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Book recommendations

From ESN UB, we want to give you some book recommendations to change your perspective of the city you are currently living in -or of the city you will soon get to know-. Here we present you a list of the most beloved books set in Barcelona or written by authors born in Barcelona:



Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Set in Barcelona, in 1980, the book follows the story of fifteen-year-old Oscar, who meets Marina while he’s exploring the old quarter of the city. She leads him to a cemetery, where a ritual occurs the last Sunday of each month. From then on, together they begin a journey to reveal a dark secret that lies waiting in the streets of Barcelona and it transports them to a forgotten post-war Barcelona.



Author: Carmen Laforet

In this coming-of-age story, Andrea moves to post-war Barcelona to study at the University. She arrives as a young and innocent person with hopes and dreams, but living with her eccentric family will be difficult. Throughout the book, we see how Andrea deals with the situation at home by befriending rich people in school and how she starts learning the disturbing truth of her relatives. This is the story of a young woman that goes through hard situations and existential crises that will make her grow, mature and become stronger.


La plaça del Diamant

Author: Mercè Rodoreda

This novel is one of the most important books in contemporary Catalan literature. It is set in Barcelona before, during and after the Spanish Civil War and it follows the life of a young woman from Gracia. Through Natalia’s voice, we will get to know about her feelings and emotions during her youth, marriage and the war, which sends away his husband and puts the city in poverty. Her story happens during a difficult time in history and shows her life, marked by oppression, and the need to free herself.


La ciudad de los prodigios

Author: Eduardo Mendoza

Onofre Bouvila is the protagonist of this historical fiction set in Barcelona between 1888 and 1929. From a small village in Catalonia, the protagonist moves to Barcelona to find a job and get away from his parents. In the city, he will not find a job easily and his life will depend on giving out anarchist leaflets and selling hair lotion, which he steals from the barber. However, throughout the story we will see how he goes from poverty to gaining financial and criminal power. 


We hope you find these recommendations interesting and that you enjoy the reading :)