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L'HERBA DE LES NITS de PATRICK MODIANO

L'HERBA DE LES NITS de PATRICK MODIANO

    To read Modiano a particular state of mind is required. If Billy Joel sang back in the 70s that "I'm in a New York state of mind", Modiano's work could take up the phrase and said to be in a perpetual "Paris state of mind". Because the star of his novels is always Paris and to understand Modiano is essential press autopilot that brings us to this particular mental state.

    L’Herba de les Nits is the paradigm of Modiano’s literature. The characters that populate the novel are not even characters, figures contours are blurred, even with his own names to identify them and, at the same time, they are just names, disfigure lack of presence and entity. Everyone has a past but in these cases there is no way of knowing what it is. All in Modiano has the consistency of a passport. Unavoidable for transit through its pages, is the key to distinguish between the individual subjects from each other and yet, no longer a mere documentary value paper. Indeed, one could say that our knowledge of the characters and their actions goes where the instruction manual of incomprehensible equipment does: have handy and technical data do ignore them. In no stranger to this feeling of emptiness is the magnificent building that rises Modiano, making it as the story of a lost notes and disconnected in a notebook, which only serve to certify names of places and people and phrases caught on the fly, and it is intended to recover a dark episode of itself past. What they did and how they got where these characters have come escapes us and we can only speculate based on risky indications of unsubstantiated assumptions and unfounded suspicions. Forgive the oxymoron to say that the nebula surrounding the origins of all is the solid matter that the story is built. And in this scenario the narrator is the main victim. Their companies, whether through neglect, negligence, incapacity or forgetfulness imposed by the passage of time, knows nothing. Relates to them with that discomfort who closes his eyes and puts his hand not knowing what the texture will touch. Even his relationship with Dannie, the protagonist, is sensed close and intimate, is mapped according to the coordinates of caution and reserve. And speaking of maps, let’s talk of Paris. Modiano's Paris appropriates the novel with the pride of a dictator. Every event, every conversation, every movement, every memory, in short, everything that inhabits the novel has a needle stuck on the map of Paris. The surgical precision with which the narrator places the events in space contrasts with the uncertainty that places them in time. The temporal parameters are held with tweezers, while the spatial variables are nailed as stakes. Like those dreams that it is impossible to pinpoint the moment that have been happening the dreamed facts and, instead, for the place where they have been producing image is crisp, Modiano's novel relies on the realization of space and ignores the abstraction of time. The streets, squares, hotels and bars in Paris have, of course, a physical entity and this is what remains in memory. Time is an intellectual invention and, as such, beyond the memories and difficult to grasp. Now, anyone wait for a postcard Paris, the Champs Elysees and Montmartre and the tourists; space that arises is that of the suburbs, the marginal sleaze, an alternative circuit.

Modiano's narrative, and L’Herba de les Nits is a test, can become uncomfortable and even to exasperate the more traditional reader, who needs an introduction, middle and end, a recognizable geography where transit. Modiano gives detailed map, but rather that the reader ignore the conditions of travel. Welcome to Paris state of mind!

 

   Esteve [July 27, 2014]

EL JILGUERO de DONNA TARTT

EL JILGUERO de DONNA TARTT

    Alfred Hitchcock said, when asked by François Truffaut in the excellent book The Cinema According to Hitchcock about what the MacGuffin, "is a rodeo, a trick, a complicity ...". Below he is relieved explaining the origins of MacGuffin and how makes use of it in his films. According to Hitchcock, it would be represented by some papers, some documents, some secrets, not really know what kind, and therefore this would be the name given to this kind of actions: steal… some papers, stealing ... few documents, steal ... a secret, things that should be very important to the characters, but very little for the author. Truffaut notes that the MacGuffin does not have to be serious, that the survival of the main character becomes so worrisome that ends up making completely forget the MacGuffin

      Donna Tartt's El Jilguero feeds lawfully the MacGuffin of Alfred Hitchcock. Instead of papers, documents or secrets, the MacGuffin here is a picture,  Carel Fabritius's "The Goldfinch”, Dutch painter who died in Delft in 1654. Unexpected Delft gunpowder explosion killed Fabritius at age 32 and an explosion sudden because of a terrorist attack puts in the hands of the young protagonist  the  Fabritius’s painting. Once a teen comes into possession of a masterpiece painting by unconventional channels (go, theft, no less), we have the MacGuffin. And indeed, the reader can not help wondering what happens at all times with the picture, what is hidden from the authorities, what purpose is given, discard it as preserving impunity and what consequences it all. And most importantly, all of these concerns that overwhelm the protagonist and who move the reader don't care Donna Tartt. Tartt has implemented the mechanism on the front pages and evading for most of the more than 1,100 pages of the novel. Its aim is not so much to keep track of the painting, his artistic vicissitudes, but keeping track of young Theo, learning and development, its vicissitudes on life. Theo attended the growth over several years in what would be a novel training: overcoming family tragedies, the cultivation of dangerous liaisons, the disillusionment of impossible love and dissatisfaction of the possible, ultimately, learning the business of living. No wonder that criticism compare El Jilguero with  some Dickens novels, that the mold used by Donna Tartt is Dickensian root. Now knead Tartt proposes a cultured and filled novel of literary, artistic, musical and cinematic references, strategically placed so that the discerning reader will start with some applause and docile reader drowning in the waters of pedantry. It's hard to please everyone. El Jilguero aspires to do and Donna Tartt builds up his sleeve a stack of wild and you know that in a normal deck can only use two. This means that, at some point, it seems a tricky novel, in which characters appear and disappear by the grace of God (or needs Tartt), or giving the impression that the author will have asleep after stepping foot on the accelerator with a huge force. None of this can erode a titanic effort, a project case, outstandingly efficient and convincing results that makes El Jilguero a recommendable book to an audience of diverse cultures and a narrative reference of the XXI century. Ah! And as for the Fabritius painting ... who cares? The MacGuffin, Truffaut says, works better as more ridiculous it is.

 

 

      Esteve [July 8, 2014]

LA VIDA AL DAVANT de ROMAIN GARY

LA VIDA AL DAVANT de ROMAIN GARY

   

    Humor in literature is something strange. There are many novels that boast of possessing a humorous and few deserve that title. If the gateway of humor is the author's will, more or less disguised a willingness to dispense laughable situations or likely to provoke a smile, the exit door is the complicity of the reader, that invisible connection that connects to the same way the sender and the receiver. A wink does not mean anything if the receiver does not understand its meaning. This is one reason why each country has a distinct humor of others. Thus, we speak English humor, Japanese humor, Jewish humor or Italian humor. As Umberto Eco says, "the tragedy and drama are universal; comedy, no." But differences are also presented from the perspective of the age: the humor is expressed by a crafty old, while the humor that comes from the mouth of a child is naive. And ingenuity is synonymous with sincerity. And sincerity no translators are needed: everyone understands.

