The writer Ken follett, who publishes ‘The darkness and the dawn’ (Plaza & Janés), prequel to ‘The Pillars of the Earth’, has stated that the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is “the most surprising and amazing building” you’ve ever seen.
“The most amazing cathedral in all of Spain is in Barcelona and it is the Sagrada Familia. It is the most surprising building I have seen in my life, it has the skeleton of a normal cathedral, but then it is something surprising. Gaudí did not like the lines straight lines, unlike other architects: you leave your buildings wondering why curves are not used“, the writer joked during the press conference to present his new book.
Despite the fact that numerous journalists from various countries were present at this virtual press conference, part of the event focused on the relationship between Follett and Spain. Thus, when asked about his favorite Spanish cathedral, the British writer has chosen two – one of them, the aforementioned Sagrada Familia.
“I also like the one in Vitoria very much. The Spanish have been so charming that I have a statue there as if it were a saint. My friends are laughing, but it’s something wonderful, really, and I don’t think anyone has done that”, has pointed out.
Follett also recalled the moment in which he presented ‘Los pilares de la tierra’ to a Spanish publisher in 1989 and rejected it. “They told me it was too long. We sold it to another Spanish publisher and the funny thing is that became the most popular book ever published in Spain, something that causes me deep satisfaction. That editorial was a huge mistake, “he said.
Continuing with the cathedrals, although already outside Spain, the author considers a successful reconstruction of Notre Dame “as it was” before the fire. “That was the best option, it is what the majority want, to return to what it was because it is what we like. I am a traditionalist at that,” he joked.
Follet has explained that his new book, set at a time in the Middle Ages when “the light was beginning to appear”, with the Normans’ desire to enter England around the 11th century, coincides with many of his other stories in “relate a movement of society towards freedom”.
In this sense, he does believe that there are parallels with current times, since He always sees in History “two steps forward and one step back”. “I hope that what we are seeing now of populism and the increase in racism in various parts of the world and the attacks on democracy are not more than that little step backwards and then take two forward,” he admitted.
Asked if the pandemic of coronavirus could change the course of things, the writer has admitted that the current one is “a Difficult moment“.” I hope my grandchildren can say that the second part of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century were moments of progress interrupted by some difficulty, “he added.
Brexit and Black Lives Matter
As for more similarities between his new novel and the current moment, he has warned about how “the supremacy of the law is being questioned“.” Things that we took for granted for many decades, as no one can be above the law … because now we see that all the governments of the world are questioning the rule of law, “he indicated.
There is also room for slavery in the story of ‘Las tinieblas y el alba’, although Follet admits that he addressed this issue because it was a relevant aspect of Anglo-Saxon society at that time. “I didn’t focus on it because of the Black Lives Matter, I started writing it long before. Being faithful to history is important and there will always be dramas around slavery, “he lamented.
Finally, he has also reiterated his anti-Brexit stance. “I am concerned about this trend towards nationalism. I already did a tour of Europe with other writers to tell European readers that we still love them and now I have the feeling that my readers know that it is not part of that terrifying Brexit movement to separate from Europe “, he concluded.