Les darreres paraules

Les darreres paraules / The Last Words

Novel , 2016

Edicions 62

Pages: 165

BBVA Sant Joan Prize of Catalan Literature 2016

The imagined confessions of the free-thinking, free-loving, freewheeling Hapsburg scion who adopted Majorca as his home

More than a hundred years after his death, Archduke Ludwig Salvator remains a legend in the Balearic Islands. Colourful anecdotes circulate about his slovenly appearance, how he loved to be mistaken for his servants, and how he didn’t allow a single tree to be chopped down on his properties. Many still praise his simplicity, his ecological preservationist tendencies, and his patronage of the arts. “Carme Riera”—the narrator—is more driven to find the Archduke’s hidden side, which she hopes is contained in his suppressed correspondence with his lovers of both sexes.

This captivating book tells the story of her discovery of the dictated last wishes of a man who lived according to his desires and loved without prejudice. Told in two distinct styles delimited by their forms, the first part unfolds not unlike a detective novel, seamlessly fusing fact and fiction, while the erudite and worldly Archduke’s confessions reveal an engrossing take on a fascinating historical figure and his time, as he unburdens his conscience and tries to justify his moral choices in the face of posterity.

"For some biographers, his nomadic lifestyle was most notable; for others, his unbridled sexuality; for yet others, it was his interest in science. There are those who considered him a proto-hippy, and even the perfect freeloader, despite his ability to work for more than ten hours straight. I understood him, above all, as a free man who was lucky to be able to live according to his desires and love without prejudice...”

"In the book there’s no making up any of Ludwig of Habsburgs’ actions, but what we can find is an interpretation of the how and why of those actions. All this, forges the electric story of a man that decides to decipher, at last, all his secrets and mysteries before dying." –Carlos Sala, La Vanguardia

"Les Darreres Paraules is also a book about the old age. The closeness of death is one of the most important drives that can be found in this long confession."     "We are talking, then, about a counter-clock confession in words of a man that knows he’s dying and has very little time left to reveal all the truth." –Bernat Puigtobella