      From this is precisely La Vida al Davant, naivete and sincerity ultimately of humor. Few literary characters say many truths in the small square line as Momo, a young Moroccan abandoned by his mother, a whore of the street, in a shelter run by an old Jewish prostitute. There grow and witness of the obsessions of Madame Rosa, her caretaker, fed by a tortuous and traumatic past, and assist in the front row to the process of physical and mental decrepitude that accompanies the disease and announces death. If the envelope of the novel, the events that determine, are most tragic, tormented memories about the Holocaust and Auschwitz step and a present marked by the imminence of death, the voice of Momo, the narrator of the story is imposed above the drama and spread around the story of an honest and carefree by dazzling innocence. If everything is so dark and depressing, Nazi raids, the stark prostitution, sleaze foster care, physical and mental decline of Madame Rosa, which is what we may seem humorous? Just the bare, devastating truth that emerges from each and every word of Momo. Romain Gary can play with two opposing factors: first, hypocrisy and political correctness that dominates the language of adults, we believe euphemisms validate the reality and avoid compassion; Moreover, the healthy exercise of call things by their name, capacity that is available only to fools and children. Momo speaks from innocence and rawness it seems, and that is why we realize instantly that truth is always crude and hence our condescending smile, and when we understand that our prejudices are not a child and released from all bonds the pretense is when it bursts releasing laughter. No Momo laugh, do not laugh at all of Madame Rosa, not laugh at the simplicity and, of course, the pathos. We laugh at ourselves, so many diversions, so much circumlocution and bypass that by leaps and bounds we have been moving away from the original meaning of language: to express reality as it is.

      Romain Gary’s La Vida al Davant  is a cathartic exercise. Listen to the voice of Momo and help us not only a very healthy self-critical examination, but will open the door to an essential process of disdramatization. A masterpiece.

    Esteve [June 25, 2014]

 

 

 

YO VI A NICK DRAKE de EDUARDO JORDÁ

YO VI A NICK DRAKE de EDUARDO JORDÁ

    Trying to give a diagnosis unit of a book of stories is as complicated as agree on a verdict only in the brain of a jury. Not surprisingly, then, the criticism of such books tend to surrender to the evidence that some stories stand out above others, that a story detract from the overall excellence or another involves some others. Nothing tempting to judge the individuality and tiptoed to the global. Whether the source of the original source of drinking stories, so as if a big bang that had separated was born and compact together, or accessing a common goal from asynchronous pregnancies, grafting on ares a top destination. In any case, should prevail maximum indisputable that what the author has united, not separated critics. In this respect, the book should be subjected to the same treatment as stories get a symphony. No one dares say a andante allegro staggers against the simple fact that all movements reflect a general structure. It is in this sense that Adorno called for a hearing on an audition structural atomistic, an analysis that perceives the links that lead to a full sense of rapture over the beauty of a moment punctual.
    Eduardo Jordá's Yo Vi a Nick Drake requires this treatment because this style avoids the brightness in favor of solidity. His claim not seems to be designed to dazzle the reader with memorable phrases that stunned prioritizing the fleeting moment, but it seems to be entrusted to a higher mission is to establish such contact points that hold the stories and communicate harmonic identity beyond the melodic fallacy. Best arc resistant support the overall weight than a flashy windows that divert attention. In this sense you could say that writing Eduardo Jordá is Romanesque, it exudes a medieval simplicity, which serves more to the structure than the details. And there are a number of issues that bear the weight of every one of the stories. A certain death instinct, which manifests itself in different ways, either in a landfill or an agonizing waiting irrevocable, estrangement scenario, helplessness and insecurity yearn for a spiritual anchor in human form, the primacy of feelings latent outwardly expressed above, the inability of the word as a medium, the unexpected visitor who rescues a point of fullness before the final fall or prudent conservation calming driving ambition. These major concepts bury it at all brief epiphanic moments, implied the presence of symbolic elements (stairs, ocean waves ...) or music, but one thing is clear is immanent philosophy: the full realization is desideratum advertised as promised and just as imposing failure and disappointment.
    The stories of Eduardo Jordá make Yo Vi a Nick Drake thumbnail overflow, intermittent transience and gain consistency and uniform mass density, and this is precisely what makes them memorable. However, the nature of the prevailing critical and just can not resist the magnetism of the scale of values, surrendering to the appreciation of the story "Lugar de Espinas Grandes" and lamenting the depreciation of the story "Eurodisney", provided it is clear that the scale in this case is a minor issue.


 
    Esteve [June 16, 2014]

LA CALAVERA DEL SULTÁN MAKAWA de RUDOLF FRANK

LA CALAVERA DEL SULTÁN MAKAWA de RUDOLF FRANK

    We are facing a novel type of Sin Novedad en el Frente. A novel anti-war, written after the First World War and burned by the Nazis in 1938 in Berlin.
    
Tells the story of a young Polish Jan Kubitzki that in day 14 years birthday suffered the destruction of his people in the hands of the German army, he being the only survivor along with her dog.
    
The protagonist is between noble and innocent and becomes more of a battalion of artillery which shelled the village, but only to do good and help those who considered his friends.
    
His deep pacifist causes many who share his adventures arise because of the war.
    
Highly recommended to have a different view of what happened during the Great War and the millions of deaths caused war machine with all the developments which led industrialization.
    
The end of the book makes an unexpected turn and for me it makes a reference to the novel pacifist, even recounting the horror of war.



