Napalm al cor

Napalm in our Hearts

Napalm al cor

“Sometimes I feel like I’m writing down the future. I tell myself that, in the face of misunderstanding, the words should be there. Someone, maybe, will understand them,” says the narrator of the story. And, in fact, Napalm in Our Hearts is something of an exercise in the intimate understanding of an extreme and traumatic past, and the sentimental mapping of a tumultuous present in the search for some kind of freedom.

Set in an ambiguous geography, Pol Guasch’s first novel features a pair of boys who have grown up in a militarized zone. Their lives have been impacted by precarious living conditions, an environment that is intolerant of their desire, and families that have been uprooted. The lack of prospects is pervasive, but they hang on to the possibility of letting themselves be dazzled and even submitting, of embracing militancy and the temptation of violence, and of continuing to speak a language that is falling to pieces: their own.

The only alternative is to flee that barren land. On their journey beyond the “other side”, literally carrying the weight of the past in the form of a letter and a dead body to bury, they’ll find different answers to shared mysteries. Pieced together delicately like a mosaic, written with precision and beauty, Napalm in Our Hearts offers a vivid allegory of the various oppressions that determine so many lives, but also of the fine line that sometimes separates victim from executioner.

According to the 2021 Anagrama Novel Prize jury:

«The voice that speaks to us from Napalm in Our Hearts, innocent and brutal at the same time, like the boy from ‘La guerra’ by Carner and the teenager from Quanta, quanta guerra... by Rodoreda, drops us into the middle of the terrifying forest of children’s stories and into the human condition. It is one of those novels that, as Kafka said, affects us like a disaster and helps us break open the frozen sea within us»  (Mita Casacuberta).

«“Pol Guasch took on the dystopian genre from a poet’s perspective and came up with a suggestive post-nuclear novel set in the most marginal of margins. Napalm in Our Hearts (…) will captivate the reader with a surprising combination: the sense of suffocation that dominates the world he describes and the voluptuous language he uses in those descriptions» (Guillem Gisbert).

And the critics said:

«I read Napalm al cor by the young Pol Guasch, winner of the Anagrama Prize, in a weekend. It is a book that is as strange as it is fascinating, grand poetry turned into prose. Highly recommended for its enormous sensibility and great literary solidity» (Jordi Basté, La Vanguardia).

«A poetic story, raw, brutal...At the heart of the novel lies a solid political discourse that is not ambiguous in the slightest» (Ot Bou Costa, Vilaweb).

«Napalm al cor proposes very tough approches and fragmented linearity...In philosophical terms, we could say that it is an exercise in humanistic critique» (Gerard E. Our, Núvol).

«With images of devastation, Pol Guasch debuts as a novelist with a dysptopia about climate collapse, the body, and language. Napalm al cor is a book about family grief, about the passion and love between men. About the need for love that drives the protagonist to dive deep into himself» (Julià Guillamon, La Vanguardia).

Pol Guasch

Pol Guasch

Pol Guasch (Tarragona, 1997) is a poet and member of the cultural production company La Sullivan. He earned an undergraduate degree in Literary Theory and Comparative Literature (University of Barcelona), holds a master’s degree in Construction and Representation of Cultural Identity (UB), and he completed the Independent Studies Program at MACBA. He has been an associate professor of literature and cultural critique at the UB and is currently researching contemporary theory and literature at King’s College London, where he resides, thanks to a grant from Fundació laCaixa. He has published the poetry collections Tanta gana and La part del foc and has recited his poems at various national and international festivals, including Barcelona Poesia, the Sant Cugat International Poetry Festival, Poesia i +, the Festival of Hope, and the Poetry Festival Alguén que respira! among others.


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