A lifetime


‘A Lifetime’ tells a love story which pits romanticism against the contradictions and chasms of our times. Ada Castells offers us a personal vision of the life of Romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich and proposes a fluid and accurate counterpoint between melancholy and scepticism.

Sylvia, a young and unsuccessful writer, is obsessed with Friedrich. While she is fictionalising the passionate life of the artist, she falls in love with Vincent, a contemporary painter with whom she starts a tempestuous relationship. The intensity of their passion will blur the limits between fiction and reality.


The birds praise the Lord by extending their wings in the sky. The fish would multiply if He asked them again. And what does His most beloved creature do? What does Man do?

Caspar David protects himself against the preacher’s questions, hiding behind his sketchbook. The faithful remain in silence avoiding the Reverend’s precise gaze. He delights in the pause. He lets the sea speak. After the whistling sound of a gusting wind his voice resounds. He looks at the back of the room and yells: Master Friedrich, what do you do to praise the Lord? Caspar David reddens. How can the preacher know his name?

He squints, half closing his eyes, and realises that he is in front of the great poet Kosegarten, a friend of his drawing master. One day, he saw them together at the academy and noticed the way the Reverend gesticulated. If electric fans had been invented then, the little apprentice would have used them to evoke this image. Instead, he thinks of a flour mill, which is also appropriate.

The believers turn their heads to look at the student they’ve seen painting boats many times. All eyes are waiting for an answer. The youth takes courage and murmurs in a trembling voice: I paint.


“Ada Castells pits the spirit of Romanticism against the contradictions and depths of our times”
Rosa Maria Pinol, La Vanguardia

“Novels like this one help us come to terms with literature made with honesty” Eduard Marquez, writer.

” Ada Castells makes hers a maxim from Friedrich ” A painting should always produce a mental impression” and translates it to her craft.” Matias Nespolo, El Mundo

“A lifetime allows Ada Castells to explore the world of romantic relatioships, religious faith, mother-child relationships, jealousy, friendship… and she succeeds. Paco Gracia, La Gazzeta Express.

“Ada Castells studied Theology and can describe plausibly the religious thought of the artist in relation with his art. (…) Irony and anachronisms are used effectively to highlight the differences between the protagonist and David Caspar Friedrich.” The Bookseller, Blogger .

“Throughout her novels, Ada Castells has been polishing a specially ironic voice and strengthening a clear and precise style that is miles away from artifice and imposture.” Alba Alsina, Diari Avui.

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