    
Carles [May 30, 2014]

LISBOA DIRECCIÓ PARÍS de MANUEL FORASTER

LISBOA DIRECCIÓ PARÍS de MANUEL FORASTER

    Second part of the "Trilogy Foraster de Fora" also likely to be called "Divagancia's Trilogy" by Manuel Foraster. Well, this of "divagancia" is a neologism homegrown may only approve Derrida (heaven welcome you at the breast!) and deconstructionist followers, but that will surely ring finger the Foraster's labyrinthine-contemplative style. As the Derrida's "différance", "divagància" is presented as a communion of two concepts that fit well with this that makes the author. Firstly, the concept of literary ramble, deviate continually the subject being treated, now I apparatus, I mend, I now make a point, now I tell you better, always with the main story on the horizon, but stick to the straight line. Minos and Theseus at once, because while building the literary labyrinth, an intricate path undulating and glittering phrases, is marking the thread the way out, I passed by here, then turn back and go around. This "tristramshandysm" transforms what would have been an autobiographical or biographical narrative (depending on how we resolve the F unknown, the name of the main character), in which everything is ego, me, mei, mihi, me (or sui, sibi, se), in a choral novel with a protagonist, the illustrious F, making coryphaeus a string of intellectuals and artists who, while they appear and disappear, appear to steal the lead presence, only to end up affirming the primacy of solo acting, and evocative medium of the biggest names in culture, party guests not only to number, but with the important mission of letter, to give their opinion. This on the one hand, and on the other hand, the vital concept of vagrancy, in two meanings, one, the move with indeterminate direction, and two, to not do or the egg. Because, see, F wanders from Naples to Lisbon and from Lisbon to Paris as the baudelarian flâneur, not knowing where I am here and I look, I go there and watch, without haste, the prize is not the goal but on the road. And, see, F does not stick to water, always with odd jobs and faenitas mentioned in passing and incorporeal and consumables, but conditio sine qua non for social work entomology, because, see, disembowel anyone believes possible concurrency with a minimum of lucidity and gorging on the table and in bed while you are working nine hours a day?
    Foraster dig back into the raging waters of culture, both in the random use of the authorities, gleaned here and there without pretense systematic quotes, as in the manipulation of the intelligentsia, a side that like a cotton cushion against shocks that F dispenses life without this offer will save with an air of reproach snobbery insatisfied and petulance games. Yes, I must say, F is not an egomaniac character of those who are bent on tell us own sneeze like a world event, is determined to not get bored with a presence that hides the screen. No, F is the protagonist because we feel his breath on our neck, because is the sauce is all salads, and because it is the emcee doing introducing the band. Gives a step forward then take two steps back. This absent presence, that being and non-being, lets you make your fellow puppeteer, moving at will the threads of social and academic theater and circus art. F puppeteer and Foraster gambler, because it shows and hides the bread and salt of the narrative as if we falter in the Ramblas: "take it off, take it out, put it, hide it, where is the beanbag?". No matter, it may not end up knowing where the beanbag is, but we were captivated by its play doll.

 

    Esteve [May 22, 2014]

NOS VEMOS ALLÁ ARRIBA de PIERRE LEMAITRE

NOS VEMOS ALLÁ ARRIBA de PIERRE LEMAITRE

    The Prix Goncourt 2013 hits bookstores by the hand of publisher Salamandra in spanish language and do not know who or when in catalan language, another example of the erratic policies of translations of foreign titles in  catalan publishing industry. Pierre Lemaitre's Nos Vemos Allá Arriba deserve undoubtedly appear simultaneously in both languages, but... Anyway, the Goncourt 2013 comes only in spanish and his arrival is cause for celebration because it is a sweeping novel, a huge and equipped with a narrative force power and irresistible momentum. The story of two ex-combatants of the First World War, the debt of gratitude from Albert, who is unharmed and unscathed from the conflagration, to Edward, crippled and disfigured waking up the day after the end of the war, and the confrontation with captain who commanded his regiment refers to the best pages of French literature. Although the characters dovetail certain Manichean imperatives, following an immutable dynamics practically caricatures, that no dwarfs the novel, because it stopped responding to a general plan: the grotesque portrait applied to the novel.
    The characters are grotesque, that situations are grotesque, the overall atmosphere is grotesque, seems to be beyond doubt. If the etymology says that the word comes from the Italian "grotta" (cave), nothing more like a cave than a tomb, as the main element of the story will be speculation and fraud regarding the exhumation of bodies of soldiers of the I World War and memorials monuments to the fallen are the motors that move the threads of history. If aesthetics says the grotesque word was associated in its infancy with ornate decorations of floral patterns and gorgeous, more along the lines of arabesques animals, the fact remains that the evolution of the term in the hands of philosophers such Hegel or novelists like Poe or Hoffmann has been gathering around a wider significance. Grotesque comes to us in the twentieth century as something being deformed, disfigured, inhuman from the human, without being at odds with the humor in the manner of Pirandello, but with "the conviction that everything is banal and empty, that men are puppets to fate" (quote from Teatro del Grottesco manifest).
    Well Lemaitre gives us that and more. The descriptions of the final scenes of war are to put the emphasis on the military nonsense, portrait disfigured and unrecognizable Édouard drink from the grotesque painting of Otto Dix, James Ensor or Ludwig Kirchner, the masks made from papier mache are heirs of the 1919 exposed Marcel Janco, the bust of horse accompanying Albert seems drawn from last paintings by Franz Marc, history of horses of Picasso's Guernica, and end not explain also reflected in the grotesque. Exaggeration practicing Lemaitre describing characters (Captain careerism d'Aulnay-Pradelle, the ragged composition of official Merlin), hyperbole in the treatment of wealth and poverty and the thick line in the drawing of relationships are not in all arguments against. By contrast, the concept of grotesque calls, implores, requires these cartoons.
     A dislocated time agree distortions and deformities. The ex-combatants of the First World War did not acquire the status of heroes, but rather the monster show. If we talk of heroes would have to use the appropriate epic tone; speaking of monsters show, however, nothing more appropriate than the ease, humor and, ultimately, the grotesque. Pierre Lemaitre not only saves the obstacle, but also allowed to do a somersault in the air.

