Book Review: People From Ibiza by Jose Corbacho & Juan Cruz

I was roaming around my favorite bookstore in Ibiza, the Hiperbole, when a bright pink book with giant yellow letters caught my eye. “People from Ibiza,” I read. I saw the back cover that reads, “summer is the only time of the year that we allow ourselves to be who we truly aren’t. We change. All of us,” and I knew it would be a fun read.Wanting a summer page-turner without giving it much thought, I threw it (respectfully and delicately) in with the others.

"We change. All of Us."
“We change. All of Us.”

The recently published novel People from Ibiza (the title plays off of this song by Sandy Marton. Watch the video and you’ll notice his favorite dance move resembles something like a sperm searching for an egg) by film directors Jose Corbacho & Juan Cruz turned out to be educational, as well as entertaining.

Set in, you guessed it, Ibiza, the novel tells different stories of the most stereotypical tourists that come to Ibiza. It becomes slightly Love Actually-y or Valentines Day-y when some of the stories slightly intertwine, but for the most part they follow their own paths.

As a person who has lived in Ibiza but that is also an outsider and an observer, I found the various profiles of the tourists on point. There was the Liverpool lads, the Italian, the gay German couple, a French chef, and Spanish family. Combining their fictitious stories with landscape descriptions and satirical descriptions of events and places around the island, it’s a novel that’s especially fun to read when you can recognize what they’re referring to.


“Ibiza siempre ofreciendo un abanico de posibilidades”

Reading requires deep thought and correct vision.
Reading requires deep thought and correct vision.

The above quote from the novel, “Ibiza always offers a wide range of possibilities” holds most certainly true when you’re living or visiting. The authors explain the plethora of subcultures that exist around the island, and one that I found frighteningly accurate was that of the West End:

Que mejor lugar en Ibiza para unos ingleses que los alrededores de la bahia de Sant Antoni de Portmany, y su emblematico barrio del West End. Han pasado muchos anos desde que llegaron a esta bella ensenada los primeros turistas extranjeras que visitaban la isla, sin duda atraidos por las mejores playas ibicencas que se encuentran precisamente en esta zona. Pero ahora en el centro de Sant Antoni hay mas happy hours, beer’s corner, fast food y drink and party que otra cosa.

(What a better place in Ibiza for some English guys than the surroundings of the San Antonio bay and its emblematic neighborhood West End. A lot of years have passed since the first foreign tourists arrived to this beautiful cove, that without doubt were attracted by the best Ibiza  beaches that are in this very area. But now in the center of San Antonio there are more happy hours, beer’s corner, fast food and drink and party than any other thing.)

I happened to read that paragraph just as the tourists were beginning to come in huge numbers. I had worked all winter in San Antonio, and during my breaks I ran along the sidewalk that follows the bay. I new something was up when I started getting unwanted catcalls and weird comments in English.

Then as weeks passed, running became impossible, and I was forced to look at new and different wardrobe choices (yes, chokers are in here. Remember these?)


Ibiza is Whatever You Want it to Be

If the novel does anything else, it reaffirms that this island is for everyone, from everyone, from all social classes, backgrounds, and tastes. You can find it all. And then make fun of it.

One of my favorite parts of the novel was the precise description of the island and its many facets. The authors write:

..Pero hay cosas que no las explican en la Wikipedia, como, por ejemplo, que hay tantas Ibizas como personas han pasado por la isla.
Para unos, Ibiza es la noche; para otros, el dia. Para unos, la playa; para otros, el campo. El amanecer o la puesta de sol. El frenesi o la calma. La carne o el pescado. El rock o el dance. El azucar o la sal. El blanco o el negro. El yate o la priagua. Verace o la moda Adlib. El caviar o las patatas. Los clubbers y los hippies. El champan o las hierbas ibicencas. La marihuana o la cocaina. La Cala Benirras o Ses Salines. La discoteca Pacha o Amnesia…
O todo a la vez. Si, mejor todo a la vez.

(Pero there are things that Wikipedia can’t explain, like, for example, that there are so many Ibizas as there are people who pass through it.
For some, Ibiza is the night; for others, the day. For some, the beach, for others, the countryside. Sunrise or sunset. Chaos or calm. Meat or fish. Rock or dance. Sugar or salt. White or black. Yacht or canoe. Versace or Adlib. Caviar or potatoes. Clubbers or hippies. Champagne or yerbas ibicencas. Marijuana or cocaine. Benirras or Salinas. Pacha or Amnesia…
Or all at the same time. Yeah, it’s better to have all at the same time.)

Overall, the novel is no literary masterpiece nor will it change the state of the union, but it was fun to read, and already brought me a sense of nostalgia while I was still living on the island. My recommendation? Read it and enjoy it.

Nota aparte: Not to mention, the book is excellent for those who have a grip on Spanish but want to improve their vocabulary. I learned un mogollón of new phrases. How about entrar al trapo (fall for something, get caught up in, get involved in) or meter baza (to butt in)? How could I continue to live my life without those?

Corbacho and Cruz end their detailed description of Ibiza in the novel with a question, that I will rewrite here… ponder this!

Lo que parece seguro es que, hoy en dia, el mundo se divide en dos: aquellos que han estado alguna vez en Ibiza y los que se mueren de ganas por ir alli.
En que lado estas tu?

(What seems certain is that today, the world is divided in two: thsoe who have been to Ibiza, and those that are dying to go.
Which side are you on?

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You better love it enough to stick it on your car
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