In Llorenç Villalonga's ambitious Andrea Víctrix, the protagonist awakes in the year 2050, after undergoing a 'cryo-cure' in 1965, to find his native Palma transformed into the technologically advanced Turclub. There, he meets a mysterious and alluring character who seems to embody the soul of this future world: the eponymous Andrea Víctrix.
Many elements of our society are still recognisable in this imagined 2050, and, indeed, from the modern reader's perspective, (the book was first published in 1974), this version of the future is both ridiculous and unsettlingly prescient. Of course, the idea of an overabundance of transistor radios and domestic appliances powered by atomic energy is somewhat ludicrous. But a world in which the interests of corporations reign supreme, citizens are suffocating from polluted air, and the rulers will do anything to maintain the illusion that everything is perfect? Not so far fetched at all.
Andrea Víctrix is certainly a unique reading experience, veering from grotesque and macabre to ludicrously funny in the space of a single paragraph. The pathos engendered by the failing society and the unfortunate Andrea, sacrificed at the altar of progress, is offset by the absurd mental image of doctors kissing their patients on the forehead and head waiters sombrely performing ballet poses.
Ultimately, it is a rich, multi-layered work—one that would benefit from being studied in depth. It seems unlikely that a single reading can hope to unearth all its treasures.
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