I have now read twenty Catalan novels in a row, by twenty different writers. I cannot say that these novels were typical of the Catalan novel but nevertheless, I shall try and draw a few conclusions from my reading.
1) Catalans are still somewhat obsessed with the Spanish Civil War and Franco. This is not surprising, not least because other Spanish writers are too. The Spanish Civil War is still being fought in the Catalan and Spanish novel, even though it ended nearly eighty years ago. Presumably all combatants in that war are dead and there are probably relatively few people alive today who were children back then. Nevertheless it has certainly not been forgotten. Given that the American Civil War is still being fought, both in literature and in the real world, over one hundred and fifty years after it ended, we can expect to have more Catalan and Spanish Civil War novels for some time to come
2) Catalan writers like looking back at their past, by which I mean before the Civil War and Franco.
3) Not all Catalan were on the pro-Republic, anti-Franco side. At least three of these novels featured Catalans that supported Franco.
4) Humour does not seen to be a big part of the Catalan novel. Most of these were deadly serious. This review and this article indicate that there is Catalan humour but I barely found it in these novels.
5) Catalans like long novels. Several of these novels were quite long.
If I have to pick a favourite, that would not be difficult. Surprisingly, and this is entirely coincidence, the last two I read were, I thought, the best, i.e. Jaume Cabré‘s Jo confesso (Confessions) and Mercè Rodoreda‘s La mort i la primavera (Death in Spring), both available in English. However, I also enjoyed Lluís-Anton Baulenas‘Alfons XIV : un crim d’estat [Alfonso XIV: A Crime of State], which is not available in English. The Cabré did have some humour in it; the other two definitely did not.
So now back to the rest of the world but I am already planning next year’s marathon.