 

     Esteve [May 13, 2014]

CONFUSIÓN DE SENTIMIENTOS de STEFAN ZWEIG

CONFUSIÓN DE SENTIMIENTOS de STEFAN ZWEIG

    There are classics that never go out of fashion. Critics call them regularly, publishers publish them with relish and readers buy and/or read them wanting. Others, however, also be considered classics and all depend on a general mood or spirit of the time (what germanphilia called Zeitgeist) claimed to be. These are the classics à la mode and we know that fashion come and go. Stefan Zweig would be a representative of this illustrious group of writers. Considered one of the great writers originating in Central Europe which gave the first half of the century, has never been included in the group of indisputable (Kafka, Joseph Roth, Musil, Thomas Mann, Hermann Hesse, ...) and its validity as a classic has been asserting or denying according to the needs and concerns of each period. Surely in this are influenced intermittent force the absence of indisputable masterpiece that would immovable position in the literary canon (as it hoards the authors mentioned above), but instead few writers can boast of having delivered a work together so balanced and remarkable in that it locates there any novel or story that deserves not noticeable.
    We are now in a period of boom conditions in terms of seed germination Zweig. And, unfortunately, Zweig prevails in times of crisis. Acclaimed author during and after the disintegration imperial, revived in the 60's and 70's when the Cold War threatened and sanctified in recent years that the term "economic stability" has become an oxymoron. Yet, what particularly attracting literature Zweig in this habitat, and what features of their work responding to the malaise in a way that works like a balm in troubled times? Could be that, at such fickle and changeable, the strength of his stories act as an anchor that grasps and affirms. Could be that in a world where the general progress achieved to the detriment of the living conditions of individual narrative, Zweig describe a decadence that bad though fascinates us because it awakes nostalgia for a vanished world. Whether it is for a story like Confusión de Sentimientos in the more substantive recourse is "spirit" and the adjective most used "hot", words that date back to Romanticism, raises topic of the twentieth century and the development will not give truce, so that reading Stefan Zweig makes feel contemporary in body and anachronistic in soul. The avant moral conflicts posed by Zweig balance with its classic style and that makes us feel a reader here and now, and at the same time taster of scents from the distant past.
    Confusión de Sentimientos, as Carta de una Desconocida, as Veinticuatro Horas en la Vida de una Mujer, as Novela de Ajedrez, as Viaje al Pasado, as ¿Fue él?, stands as a perfect example of the mechanics of a story as God intended, without fanfare but firmly, but lightly no trivia, no precipitation but quickly, accurately but without redundancy, no fancy but with imagination, without ramblings but multiplicity. Well, unconsciously assuming the commandments set forth in detail by Italo Calvino in Seis Propuestas para el Próximo Milenio as rules to follow for the novel of the future. Stefan Zweig, a writer of the twentieth century, which could be of the XXI century and could be of the XIX. In short, a classic.

 

    Esteve [May 2, 2014]

AMERICANAH de CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE

AMERICANAH de CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE

    You have to be black to write about race? Reading the most recent narrative with pretensions to discuss the issue, clearly yes. No wonder, because no one can deny that social and economic parameters that support European and American literatures are dominated by an evident trend Euro-centric. There might be some logic when it comes to societies that immigration plays a very minor percentage of the social fabric in the country, but no longer surprising when literature comes from countries like the United States, where the mixture has become almost hallmark. In the United States it is difficult to talk about racial purity, a concept that could only claim the Native Americans and for reasons known to all have become a despised minority and fast disappearing. From there, the whites are white, yes, but also of Irish descent, Italian descent, Scandinavian ancestry or Dutch descent. And that, by itself, is already a gradation. It is true that is a gradation in the highest place of the roster, and that makes the shades are not wonderful that disagreements do not reach the level of discrimination and they all respond to the call-name of WASP (including Catholics Italian). In contrast, blacks are black, yes, but the shades determine a greater or lesser relevance in the social fabric, so that not all blacks are just as black. Say that all white people are just as white is evidence that it has practical repercussions. Say that all blacks are just as black is not evidence that it has consequences.
    This is the Ifemelu's thesis, the star of Americanah, remarkable Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's novel. Ifemelu is of Nigerian origin, as the author of the novel, and decides to find a better future to escape the chaos and insecurity in the country and saturating the United States, welcoming haven for Africans to certain media and highest aspirations. Overcome the inevitable obstacles initial Ifemelu set with all the prerogatives of Americanness (citizenship, relationship, job security), but its status as the African feel differently and prevents full integration. American social stratification based on economic differences seem, but these have always racial. For Ifemelu, American society is Pantone, and the position in the gradation of color largely determines your chances of success. And this is true even in times when a black president holds the highest authority in the country. Obama is not black either, is an intermediate product. The son of a Kenyan and a white American, profile puts some steps higher than Americans of African hundred percent. Ifemelu is immigrant, Ifemelu is black, but above all Ifemelu is very black. It leaves out benefit compared to Ghanaians, the Senegalese or Cameroonian. However, it has to adapt to a society in which the most innocent act, the phrase irrelevant, the innocuous gesture acquire a tinge guilty relevant and important: everything has a second reading. Hence the inadequacy and nostalgia of his country, which has shades of blackness. The return, however, does not mean a simple satin and restoring the previous status quo. Ifemelu has lived in America, has exceeded the standard Nigerian and has acquired the status of "americanah" not quite there and not quite there.
    Adichie is a writer warrior. Latent conflicts poses with clarity and courage. Through Ifemelu, unsatisfied and disappointed, portrays the difficulty of being accepted by others and mainly the self acceptance. Americanah is an explosive device that explodes in face full of Americans. Read here comes the only noise of the explosion, but warns us of the contradictions that inevitably arise from utopian fusion and integration equation.

 

    Esteve [April 11, 2014]

AIXÒ ÉS TOT de JAMES SALTER

AIXÒ ÉS TOT de JAMES SALTER

    There are novels that should start to read by the same title. This is not just a decorative element, but plays a crucial to understand the function of the story that is told to us. And not only the function as a narrative summary of the content, sometimes goes further and is the keystone of the whole narrative building, the support that helps to understand the true intentions of the author. The novel calls the reader and sometimes the response to this call is precisely the title. If the narrative suggests an exercise to the reader, the title acts at certain times of answer key to unlocking the hidden meaning of the text. James Salter's Això és Tot is not at all a dark novel, rather it is clear and crystal, clear and immaculate. But as the clean glass, offering a clear and immediate vision of what lies on the other side first, also proposes an exercise ball and forces us to polish by shelling in the objects found in the distance of the horizon.
    Això és Tot is a novel that baffles the reader accustomed to Salter. Salter readers know and have enjoyed the meticulous narrative method used in his earlier novels and stories, a way to deepen human relationships, extracting the innermost meanings of the most seemingly insignificant details. Salter is not content with the telling of a story, he needs this advance through chiaroscuro, of questions, of nuances that the reader should interpret and reconstruct the pieces as if it were a puzzle. Not intended to entangle, not want to fog, is not intended to blind us and make us shake hands to ward off the smoke surrounding the novel. No, Salter offers stories told in a way that the boundary is delimited, in which colors are identified and defined figures. Reading Salter pass the exam and we are not afraid of the what, the how and the when. It is then, once we have the necessary tools, which makes our trip, we have to decide whether the screwdriver so clearly put us in hand work to unscrew the screw, if that nail can be nailed with that hammer. This is the usual procedure in Salter, indeterminacy than previously determined. What surprises of Això és Tot seems that we lack of indeterminacy, we need to spread the resulting blur coal with which we had previously outlined the drawing with vivid clarity. This clearly makes the novel seem flat and simple, a mere narrative of events, a chain of events with no edges or obstacles. They say that when you die, life happens ahead, the images appear to him what sums up his existence as a photo album that encapsulates all lived from birth to death. And this album is an implicit and common title to all mortals: that's all. View pictures, the summary of our journey through life is that, that's all (a little carefree and playful way with who bade Looney Tunes Porky in). Salter is 83 years old. You can not miss this existential philosophy. At the last moment we are not to nuances, we only brought back memories of what happened, of that work, that marriage, of that friendship, of that sex. No time to interpretations.
    Salter's novel does not appear flat bad. It is certainly not his best novel, but Salter does not intend to compete with himself. Its purpose is to write the novel summary of a life and you know that a summary seeks clarity and conciseness. That's all it offers this twilight Salter. Twilight is simply the intensity of light before the final darkness.

