Ibiza, España, 1972

José Morella holds a degree in literature theory and comparative literature. He lives in Barcelona. He entered his novel Asuntos propios for the Premio Herralde, and although it did not win, the judging panel gave such a positive assessment of the work that it was published by Anagrama. His novel Como caminos en la niebla, explores the wild and rebellious life of the psychiatrist, anarchist and hippie avant la lettre, Otto Gros. In 2019 he won the Café Gijón Award with West End, an auto-fiction novel about the mental illness taboo.

Bibliography

A lesson in humanity, as moving as Awakenings by Oliver Sacks, as real and desperate as life itself.

Inspired by his childhood memories of Ibiza’s West End in the 1970s and 80s, on a corner of the island inhabited by working families emigrated from Andalusia, hippies from around the world, and tourists looking to party, José Morella reconstructs the difficult life of his grandfather, Nicomedes, who suffered from mental illness. 

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Novel

Winner of the 2019 Café Gijón Novel Prize 

A lesson in humanity, as moving as Awakenings by Oliver Sacks, as real and desperate as life itself.

Inspired by his childhood memories of Ibiza’s West End in the 1970s and 80s, on a corner of the island inhabited by working families emigrated from Andalusia, hippies from around the world, and tourists looking to party, José Morella reconstructs the difficult life of his grandfather, Nicomedes, who suffered from mental illness. Morella delves into his family’s history and the combination of fear, lack of understanding, and shame that led them to build a wall of isolation around his grandfather.

With a heterogeneous mix of genres, from his own family stories and autofiction to essay, Morella offers an energetic and electrifying lesson in humanity and compassion. Drawing on testimony, personal experience, nods and references from throughout the cultural spectrum, this book is an unforgettable read.

“José Morella writes with poetic simplicity, and his anti-solemnity is a lesson to be followed.” Elena Poniatowska, Winner of the 2013 Cervantes Prize

The riotous, tragic life of the founding grandfather of counterculture.

Following a breakup, Llerandi decides to realise his dream of directing a movie about a unique and unrepeatable historical figure: Otto Gross, psychiatrist, unruly disciple of Sigmund Freud, psychoanalyst, anarchist, utopian, bohemian, defender of sexual liberation and matriarchy.  For research, Llerandi visits the cities where his protagonist lived and explores the intense, over-the-top life of a man who, in the eyes of the society of his time, was an untamed madman who deserved to be confined to a psychiatric facility. But Gross was a visionary, and found an opportunity to put his libertarian, utopian ideas into practice in Mt. Verità, Switzerland, a sort of naturist community/spa that would be frequented by progressives and visionaries, eccentric physicians, artists and bohemians.

Otto Gross’s endless struggle against the society of his time is personified in the conflict with his father, Hans Gross, a pioneering forensic scientist with a pathologically strict personality. His father manages to have Otto put away in a mental hospital for years. This gives rise to a public campaign for his release, supported by intellectuals from all over Europe, such as Franz Kafka, Carl Jung, Blaise Cendrars and Herman Hesse, heirs of the influence of a man who was several decades ahead of his time.

“A brilliant novel about the figure of the Austrian psychoanalyst Otto Gross.” Ernesto Ayala-Dip

"Well structured, well narrated, the novel takes us into the life of Otto Gross, a real character whose real life is so unusual, it seems invented. An intelligent read for those seeking something more in a book." Alicia Giménez-Bartlett

Roberto es un hombre acostumbrado a hacer lo que le da la gana. Un hombre independiente. Se jubiló hace seis años, pero, a sus setenta y un años, sigue traduciendo. Y cada mañana se sienta delante del ordenador, y traduce durante horas. La señora Dolores, la portera, sube a limpiar el piso un par de veces por semana pero cuando sufre una embolia y ya no puede volver a trabajar, Isabel, la hija de Roberto, insiste en que su padre pida una asistenta. Un lunes, Jacinta llama a la puerta. Su belleza y su carácter impresionan a Roberto, y enseguida surge algo entre ellos. Entre esa mujer, que sabe que siempre será una extranjera que genera una sorda desconfianza entre los locales, y ese hombre culto, aún ávido de vida, surge una relación que subvierte sus vidas y las de los que les rodean. Porque su goce suscita odios y revela prejuicios que nadie cree tener, pone en cuestión el limbo terrible al que los hijos condenan a los padres, los jóvenes a los viejos, los iguales a los diferentes. Una elegante, sagaz fábula de la cotidianidad, llena de inesperadas facetas a descubrir.

El joven Bruno recibe el inquietante encargo de entrevistar a Juan Salazar, un conocido escritor argentino al que le quedan pocas semanas de vida. Bruno conocerá, por boca del viejo moribundo su última novela, una confesión que, de ser cierta, desmentiría por completo la biografía del escritor, que asegura no ser Juan Salazar. A través de este gran desmentido vital se abordan problemas como la rebelión contra las condiciones materiales de nuestras vidas o la resistencia ante la mediocridad generalizada del mundo. Los personajes se debaten entre lo real y lo ficticio, la aventura o el miedo, la autenticidad del individuo libre o las limitaciones de las convenciones sociales.

Poetry

Tambor de luz es el primer libro de poemas de José Morella, un breve pero intenso recorrido literario sobre la oscuridad y la luz que plasma con formas breves y precisas un mundo donde el solitario y el amante se dan la mano en una comunicación de contenidos turbios y a veces espirituales.