialectic with the world of masculinity, El metall impur deals with time and industrial work from the characters of the factory and popular types –beggars, enlightened– outside the gear productive.
Jòdar is a great author. To say that he has not been recognized is not entirely accurate. He has had awards and readers. This edition, which puts his three seminal novels into orbit in a single volume, will open the eyes of many who don't know him yet or don't know him well enough.