«Cristóbal Serra’s books always avoided being one single thing»

“Being the quietest, he was also the most rebellious,” he says. Nadal Suau (Palma, 1981) in the prologue of El viaje pendular (Wunderkammer), a careful and personal anthology of the work of Cristóbal Serra, of which a double anniversary is celebrated this month: the centenary of his birth and the ten years of his death . The opening sentence could summarize the essence of Serra in the eyes of Nadal Suau, although always running the risk of wanting to define an author who, according to the writer and literary critic, is “unclassifiable.” The presentation will be held this Friday at 7:00 p.m. at the Rata Corner bookstore in Palma.

«In life, and in Palma specifically, Tòfol [como lo llamaba Nadal Suau, aunque él y otros conocidos suyos usaban otros nombres, como don Cristòfol o Cristobita] He was a well-known and well-liked character. And what I like is that he was highly regarded on all fronts of island civilian life. There were people who were more Catalan, but who had an excellent relationship with him despite writing in Spanish; authors in the Castilian language from Palma who recognize his mastery », assures Nadal Suau. «Also, from a personal point of view, he had a very special charisma. He was like a cross between a 10,000 year old man and a little boy. He was a great sage and very funny, with a great sense of humor », he adds about which he also says that he was « anti-modern », that he did not believe in progress because he understood that it instrumentalizes man.


And that rebellion so characteristic of Serra was, as the critic insists, from silence. «In some aspects, he was conservative, but in others he was a rebel, he did not want to submit to fashions, norms or ideological groups. Deep down, he missed childhood, that state of pure nature. He believed in children and spiritual purity and he himself had that childish look. His rebellion lay in following his own path, which was not political, but the path of a certain goodness », says the author. However, beyond Mallorca and beyond the character, Nadal Suau reiterates that Serra “died being a cult author.” In fact, on the occasion of the publication of this book, he states that “I have received many messages from different parts of the Spanish-speaking world celebrating the publication of it.” “He is a highly recognized and respected figure by very discerning readers around the world. What happens is that he has never been a massive author and surely he does not have to be. What he is looking for in this edition is that all his potential readers, whoever they may be, have it available to him in a careful edition.

Because those readers exist. My goal is also to bring it closer to young people, because Serra has literary references that can mislead them or that are very different from theirs, but the lightness, spirituality and certain anarchism that his works breathe fit very well with the younger generations, “he insists. .

After publishing in 2019 The air of books, where Nadal Suau collected the latest unpublished material from the Majorcan scholar, he admits that presumably there is no longer any unpublished text by the author, although he warns that it is true that there are still several works that saw the light decades ago and are now hard to find on bookstore shelves.

Precisely, El viaje pendular, as pointed out in the prologue, does not bring together the complete work of Serra, nor is it a philological edition. In any case, Nadal Suau’s anthology is “heir, although not equal” to Ars Qimérica, which Serra published in 1996 and “consecrated him as a cult author.” In this way, The pendulum journey consists of the books Pendulum and other papers (1957), Journey to Cotyledonia (1965), Diary of signs (1980), Jonah’s dark night (1984), With one eye (1986), Augurio Hipocampo (1994), The lines of my life (2000), Crepuscular scores (2007) and the story Saverio the helpful (2000).

Proof that Serrano literature is unclassifiable is that Nadal Suau claims to have found his work Diario de Signos cited in a study on the diaries of Spanish authors of the 20th century, in another on Spanish poetry of the same century and, finally, in another on the novel; when he himself always denied that he would ever write a novel. Settled the pending account of him with Serra, the author confesses that he would have to do the same with Guillem Simó, «author of a very important diary that I would like to translate into Spanish».

«Cristóbal Serra’s books always avoided being one single thing»