Institut Ramon LLull

The Country on the Other Bank

Proa, 2021
304 pages

El país de l'altra riba

The Country on the Other Bank

Maite Salord

"Minorcan emigration to Algeria—the first wave sending one in four islanders—is the inspiration for this historical novel"

In February of 1943, a Nazi plane had just bombed Algeria—home to six thousand Balearic islanders—and was headed to Majorca when it ran out of gas and landed off the south-eastern coast of Minorca. Meanwhile, Daniel Gold and his grandfather manage to flee Brussels with their lives intact, but not to escape war. In Algiers, Daniel ends up working at the restaurant of French colonist Michel Bisset, where he meets Omar, a veteran of the French troops, and Isabel, the daughter of Minorcan migrants.

In a parallel narrative thread, Marta and Hanna meet at a demonstration against the war in Iraq and begin a love story encumbered by family secrets. The two threads wind together for a final reveal, highlighting how identity and historical memory illuminate our present. In compelling, well-documented prose that reflects her island’s dialect, Salord skilfully weaves together issues of diaspora and colonization with Minorcan ecological struggles in the face of growing tourism.


Pilar Lafuente

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