"In my experience of writing – and of life – the frenzy of dreams and that of form always go together." Iosi Havilio
Posts tagged "Spain"
A fresh start

A fresh start

She had decided to make a fresh start. She had to make a fresh start. And as soon as she arrived at the small apartment-hotel, chosen at random and booked in Barcelona through a travel agent, she thought it was the ideal place to allow her to stop wondering “How do I go about it?”,...
Splinters and reflections

Splinters and reflections

A Broken Mirror is the book on which Mercè Rodoreda worked the longest, which is not surprising given the novel’s ambitious scope. The plot spans three generations; it presents in detail scores of characters of different ages and social classes; it reflects momentous historical events – most notably the Spanish war of 1936–39. More important,...
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...
Cristina Sánchez-Andrade: Flickers

Cristina Sánchez-Andrade: Flickers

The Winterlings is the first of Spanish author Cristina Sánchez-Andrade’s novels to be published in the UK, and it makes for an intoxicating introduction to her work. It’s a tale of two sisters hiding a dark secret, and magic and enchantment in all forms, from village superstitions to the glamour of the movies. Set chiefly...
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...
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...
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...