Torrent, Ferran 1951-
TORRENT, Ferran 1951-
PERSONAL: Born May 30, 1951, in Sedaví, Valencia, Spain. Education: Earned law degree.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Columna Edicions, Provenca 333, Barcelona 8037, Spain.
CAREER: Novelist, journalist, and author of screenplays. Formerly worked as a lawyer and a commercial representative. Frequently appears on radio and television.
AWARDS, HONORS: Premio Sant Jordi, 1994, for Gràcies per la pronina.
(With Josep Lluís Seguí; as Pere Lavaca) La gola del llop (novel), Federació d'Entitats Culturals del País Valencià (Valencia, Spain), 1983.
No emprenyeu el comissari (novel; title means "Don't Annoy the Commissioner"), Eliseu Climent/3i4 (Valencia, Spain), 1984.
Penja els guants, Butxana! (novel; title means "Hang up Your Gloves, Butxana!"), Quaderns Crema (Barcelona, Spain), 1985.
Un negre amb un saxo (novel; title means "Black Guy with a Saxophone"), Quaderns Crema (Barcelona, Spain), 1987.
Cavall i rei (novel; title means "Knight and King"), Quaderns Crema (Barcelona, Spain), 1989.
L'any de l'embotit (novel; title means "The Year of the Salted Meat"), Quaderns Crema (Barcelona, Spain), 1992.
Gràcies per la propina (semiautobiographical novel; title means, "Thanks for the Tip"), Columna (Barcelona, Spain), 1994.
Tocant València (travel; title means "Playing Valencia"), Aigua de Mar (Altea, Spain), 1995.
La mirada del tafur (novel; title means "The Look of the Card Shark"), Columna (Barcelona, Spain), 1997.
L'illa de l'holandès (novel; title means "The Dutchman's Island"), Columna (Barcelona, Spain), 1999.
Living l'Havana (travel), Columna (Barcelona, Spain), 1999.
Cambres d'acer inoxidable (novel; title means "Chambers of Stainless Steel"), Columna (Barcelona, Spain), 2000.
Societat limitada (novel), Columna/Bromera (Barcelona and Alzira, Spain), 2002.
Contributor to books, including Semental, estimat Butxana, Columna (Barcelona, Spain), 1997.
Author's works have been translated into Spanish and French.
ADAPTATIONS: Un negre amb un saxo was adapted as a film directed by Francesc Bellmunt; Gràcies per la propina was adapted as a film.
SIDELIGHTS: Ferran Torrent has won critical and popular acclaim for his series of detective novels set in his native Valencia. Infusing the novels with turbulent local politics and the native Valencian language—a dialect of Catalan—Torrent has effectively transplanted the quintessentially American gumshoe genre into eastern Spain. In addition to his work as a novelist, Torrent also works as a scriptwriter and journalist, and is a well-known radio personality.
Torrent was born in Sedaví, in the historic county of l'Horta near the city of Valencia. During winter evenings before the fireplace and summer nights on the porch, the young Torrent would attempt to entertain his family with stories. While attending a Jesuit high school, he discovered the work of Agatha Christie and Edgar Allan Poe, and decided to dedicate himself to writing. Cinema became his second love, and its influences can be discerned in his fiction.
After beginning professional life as a lawyer and businessman, Torrent collaborated in 1983 with Josep Lluís Seguí on the novel La gola del llop, using the pseudonym Pere Lavaca. The following year he struck out on his own, releasing the detective novel No emprenyeu el comissari under his own name. The novel was a commercial success due in part to the popularity of its lead characters, journalist Hèctor Barrera and Detective Butxana. Torrent continued with the characters in his next two novels, Penja els guants, Butxana! (1985) and Un negre amb un saxo (1987), the latter which was adapted as a film directed by Francesc Bellmunt. Although the author has noted that transplanting the American detective noir to Valencia is difficult due the genre's complicated conventions, his approach has been to integrate Valencia's colorful and troubled social and political scene into the plots.
Torrent continues to write new novels for the series every few years, more recent installments including 2000's Cambres d'acer inoxidable. Land development and the tortured politics behind it are explored in Torrent's 2002 novel, Societat limitada. As the city explodes with money and ambitious government building projects, a rice farmer from Albufera threatens to upset the game by refusing to play along. In a review in Avui, Joan Josep Isern called the novel Torrent's best to date, combining "to perfection dialogue, interior monologues, rapid changes in the point of view and a special humorous accent in the moments when the narrators voice is heard."
A non-series novel, Torrent's semi-autobiographical Gràcies per la propina won the Premio Sant Jordi in 1994 before it was made into a movie. Some critics have maintained that Gràcies per la propina marks a turning point in the author's literary style due to its increasing sophistication. He has also worked extensively as an essayist and travel writer, and has written two plays and various screenplays for radio and film.
The fact that Torrent writes exclusively in Valencian Catalan necessarily places him in the forefront of the so-called "normalization" process. The movement seeks to reassert Valencia's native tongue in commerce, government, and art after centuries of official neglect. The author has been publically cited for his contribution to this effort.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Avui (Barcelona, Spain), February 21, 2002, Joan Josep Isern, review of Societat limitada.
Association of Writers in the Catalan Language Web site,http://www.escriptors.com/ (June, 2002), "Ferran Torrent."*