Interview with Oliver Hanson
Author of El Puto Guiri
Buy this book
Ok, so firstly tell us Anglos what the title “EL PUTO GUIRI” means? What is that? A fruit?
- It’s a tongue in cheek reference to a disliked foreigner in Spain, also playing on the fact my own identity as an Anglo-Spaniard is a bit messed up – something I delve into a lot throughout the book.
So it’s in Spanish? Catalan?
- Sadly neither. I’m open to translation offers though!
Is it fiction? A travel guide? A self-help manual?
- None of the above. It’s a series of themed observations about Barcelona over the last 3 years. The highs, the lows, the overwhelming strangeness of life when everything and anything you ever knew just got torn up.
Can you tell us a little about the locations in your book?
- The entire book is based around life in Barcelona although there are forays into the Pyrenees.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
- Be interesting, be informed, be funny
I read your last one & it was all about Carles Puigdemont or drug dealers! Why would I buy this?
- This is very different! In the past I tried too hard to combine the serious/frivolous. So I binned the dialogue & semi-fictional characters. This is more focused, with more universal reach
Isn’t Barcelona just Gaudi and prima donna footballers and stag parties from Birkenhead though?
- No! This book offers an alternative view of the city written as an outsider on the inside. It is firmly pitched at anyone emotionally invested in the city or struggling with city life in their 40s.
What are the major themes of the book?
- life, despair, sarcasm, grief, music, politics, language, nostalgia, anti-nostalgia, food trucks, discos and getting fat. Mostly though it’s a comment on the wretchedness of being adrift at 45. My girlfriend throws in a few of her thoughts too!
How have readers responded to EL PUTO GUIRI?
- There has been a lot of interest! I think people respond favourably to original and unique characterisations of cities which transcend bland puff pieces or tourist gloss.
And finally, will it make people think, laugh or cry?
- Hopefully all three! I try to go deep without getting too heavy. Anyone who cares about Barcelona will have found a kindred spirit.
El Puto Guiri offers an alternative glimpse into a Barcelona riven by political conflict and pandemic. The writer explores everything from dilapidated discos to erotic sculpture parks whilst delving into the more lighthearted side of human despair.