 

    Esteve [March 28, 2014]

    

ÉLISA de JACQUES CHAUVIRÉ

ÉLISA de JACQUES CHAUVIRÉ

    Surely it must be said, and by people more authorized, that a story that involves children or dogs should be tender by force. Children and pets always give a substrate of innocence and naturalness, loyalty and friendship, blind dependence and delivery, which creates a perfect setting to express tenderness and sensitivity. The danger is that excessive sentimentality and sensitivity arising in the story finishes convey a message irrelevant to flood syrup. Thus, when these elements are involved, be careful and measure very well the behavior to escape the nonsense and offer the reader a sensitive story, and at the same time exciting.
    The latter is the case of Jacques Chauviré's Élisa, a nouvelle that combines the story of the tragic consequences of the recent ended First World War with the story of the discovery of first love by the protagonist, a 5 years old orphan, in the figure of the young Élisa, introduced in a family as gunpowder ignited. Who can wonder how the first love between a boy aged 5 and a girl aged 18, have enough in revising the theories formulated by Sigmund Freud on sexual manifestations of man in its various stages, according to which sexuality (not to be confused with genitality) is manifested in all ages and in each of them differently. So much so that the young narrator, surrounded by an overwhelmingly feminine yet asexual (the mother, her friends, grandma,...) falls bewitched by the charm of Élisa and her voluptuousness. From there, the whole game relationship between the child and the young will be a battle between the opposite sense possessive, jealousy, exhibitionism and grabbing a child who confuses the need for protection and cuddles with completion of first love and the meaning of obedience, maternal instinct and professional responsibility of a girl who tries not to confuse the desire to be loved and adulated with condescension unlimited. Indeed, the child come to behave as a true satyr, grabbing the attention of the girl in the most absorbing, ie, tyrannical in that way that only children are capable of doing, egolatry, squeezing all possibilities, from the affectionate enthusiasm to unwarranted contempt. The young Élisa feel captivated by the wiles of the child and not at all reject the role of the central figure in the child's life until the audacity of the boundaries of decency. This sentimental education go in both directions: the child will learn that love is always tops and loving relationships are comprised of a constant shoots and relaxes; discover that the girl was considered as important as love and relationships with a child is a foreshadowing of relationships with adults. Because, at heart, in love everyone behaves like a child with tantrums and jealousies own childhood, the calculation need to foster interest among pleasure and satisfaction. And all said with the conviction of the first-person voice of the main character when he is no longer a child and recalls events that shaped it more than the absence of a father who hardly got to know or presence of a brother who did not get along. The surprise at the end helps to round out the story and give a sense of irreversibility.
     Élisa is a good appetizer to read an afternoon, tasting of those who swallow the rapidly but the intensity of the aroma and flavor linger on the palate and in the memory.

 

    Esteve [March 17, 2014]   

EL HOMBRE APARECE EN EL HOLOCENO de MAX FRISCH

EL HOMBRE APARECE EN EL HOLOCENO de MAX FRISCH

    Needed a warning: this book is devastating. Under a modest and minimalist appearance, hides one of the greatest and solemn tragedies of human existence: decrepitude. 130 pages that do not offer great descriptions, or deep philosophical musings or elaborations, but that convey an idea of the terrifying process of aging and the loss of authority and, what is worse, the absolute inability to combat this degeneration. Any attempt to combat this traffic into the abyss is destined to fail.
    El Hombre en el Holoceno shows up a single protagonist, Geiser, an elderly man, a widower, isolated from the world in a mountain home of a remote village in the Swiss Alps, necessarily confined to the interior of his home to due to an accumulation of inclement weather that not only break his daily routine (that familiar sound of the engine of the bus, that visit or that conversation longed usual, this recurring and consolate frugal dinner), but also put in contact with the company undesirable, the loneliness. If human welfare relies on lots of little things, the repetition of which is a custom, and custom is that element that gives stability and security, the occurrence of unexpected factors that modify these habits can be equated to a cataclysm. Old age is when precisely this dependence to to the repetition of small details becomes more evident and  when a change or alter these automatic barrier which receives the category of natural disaster. Indeed the metaphor used by Max Frisch, a series of thunder, lightning, rain, storms and landslides, a true natural disaster outside, motivate an irrevocable catastrophe inside. Loneliness appears on Geiser 's life in a harsh, with the overwhelming weight of the alpine mountains surrounding it. But loneliness is just one of the pieces that make up the total degradation. Loneliness will be accompanied by the inability to remember, the feeling of gradual forgetting, the arrival of irreversible amnesia and forgetfulness. Geiser hears the symptoms, it is proposed to defend themselves with all means available, first of all the effort to remember everything considered important and the most effective way is to copy that comes up first and then cut fragments books and encyclopedias second with that essential information and paste it on the walls of the house so that they operate as a remedy for insulation and as a mnemonic exercise. This consolidated appeal and taking a small respite climate, Geiser is proposed to be tested facing nature and decided to start a trip that has left desolate places for the storm. The triumph in this challenging, safe and sound arrival defying the danger will only underline his defeat in seeing that their mental faculties diminish with the same rapid progression with the world around him becomes normal when recomposed and resets the small everyday events that gave meaning in Geiser’s life. Nothing will no longer be the same because the process has begun and there is no turning back. The memory is fragmented, consciousness flashing and knowledge is intermittent and makes the battle is lost.
    Max Frisch does not need to flaunt emotions and passionate sensistive demonstrations. El Hombre Aparece en el Holoceno shows up a portrait objective, dispassionate, raw and gritty, and that's precisely what makes it so terrible and unforgiving. If literature has a cathartic function, the novel accomplishes the function. It makes us experience compassion and fear, announces a final irreversible and makes us share the human tragedy as privileged spectators warned us that sooner or later we will be major players. About condescending look and contemplative literature, vade retro Max Frisch, or paraphrase Dante, who goes into El Hombre Aparece en el Holoceno, abandon all hope .

