Dr. Jeroni Alsina–Shadows of Fire: Romance and the Greatest 20th Century Plot
ENGLISH CORNER, CON LINDA JIMÉNEZ – This week’s trivia question: In which two countries were the greatest number of successful kidney transplants performed in the 1960s?
Dr. Jeroni Alsina is an eminent nephrologist from Barcelona. Between 1977 and 2002 he was the Director of the Nephrology department at Bellvitge Hospital in Barcelona, and in 1984 co-founded the Catalan Transplantation Society. He has written numerous articles and two reference books in his field. After a successful career in medicine, he retired at age 65 and turned to writing fiction. His first novel was published earlier this year. Originally in Catalán, it has been translated into Spanish and also into English, as Shadows of Fire: Romance and the Greatest 20th Century Plot.
The book is a work of historical fiction which begins with the flight of Samuel Klein from Germany in the early 1930s, and follows the Klein family from the 1930s through the 1960s. It offers a fascinating view of the ideological madness that overran Europe and led to WWII, as well as insight into the philosophies and medical advances that occurred during the decades following the war.
Delving into the political intricacies of the Spanish Civil War and WWII, and narrating the first organ transplants in Spain and France during the 1960s, the story expertly weaves historical figures such as Freud, Josep Rovira, Jaume Alsina, Jacques Derrida, and Jean Dupuy into the lives of the fictional Klein family.
We attended the presentation of the Spanish translation of the book, and Dr. Alsina spoke with us afterward about his medical career and learning to write fiction at the age of 65.