El jardí dels set crepuscles / The Garden of the Seven Twilights
Novel , 1989
2015 - Prix Transfuge du meilleur roman hispanique (France)
Barcelona 2024. As Europe is devastated by an atomic war, a small group of people –all of them members of the Catalan high bourgeoisie– manage to flee and go into hiding near de Pyrenees. Here they take refuge in a strange castle hidden in a rock and surrounded by a magic garden. In this castle reigns an atmosphere of excessive and fantastic luxury, it is the perfect place in which to escape the spectre of the war by the telling of a stories.
All these stories –some amusing, other dramatic, erotic or philosophic– weave together artistically and converge at the same time into one big story: that of a very powerful economic clan whose past is related with the Mir Bank, whilist its destiny is bound to a jewel that confers extraordinary Powers upon its owner. And so, little by little, in the course of seven days and seven evenings, the character’s limits between reality and fantasy gradually become distorted.
El Jardí dels set crepuscles (The Garden of the Seven Twilights) is a rich mosaic formed by stories linked to a variety of genres –philosophical, historical, romantic, symbolist, science-fiction, detective–, a complex literary device, full of cultural references and allusions, that exudes the pleasure of writing and the enjoyment of narrating. The reader needs only to surrender to a delightful read –one that cannot possibly exhaust the pleasures of a book that evokes the tradition of Works such as The Thousand and one Nights, The Decameron, The Canterbury Tales–, of a book that had been considered by critics as a masterpiece of contemporary world literature.
"Hallucinatory, genre-hopping novel of improbably interwoven stories. […] You need a scorecard to keep track of the proceedings, but Palol delivers an entertaining intellectual mystery." Kirkus Review
"This counts among the most important experiments in Spanish fiction in recent years. Palol’s novel follows in the footsteps of works by Borges, Calvino and Perec. What it brings to this end-of-century literature is an emphasis on pure pleasure derived from the dexterous use of language in the telling of the story." El Mundo
"This novel is the result of a titanic effort to bring the old and new together in a single whole that aspires to offer a complete picture of today’s world." ABC
"A passionate story that will grip the reader for the entire duration of its nearly 1,000 pages." El País
"More contemporary than Boccaccio it reflects, on one hand, a touch of Calvino’s If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler, without the Italian writer’s lightness and, on the other hand, a shade of Borges that calls to mind Pierre Ménard, Author of the Quixote." Il Manifiesto
"Palol, brilliantly following Bocaccio’s model(…) constructs a giant puzzle, alternating symbolic interpretations with astrological and cabalistic elements, excerpts of chronicles, mathematical calculations, unrequited love, mysterious legends, an autopsy, poetry, cryptic cinematic images, and mythological digressions all mixed together in a potentially infinite story." Il Giornale
"Since it’s origins, the novel has vacillated between the poles of restraint and capaciousness, the formal discipline of Flaubert or Jane Austen and the catch-all approaches of Sterne or Pynchon. Palol is a rarity in the landscape of present-day Catalan letters for his unswerving devotion to the latter approach." Words without borders
"“Il”, c’est-à-dire le grand roman européen, avec autant l’estomac (plus mille pages ici) que de cellules grises (histoire, philosophie, cosmologies, ésotériques: il brasse tout), le digne héritier des Broch, Mann, Musil. Miquel de Palol, c’est le cousin catalan et contemporain des fresquistes titanesques de l’Europe agonisante de l’entre-deux-guerres." Damien Aubel, Transfuge
"Un libro straordinario per gli amanti dei dilemmi logico-matematici, per i lettori di Borges, per tutti gli appassionati della più rarefatta e metafisica fantascienza." Maria Nicola, L'Indice