 

    Esteve [February 28, 2014]

LAS HERMANAS MITFORD de ANNICK LE FLOCK'HMOAN

LAS HERMANAS MITFORD de ANNICK LE FLOCK'HMOAN

    Wonderful biography of the Mitford family, barons of Redesdale. A noble family who rose from the Victorian era, with strict rules and customs of the noble people, to the twentieth century, being the story of each of the five daughters and a son worthy film script. The book explains how to live a noble family, rural and pretensions but with few money, and how slowly they were flying children, all different.
    Nancy Mitford: He was a writer and an eternal unhappy. Married to a man who loved her, he could not have children and fell in love with another man, so he could never live together. He wrote a best-selling biographies and still published today.
    Pamela Mitford: She was what could be considered normal. Married and lived in a cottage life dedicated to caring for the garden, the orchard and chickens, animals certainly significant in the lives of all the sisters.
    Thomas Mitford: He was the heir and died in 45 in the Canadian Army serving in Burma. This meant that the Baron Redesdale remained childless and, eventually, ended up separating the Baroness.
    Diana Mitford: Married remarried Oswald Mosley, leader of the fascist party English. During the war went to prison, but was always faithful to her husband and his fascist ideology. A curiosity: she was the mother of Max Mosley, former president of the International Automobile Federation.
    Unity Valkyrie Mitford: Perhaps the most famous fascist fanatic follower of Hitler and his personal friend. The book explains his personality radically altered and psychologically. It became famous because the day that England declared war on Germany, he shot himself in the head in the middle of a park in Munich. Anyway, did not die until eight years later.
    Jessica Mitford: The Communist of the family, he spent his life fighting in pro to the disadvantaged and married Edmund Romilly, who disappeared during World War II and later married to an American. He lived the witch hunt against the left parties and also wrote a book. It was the furthest from his family, although growing up he returned to rebuild ties.
    Deborah Mitford: the younger and was married to the second son of the Cavendish family, the Dukes of Devonshire. His first son died in World War II, inherited the title and the huge fortune of Devonshire and always lived in opulence.
    In short, passionate portrait of the twentieth century through an extraordinary family. Well explained and suitable for all ages. Congratulations Editorial Circe editing biographies of great quality.

 

    Carles [February 27, 2014]

EL PATRÓN de GOFFREDO PARISE

EL PATRÓN de GOFFREDO PARISE

    One of the most commonly used adjectives literary roots, both literary and proper co-slang in the field, is the Kafkaesque. Kafkaesque means, of course, on Kafka and on Kafka means absurdly strange. But this is not a comic or joke, nothing to do with humor or partying, but rather a absurdity terrible, terrifying, disturbing. Many works of Kafka deserve the born of this adjective with honors and El Proceso and El Castillo are perhaps emblematic texts that have given rise to such adjectives. And has done so much furor used left and right, not always with fortune.
     Goffredo Parise's El Patrón is a novel from 1965 and has always been labeled as a Kafkaesque novel. There is nothing strange to properly comply with the requirements much so that not only draws absurd situations, but also that these produce anxiety in both the protagonist and the reader lives the notes. The argument will help you understand this a little disturbing deformation. A young man arrives in a provincial town to join a company as not really know why. Once introduced to the company by an old friend of his father, making knowledge of different employees up to the boss, el patrón. If employees already scratched extravagance, the pattern will display progressively as a dual character, faced its share of rationalism business with romanticism ethical component, permanently confused and disturbing contrast to the young clerk provinces. The main conflict centers on whether the relationship should be established between the two parties to a labor agreement is the employer and employee or of master and slave. It is precisely the people who suffer this confusion, as his defense of ethical working conditions is given kicking convinced that we need a total commitment, physical and mental, of the employee to the company. A company is composed of objects and people and everyone belonging entirely to the employer. Loyalty must be absolute and risk paying any price. Thus, not only must the young employee to undergo painful medical treatment, absolutely unnecessary but required by the authority of the employer and executed through coercion and intimidation, but he even have to compromise by accepting a marriage imposed with young Mongoloid features, simply because it is the wish of his pattern. In the words of one critic at the time, this novel follows the parameters of the training novel, but in reverse. If the training novel presents the young discovering the mechanisms of operation of real life, in El Patrón the young discovers the functional mechanisms of life unreal. It is he, inexperienced and naive, who acts within normal; are others, experienced and assimilated to the system, which act in a way unreal. In short, this learning process becomes a process of de-formation.
    El Patrón, therefore, more surreal sense of Lautréamont join a sewing machine and an umbrella, just put aside unconnected realities, conflicting or antagonistic, presents a balanced account and developed all the logic in what the only clash in this logic is the narrator. There is talk of a world where things and situations to enjoy the nature and the connection is puzzling. No, it is more than two Parallel worlds, as if each of them spoke a language unknown completely logical and consistent in its scope, but for those who ignores completely incoherent. That is, the maximum expression of bewilderment. Or what is the same, inheritance Kafkaesque.

