Friday, December 3

Noah Gordon: story of a friendship

Noah Gordon has passed away and in Roca Editorial we are all very sad. On this day, I want to remember my experiences with him. Our relationship was one of author-editor, but above all we were friends.

Ediciones B had been created a few months ago when Silvia Querini acquired the rights to The doctor through the Montse Yáñez agency. The novel was published in the spring of 1988. I remember reading it with my newborn daughter on one arm and the book on the other. The Ediciones B commercial team, led by Pere Sureda, immediately saw that we had a great book and began to visit booksellers and make important placements. The first bookstore where it began to be sold was Maite Libros, in Barcelona. The bookseller and her team recommended The doctor to everyone who entered; They sold many copies and years later, in gratitude, we made a plaque.

Noah came to Barcelona when the book was starting to work; he loved the city. After this trip, he visited Spain many times: Bilbao, where he was awarded the booksellers’ prize; Zaragoza, where he was awarded the Historical Novel Prize; Madrid, for the Book Fair, Barcelona for Sant Jordi …

He attended many parties and book fairs. There were always huge queues to sign. The last few times he had problems with his right hand, but still he wanted to continue making his readers happy.

During a Sant Jordi day I witnessed how his son Michael Gordon met his wife today; It was a crush, and since then Michael and his family have lived near Barcelona.

At the publishing house we recover your backlist and then we published the other books of the Cole trilogy, Shaman and Dr. Cole.

Then came The last jew. While I was writing it, he came to be documented in Toledo, where I obtained, through the then president of the Junta de Castilla-La Mancha, José Bono, and with Emiliano García-Page, access to historical buildings and documents. Documentation was an important part of his novels and he spent a lot of time on it; he loved to search for all the necessary historical information.

In 2000 my family and I visited him in Boston and enjoyed a dinner with his wife, Lorraine, in which he told us about the city and his youth there; He told us that his family wanted him to be a doctor, but he was a journalist specializing in Medicine, to later write novels.

In 2002 Carlos Ramos and I were fired from Ediciones B. Noah called me and said that when all rights expired in 2006, we would talk again, and we did. Meanwhile I was writing The wineryTherefore, he came to Catalonia with his son Michael to visit wineries and to learn about the techniques that existed in the 19th century to make wine.

In 2006 we negotiated with your agent the rights to all your published books, as well as the novelty, The winery. The advance was, of course, very high, but we were convinced to publish Noah, so we asked for a credit endorsed personally by my husband José Sanclemente and myself. We were at high risk, but it was clear to me that I didn’t want Noah to go to another publisher, and he wanted to publish with us.

I remember the presentation of The winery in Vilafranca del Penedès, where they had set up a stage with music. Carme Chaparro presented the act and Noah Gordon looked excited. After dinner, a hundred guests wanted to meet him.

Noah was a great lover of wine and good food; He loved Iberian ham, but he drank and ate in moderation. I remember the long and interesting conversations we had at lunch and dinner.

A few years ago, walking through Barcelona near the port, he told me that if I were young, I would come to live in this city.

The last time I saw him was on October 18, 2018, when he traveled to Madrid for the premiere of the musical by The doctor. He didn’t want to miss it; enjoyed like a child. I will never forget the look he had when he saw the illuminated sign of The doctor, the musical; it conveyed hope and pride. He had a lot of fun. In the end they asked him to come up on stage to greet the artists. The audience stood up and clapped for several minutes; it was very exciting, and Noah was very happy.

Thank you for everything you have given me. I toast to you, one more time.

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