Andorra turned out to be a challenging country. There are a few authors to choose from, but they write (mostly) in Catalan. Luckily Albert Salvadó has written two books which have been translated into English. Neither of the books are set in Andorra. This is why I chose to read one book by Salvadó, The Phaeton Report (Noah’s secret diary), and another one set in the microstate Andorra, but written by an American; Peter Cameron’s Andorra.
Joan Joseph Isern says that “If Albert Salvadó (Andorra la Vella) had been born in another part of the globe he would be a bestselling author…”. I fully agree. I am utterly surprised that this book remains unknown to the general public. It really is a shame. Usually I am not a big fan of science fiction, but this book really opened up interesting ways of looking at the world. Salvadó must have put a lot of time and effort to research these subjects. I salute you, Salvadó!
Homo Sapiens Mine
The book is about an author who hears about a secret society from the times of Galileo Galilei, the Universal Scientific Community. It’s a story about science and religion, the history of humanity, how the world actually goes around, and how we humans try to destroy it. “You only have to look around you to realize we are Homo Sapiens Sapiens Mine Mine and always Mine.”
The book gathers together a lot of documented facts about the world and adds a bit of fiction to it. It gives an insight to what the Great Flood was about, and states the ugly state of how we treat our planet, although we no longer all live together on Pangea. Climate change is something we all know is happening around us, but what are we really doing about it? “It is black gold that allows us to build empires, while causing the death of millions of innocent people. The dark object of our greed.”
The book is easy to read (great translation), easy to follow, hard to set your mind around it from time to time. It sends me shivers down my spine for sure. Why is this not an international bestseller? Did the marketing fail?
What about Andorra?
When looking for books set in Andorra I found Peter Cameron’s Andorra. It is pretty much set in Andorra, a mountainous microstate tucked in between Spain and France. However, Cameron has been creative; Andorra’s capital is called La Plata, and Andorra has a seaside.
The book is about an American man who escapes his life and moves to Andorra. He meets a woman and her dog in the beginning of his stay in the only hotel in town. After that there is no escape. He becomes somewhat of a friend with her and her husband. He also meets an elderly woman, and gets involved with another family, whom he rents his apartment from. Slowly the facades give away to why an Australian couple and an American man have escaped their lives.
I would not call this a psychological thriller in its pure form. It’s surreal from time to time, the characters are interesting, and there is a nice flow to the story. What I don’t care for is the things we are not told, or when something major happens, but it will never be explained in any way. Who cares about two murders? Well, I do! Even though they are not part of main storyline of the book, I would still know a bit more. This isn’t Kafka after all.