 

    Esteve [February 24, 2014]

PERO HERMOSO. UN LIBRO DE JAZZ de GEOFF DYER

PERO HERMOSO. UN LIBRO DE JAZZ de GEOFF DYER

    There are few fiction books that arrive in bookstores in the thread is the jazz. This can be for several reasons: the lack of any sort minority enthusiastic audience, the shortage of good literature on the subject, or simply (a compendium of two reasons), predicts that the low profitability of these titles features. In short, publishers are not for the work and, although emblematic titles like Muñoz Molina's El Invierno en Lisboa or mythical stories like Julio Cortázar's El Perseguidor, literature presumably other jazz are just flat feet in more general frames (some references in the Murakami's universe, oxygen permeates Rayuela, pillow sound novel to some noir or Baricco's Novecento). Nothing to do with the film that it has touched the subject regularly, perhaps because the films have a soundtrack and literature have not. Well, we are lucky to have recently appeared two works that immerse fully in the world of jazz, Dorothy Baker's El Chico de la Trompeta, a novel inspired by the legendary Bix Beiderbecke cornet, and Pero hermoso, a series of literary biographies of big names in jazz.
    Geoff Dyer is a journalist and novelist, both at the time and both with well-earned reputation, and this ambivalence is reflected in this book, the result of painstaking research and realization of a worthy literary style. Dyer portrays several of the most outstanding personalities from the golden age of jazz (Duke Ellington, Lester Young, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Charlie Mingus, Ben Webster, Chet Baker and Art Pepper) and based on a true story, a moment captured in a photograph, a specific moment and documented to a literary dimension to their characters. Each portrait, then, has two sides of a coin: a cross, that would be the biographical archive of these musicians no longer set in the imaginary jazz (the Pres's solitude, Monk's silences, the Bud's schizophrenia, the Mingus's virulence creative, the Webster's bonhomie, the Chet's drug adiction or Pepper's seduction), and a face that Dyer literary stuffing envelops known facts. Nothing new regarding the methodology. This resource, the speculation addition to literary historical event involves no innovation is difficult to sustain if not accompanied by a poetic skill that turns the simple fact isolated in mythology and legend. And Geoff Dyer does it very well. Extract each character has a romantic aura that brings us to the emotional hardship and greatness of this genius. If it were easy to be a reduction, arguably Dyer uses background music for an introduction to jazz music, but without falling into the emptiness of the ambient music, on the contrary, forcing us to pay attention to each sentence to not lose sight of the main issue. Dyer knows that we know the subject, we can sing the melody and the harmony is not strange to us, and is limited to providing his improvisation at any time bureaucratic routine, always creative and original. For dessert, a final chapter rounds out the book to draw in a very personal view and not an academic jazz scene since its development in the mid-twentieth century to the present state of affairs.
    Three late withdrawals this Mondadori edition: one, have not included the photos mentioned Dyer and serve as a starting point in developing any of the biographies; two, one full of typos that suggest more a galley than a finished product; and three, the unfortunate decision to translate into Spanish the original title, But Beautiful, name of one of the most emblematic pieces of jazz (and workhorse of some jazz players mentioned). None of this, however, obscures a reality: this is an essential book for jazz aficionados and an essential book for anyone who wants to get into this fascinating world.

 

    Esteve [February 16, 2014]

LAS CHICAS DE CAMPO de EDNA O'BRIEN

LAS CHICAS DE CAMPO de EDNA O'BRIEN

    Las Chicas de Campo is a delightful novel. Maybe it's all the novels on adolescence and its end are. Delicious in the sense that even the problems and tragedies that occur at this age are mediated by a youthful spirit to it all. Delicious cause a headache is passenger and the misfortune and disgrace dissolve in a lake of optimism. Delicious because at this age the present is nothing more than a rite of passage into the future. This conveys the Edna O'Brien' novel, one of the best Irish storytellers of the twentieth century.
    There are many remarkable things in this novel. Without wishing to be exhaustive, we can point out the magnificent portrait of rural Ireland of the 50s, a universe capable of holding the distress of a family fallen on hard times because of the father's alcoholism (where there are more Irish fans to drink ?) coexisting with conventional welfare of a bourgeois family, the excellent recreation of family relationships and the siege and persecution of innocent youth by the adult world thirsting desire, repression and submission that the characters live in a boarding school for young ladies, and, above all, the indescribable friendship between the two characters, the lovely Caithleen and the kinky Baba.
    The excellence of Las Chicas de Campo is in this multifaceted friendship teenager. Caithleen and Baba are friends but in a different way. Caithleen it is unconditional, without interest or speculation, a slave of a feeling of inferiority and proud of camaraderie that transcends any insult, ready to pardon and condescending immediate evils and cruelties Baba. Meanwhile, Baba is helping as many teenagers. Exerts a kind of moral superiority and social prevalence manifest contempt and humiliation only renounces the arrogance difficulties when forced to join forces (the hard life of the boarding or sexual threats from the big city). This ambivalence characterizes friendship manifested at all times and at all places, the countryside and the city, no matter the circumstances, is to combat loneliness with the company. As a planet and satellite, inseparable from the power of attraction, yet distant and dependent on each other in the planet dominated by its mass and live under the constant threat of the proximity of satellite and satellite that the voice given its motion by a superior force, and so are Baba and Caithleen, planet and satellite.
    It blends into the rural life, living with his first racking admission to the boarding, which removes everything that was familiar and prepares his arrival at the adult world that arrival will be the installation of the city, where girls will not be in the field, they will lose all the innocence and naivete of the world of Irish deep to get alert to the dangers and threats of the metropolis and the challenges and turbulence of adulthood. In this regard , Dublin and the adulthood are presented as the great challenge of the two girls, the test that once passed, the move away permanently from childhood. Longer be "las chicas del campo", but keep that purity and credulity, that own candor and simplicity Las Chicas de Campo. Sometimes a single letter adds a different shade and this is partly the success of this captivating novel.

 

    Esteve [January 30, 2014]
   

 

