The Greatest "Barcelona" Books of All Time

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 273 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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  1. 1. Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell

    The book is a personal account of the author's experiences during the Spanish Civil War, specifically his time with the POUM (Partit Obrer d'Unificació Marxista) militia in Catalonia. He provides an in-depth look at the social revolution that took place, the daily life of a soldier, the political infighting and betrayals among the Republican factions, and his eventual disillusionment with the cause he initially supported. The book is both a war memoir and a detailed analysis of a complex political situation.

  2. 2. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

    The novel follows the story of a young boy in post-war Barcelona, who discovers a mysterious book in a hidden library that his father takes him to, which houses forgotten books. The boy becomes captivated by the book and its author, but as he grows older, he realizes that someone is destroying all books written by this author. As he delves deeper into the mystery, the boy's life becomes intertwined with the author's, revealing a dark and tragic past that someone wants to be kept hidden. The story is a mix of romance, mystery, and a historical narrative set against the turbulent backdrop of a city recovering from war.

  3. 3. The Time Of The Doves by Merce Rodoreda

    The novel is a poignant exploration of a woman's life set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War and the early years of Franco's dictatorship. Through the eyes of the protagonist, a shopkeeper in Barcelona, readers experience her struggles with love, loss, and survival. Her personal journey is interwoven with the turbulent history of the era, as she endures the hardships of war, the complexities of her romantic relationships, and the challenges of raising her children alone. The narrative, rich with symbolic imagery, particularly the recurring motif of doves, offers a deeply emotional and intimate portrayal of resilience amidst the chaos of societal upheaval.

  4. 4. Marks of Identity by Juan Goytisolo

    This novel follows the life of Alvaro Mendiola, a Spanish man returning to his homeland after a long period of self-imposed exile in France. Through his experiences and memories, the narrative paints a vivid picture of the socio-political climate in Spain under Franco's dictatorship. As Alvaro grapples with his identity, the book explores themes of personal and national identity, exile, and the struggle for freedom.

  5. 5. Nada by Carmen Laforet

    "Nada" is a novel that follows the life of a young woman who moves to Barcelona to attend university after the Spanish Civil War. She stays with her eccentric relatives who live in a grand, but decaying mansion. The protagonist struggles to find her identity and independence while dealing with poverty, repression, and the emotional instability of her relatives. The story is a powerful exploration of despair, alienation, and the loss of innocence.

  6. 6. Bartleby & Co by Enrique Vila-Matas

    "Bartleby & Co" is a metafictional work that explores the theme of "writers of the No," authors who cease to write or never start at all. The narrator, an office worker on sick leave, uses footnotes to a nonexistent text to delve into the stories of these authors, including famous real-life figures. The book serves as a meditation on silence, refusal, and the nature of literature itself.

  7. 7. Last Evenings with Teresa by Juan Marse

    The novel revolves around a young, ambitious man from the lower class who is obsessed with breaking into the higher social strata of Barcelona. He believes that his ticket to this higher society is through seducing Teresa, a naive, young girl from a well-off family. As he manipulates Teresa, he finds himself entangled in a web of deceit, lies, and unexpected feelings. The story is a gritty exploration of class, ambition, and the lengths people will go to achieve their desires.

  8. 8. Southern Seas by Manuel Vázquez Montalbán

    "Southern Seas" is a detective novel set in post-Franco Barcelona. The story revolves around a private detective who is hired to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a wealthy man. As he delves deeper into the case, he finds himself entangled in a web of corruption, violence, and deceit, revealing a dark underbelly of the city's elite society. The narrative is deeply political and social, exploring themes of power, class, and the legacy of Franco's dictatorship in Spain.

  9. 9. A Light Comedy by Eduardo Mendoza

    "A Light Comedy" is a humorous tale set in Barcelona during the 1940s, centered around a middle-aged woman who, after losing everything in the Civil War, uses her wits and cunning to survive. She turns her apartment into a boarding house for single ladies, but when the business starts to falter, she decides to concoct a plan to marry a rich American. The novel is filled with a colorful cast of characters, and is a satirical commentary on the social and political climate of the time.

  10. 10. A Life of Picasso by John Richardson

    This biography delves into the life of one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, Picasso. The book provides an in-depth look into his early life, his relationships, his artistic evolution, and his influence on the art world. It offers a comprehensive exploration of Picasso's personal and professional life, shedding light on his genius and the complexities of his character. The author's detailed research and intimate knowledge of the artist's life make this book a definitive biography of Picasso.

  11. 11. Poems Of J. V. Foix by J. V. Foix

    This collection is a compendium of the lyrical work of a renowned 20th-century poet, showcasing his innovative and avant-garde approach to Catalan poetry. The poems are characterized by their rich imagery, experimental language, and a blend of traditional forms with modernist sensibilities. The poet's exploration of themes such as time, memory, and the nature of reality is interwoven with references to his Catalan heritage, creating a body of work that is both deeply personal and universally resonant. The anthology serves as a testament to the poet's influential role in the literary world and his enduring legacy in the canon of Catalan literature.

  12. 12. Strange Pilgrims by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

    "Strange Pilgrims" is a collection of twelve short stories that explore the lives of Latin American characters who find themselves in unfamiliar European settings. The tales, infused with magical realism, delve into themes of dislocation, love, death, and the surreal experiences of immigrants. The characters, often caught between their old world and the new, face unexpected situations and encounters that challenge their understanding of reality. The stories weave a tapestry of poignant, strange, and sometimes whimsical narratives that reflect the author's signature style of blending the fantastic with the ordinary.

  13. 13. Call Me Zebra by Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi

    "Call Me Zebra" is a novel about a young woman, who is the last in a line of self-proclaimed "anarchists, atheists, and autodidacts," embarking on a grand intellectual journey. After her father's death, she retraces the path they took as refugees from Iran to New York, immersing herself in literature and philosophy to cope with her grief. The protagonist's eccentric perspective and her passionate, often humorous, engagement with the works of literature make for a unique exploration of exile, art, and identity.

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!


If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.