• Felipe Portales: "The Vatican has made its priests suspects of sexual abusers"
  • Literature The 'star system' of the novel that saved the book industry in Spain
  • Interview Albert Espinosa: "I estimate that I have 12 years to live. It wouldn't be bad."

In 2011 Alejandro Palomas (Barcelona, 1967) published a choral novel populated by female voices that he had, so to speak, been writing all his life. From the beginning he imagined that book on the stage of a theater, but the years passed and the successive projects were half-finished. Until Mario Gas took the lead with an exceptional cast of actresses in which Núria Espert, splendid at 90 years of age, stands out.

After triumphing in Barcelona, La isla del aire will land on December 9 at the Teatro Español in Madrid. And the novel on which it is based, The Time That Unites Us, returns to bookstores these days in a new commemorative edition (Destino, 2023), a year after Palomas shook the country with the denunciation of the sexual abuse he suffered as a child at La Salle school and which he narrated in Esto no se dice.

Twelve years have passed since the first edition of The Time That Unites Us. How has your sentimental relationship evolved with this "novel most loved by its readers"? Think of it as a novel that I have had to share one by one with my readers. I started writing it 20 years ago, 20% of my life!, and no one bet on it at first. And as I published my other novels, I always came back to her, recommending her as a friend to every reader, one at a time, door to door. It's my favorite novel, my girl. I'm not going to write a novel like that anymore.

Find out more


'True story', first person, drama and minority: the most searched book of 2022

  • Written by: LUIS ALEMANY Madrid

'True story', first person, drama and minority: the most searched book of 2022


Alejandro Palomas, winner of the Nadal Award: "We all have to survive our families"

  • Written by: LAURA FERNÁNDEZ Barcelona

Alejandro Palomas, winner of the Nadal Award: "We all have to survive the family"Do you think? It's very clear to me. Something like that is written once. What I had to come into this world to write, I have already done. The rest are variations, trade... other things. I was a very shy and very insecure writer until I published A Mother, my best-known novel that comes after The Time That Unites Us. I was hiding. I never wanted to go out, or do promotions, or anything. It was very difficult for me to expose myself. I always thought I was going to do it wrong. Exactly. I've always been a bad fit in the publishing world. The editors didn't know what to do with me because I was a man who wrote about women. "If you were at least a woman it would be a lot easier," they told me. I think it was you who turned the novel into a theatrical libretto. It's not usual. Was it your idea from the beginning? I never had any luck with audiovisuals. I'm an author who has had to do everything on his own, looking for a living. No one ever came to me to tell me: "Alejandro, this novel could be theater." I decided to do it and for a reason: I always write in pictures. I write with my eyes closed, seriously, I have to be inside, see the scene, hear. That's why my books are very cinematic. So I prepared the libretto adapting my novel and 10 years ago I sent it to Josep Maria Pou. He loved it. And he said, ah, okay, we bought it for Focus. He wanted to direct it, but then he was appointed director of the La Latina theater and everything was put on hold for five years. Until last year when Focus took it up again with none other than Mario Gas and Núria Espert. When I didn't expect anything anymore! Fuck it. In 2022, the story of the abuse he suffered at the De La Salle school caused a real shock in the Spanish literary scene. How do you remember everything that happened today? I was uncomfortable with the way the conversation focused on the details of my personal experience as a raped child rather than focusing on the play itself. I realized that this was something I had experienced before and that I didn't want it to happen again. I asked to be treated with respect and consideration during interviews. Unfortunately, this didn't happen and I found myself in awkward situations where I was asked about my personal experience without taking into account my feelings or emotional well-being. I was loading, carrying, carrying until that lock-up in Bilbao arrived on a television set. The presenter began the interview by confessing that she had only read up to page 20. I behave very well. It felt terrible but it continued. In the middle of the interview he tells me "well, I have a surprise for you". I fear the worst. And then, all of a sudden, a guy appears who turns out to be a victim of abuse from the Basque Country. How frightening. And they wanted to do a face-to-face. At the end of the interview, I said to my press officer: "Enough, I'm leaving, I can't take this anymore." A few days ago he responded in El País to a column by Fernando Savater entitled Hypocrisy in which he called him "perverse" for comparing the sexual abuse of children by the Church with amnesty. And it concluded: "The thousands of abused children have already learned to defend ourselves." When I read that, I couldn't believe it. And I went into a boil. Enough is enough, it's over. I have never been ashamed to tell what happened to me. When I came out to tell it all of a sudden, how brave, how brave. And the first thing I thought and said itIt was, what kind of country do we live in that the act of telling the truth makes you brave? But what kind of society is this? If I have only told the truth, I have not done any act of bravery. Telling the truth doesn't make us brave, it makes us honest. And with regard to the report on sexual abuse presented by the Ombudsman such as the one you suffered, what do you think of the reaction of the Church? Disappointing.

  • literature
  • theatre
  • Religion
  • Sexual Abuse