Salt Water, by Josep Pla, Translated by Peter Bush
Translated from the Catalan by Peter Bush
He travels with smugglers, narrates the stories of storms and shipwrecks that he hears on boats and in cafés and listens to fishermen, bar-tenders, sailors, layabouts, cooks, crooks and eccentrics. You could call most of them eccentric, author included . . . The translation reads immaculately . . . With pride, Josep Pla talks in Salt Water of his fierce coast in his and its battered language. He both observes and shares the dreams, traditions, food and culture of its people.
— Michael Eaude, Catalonia Today
Dripping with a panache that can turn in a comic instant to the most conciliatory humility, Josep Pla’s foray into the land and sea most familiar to him will plunge readers headfirst into its mysterious (and often tasty!) depths. Here are adventures and shipwrecks, raspy storytellers and the fishy meals that sustain them. After describing the process of beating an octopus with branches to soften up its flesh, Pla writes, “These are dishes that must be seen as a last resort.” Ever the authority on flavor and the brisk etiquette of sailing, eating, scheming, and smuggling, Pla is our stalwart captain through each windy, sun-soaked tale. A lifetime of reporting on current events gave Pla the necessary skills to describe the world in all its gritty, funny, invigorating detail.