"I expect you’ll be becoming a schoolmaster, sir. That’s what most of the gentlemen does, sir, that gets sent down for indecent behaviour.” Evelyn Waugh, Decline and Fall
Author Archive
Enchanted by the mystery of books

Enchanted by the mystery of books

Ana Pérez Galván, the tranquil force behind Hispabooks, has an unwavering dream: to publish new writing from every corner of Spain in English translation, and to change readers’ perceptions of Spanish literature as eternally oscillating between the two monumental poles of Cervantes and Lorca; to revise our view of Spain as being only the realistic...
Delusions of a terrorised conscience

Delusions of a terrorised conscience

“I desire to be humbled before God. It was a great delusion of Satan that deceived me in that sad time. I did not do it out of anger, malice, or ill-will,” stated Ann Putnam in 1706. When only twelve or so, she had been one of the principle witnesses and accusers in the notorious...
A loftier reality

A loftier reality

Broken loves, heart-stopping encounters, death and maimed lives, grand visions, disillusionment and a country precariously balanced between terror and resolute optimism; between organic belonging and absolute, unalloyed autonomy. Martutene begins ambitiously as a metanarrative about storytelling, a novel about real or fictional persistent storytellers who are likened to kidnappers of others’ attention. Or about reluctant...
Dreamland

Dreamland

No Picnic on Mount Kenya is neither a war memoir nor the travel log of an exotic mountaineering expedition; neither history pure and unimpeachable, nor a novel where the imagination is given free reign; it is neither biography nor documentary. It is, and explosively, all of the above – a grippingly beguiling tale as well...
Read the world

Read the world

“There is only one way to read, which is to browse in libraries and bookshops,” wrote Doris Lessing in the introduction to The Golden Notebook (1962). That post-modernist novel famously pieces a life back together through multiple, juxtaposed experiences in and outside time and consciousness, through and because of writing, as it seeks to create...
Apocalypse never

Apocalypse never

In his Brief Theory of Travel and the Desert, skilfully translated with grit and brio by Jacqueline Minett, Cristian Crusat orchestrates a syncopated arrangement of six stories suspended in time and space, relating the experience of being and non-being through stunted snapshots from the lives of disparate, seemingly ordinary and inconsequential characters. Their insignificance, we...
Searching for angels

Searching for angels

Landing by Laia Fàbregas is a rare find – a narrative of worlds lost and found, of words that are vital and impossible to translate, of human communion, and communication that must be retrieved in its utmost simplicity from the plexus of relentless alienation and multi-layered facelessness that characterises the aftermath of our post-modernity. Above...
Unfinished business

Unfinished business

There is a singular sense of feverish neutrality in Thanassis Valtinos’ writing. A cinematic poise, a travelling eye, a dramatist’s instinctive flair for tension, voice, climax, the lull that contains more menace than any thundering explosion; a perpetual game of darkness and light, an omniscient narrator who never divulges all he knows. Valtinos was born...
Thirteen ways of looking at Guernica

Thirteen ways of looking at Guernica

In the 1930s, the Spanish Reds are promising paraisos to their new recruits. A world freed from class distinctions, slave labour, poverty and squalor, and especially a world liberated from religion – that celebrated ‘opium of the people’. At the same time, those sceptical of Soviet ideology, or vehemently opposed to it, seek to deflect...
A genealogy of shadows

A genealogy of shadows

In September 1941, Walter Andreas Hofer, special art agent for Hermann Goering, was breathlessly scouring France for any and all works that might make suitable additions to his employer’s ambitious, almost gargantuan art collection. Far too often for his liking, he found himself in a mightily frustrating predicament: sequestering individual pieces or whole collections from...