EL HIJO DEL DESCONOCIDO de ALAN HOLLINGHURST

EL HIJO DEL DESCONOCIDO de ALAN HOLLINGHURST

    In the area of British literature, this novel by Alan Hollinghurst confirms an essence and exhibits a power. The essence is to confirm, once again, this trend emanating from the British narrative writing topics and proper British understood this concept as a nostalgic portrait and missed England 's empire and characteristics of a domineering and wealthy aristocratic society. Despite hosting, and brag about it, the birth of the Industrial Revolution, with everything unworthy of drag (alienated proletariat, child exploitation, dirt, pollution, ...), except Dickens, of course, D . H. Lawrence and another that escapes, there are few British novelist who portrayed the unpleasant odor of England in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Indeed, when we speak of something very British used to relate it to the tailors of Bond Street, the valets and tea 5. It is in this sense that El Hijo del Desconocido is a very British novel.
    Confirmed the essence, Alan Hollinghurst exhibits a power: that of a latent male homosexuality among the British intellectuality either the explicit manifestation of sex (think of some works by the D.H. Lawrence, Evelyn Waugh or E.M. Forster, speaking only novelist), either in the expression of a kind of intimate friendship, admirable companionship that opens a door to sodomy. In many cases, stay in the colleges or universities as Oxford and Cambridge requires the assignment in a specific guild on the close ties of brotherhood hide an air of submission, both as sexual practices and desires lawful. Obviously, it is not meaning that the English novel is Sodom and Gomorrah, the British are invested or novice students of Oxford and Cambridge are new Ganymede. Just being said that the relations of men in certain areas close friendship intellectuals who portray much of English literature usually distilled up a homoerotic component .
    El Hijo del Desconocido is a good example of these two aspects. Because it is a very British family of small English aristocracy of true splendor in the early twentieth ravaged, in which its members are part of artistic circles, in which Tennyson reciting poetry or listening to Wagner is usual, and they are not a friend of the postman or shopkeeper, but artists and intellectuals. And so much homoerotic revolves around a young poet of the family, died during World War I, to whom the passage of time has given a patina of respectability and decency, while hiding a past mistake least. Hollinghurst is a master at rebuilding family history from different viewpoints, each of which is guided by a particular interest when the x-ray image of the famous poet.
    Very good novel, perhaps a point in its excessive length, but charming in his portrayal of characters and environments, in describing the tensions that arise in every little conflict and confirmation that families, beyond the tensions and hostilities among its members, working towards one goal: to save the scandal. Hollinghurst brilliantly exposes this hypocrisy and, incidentally, conveys his distrust of the loyalty that biographies shows towards the subject.

 

    Esteve [January 26, 2014]

1914 de JEAN ECHENOZ

1914 de JEAN ECHENOZ

    All ready for centenary of 1914 is nothing better than starting the novel that gives the starting signal and that from the very title announces the international literary trending topic this year. 1914's Jean Echenoz is neither more nor less than this, a novel about World War I and a novel by Jean Echenoz. This tautology deserves an explanation. It is a novel about World War period 1914-1918 obvious because Echenoz, if anything stands out in its paratext is its conciseness and zero imaginative effort used when baptized his books. Ravel talks about Ravel the musician, Correr is on a runner, Relámpagos was on a pioneer of electricity. Titles short and distinctive. Having the picture, what better title to try the Great War 1914 to? Echenoz no mistake: what you read is what you get.
    On the other hand, Echenoz is always Echenoz. Not betrayed at any moment, not intended to be exhaustive or encyclopaedic, the characters do not take body strength endless descriptions or anecdotes spurious, are volatile and light as a bird of passage, interview and not least fleetingly recognizable. Look at the issue invites joke writing about a war that lasted four years, ending subject for anyone who wants to be relieved, the battles, the men, routines, betrayal, desertions, the weather, the terrain, the rear, sequels, victory and defeat. Well Echenoz, as in his previous narrative proposes dismantling the maxim "ars longa, vita brevis" and, as if it were a sock, you flip and constructs a novel in which "vita longa, ars brevis" in less than 100 pages we visualize all aspects of the conflagration, the multidimensionality human emotional density of existence contained in some lives, fighters, doomed to brevity, and all thanks to master synthetic French writer. Using another aphorism to Echenoz nothing human is alien to him and this is not surprising because it is considered questioned his artistic ability, but it seems impossible to fit in the small scene so vast a snapshot format. Being able to assert spectacular media (the subject permitting), commitment minimalist portrait, nude and concise, and a war that requires a large dynamic demonstrations, clashes of life or death, of endless confrontation, is transformed in the Echenoz's hands in honor of immobility in the routine of the little things, statism who expects orders and, ultimately, the quietism indefinitely. From perpetuum mobile to the freeze picture.
    Who waits in 1914 a tempest will get flat water. Who assumes that 1914 is nothing more than a lightweight booklet designed to oblivion will run into a magnum opus, a consistency as thick as the mud of the trenches and as memorable as the explosion of a grenade. Yes, you should get the gas mask because the air we breathe while reading contains all the toxicity of the wars and, one way or another, we all become collateral victims.

 

    Esteve [January 7, 2014]

LONDRES, NW de ZADIE SMITH

LONDRES, NW de ZADIE SMITH

    If someone wants to know the dark side of London, which is hidden away from the conception of Englishness, preset away from prebuilt image of authenticity English, perhaps valid and reliable for many centuries until the end of II World War, what is the modus vivendi of the citizens of the suburbs and, above all , what is their modus operandi to escape the world of immigration and try to access the most noble British comfort, must inevitably read Zadie Smith. If exists a DNA specifically English, do not find remains in London, NW. Find people who aspires to absorb it, infecting it all, excluded from the circle of racial, social and intellectual purity, ignorant that neither the home nor work, nor even the passport can confer a identity only determined by tradition.
    London, NW suburbs harsh a portrait of the great capital full of the jamaican tight orphans means and possibilities to gain momentum and cross the invisible border that separates the extraterritorial status of the true patrician nature. The vast majority of this people are left at the door, but even those who, thanks to professional success, leaving the roots to become full members in the higher rungs of the social ladder, that notion of palpable integration, the sense of exclusion that the accident suffered in respect of the essence. But Zadie Smith is not satisfied with this panoramic portrait, beyond the social defeat draws, puts his finger on the sore on personal failure of its protagonists (disappointing marriages, family relationships explosive, maternity unsatisfied and/or unsatisfactory, neighborhoods unfortunate), all to draw a map of north- west London in which, standing above even the shading representing social conflict, there clearly notice the black dots representing personal bankruptcy each individual. Obviously there is a criticism about the inability of incorporating a social segment to full citizenship, but Zadie Smith also highlights the defeat in the pursuit of individual spiritual fulfillment. And, at the risk of incurring a spoiler, the end is devastating. What can go wrong, just worse and the level of hope (if it could be measured by degrees) to which actors can hope is zero.
    As if all that has been said so far is not very enlightening, it should go to the authorities and no voice is more authoritative than that of a master at work as critical analysis Javier Aparicio Maydeu, in the article "Criaturas Desazonadas", published in El País on the occasion of the appearance of the novel by Zadie Smith, gives a true master class of insight and understanding literature. Zadie Smith's book is fantastic, but, yes, it leaves a bad body more than the news on TV. However, the Aparicio Maydeu's article, without being extraordinary nonetheless, speaks of all that London NW has, daunting, stimulating us to read the book immediately and among such critical banality "I like it/I don't like it" (even, or especially, in the same written medium) reconciles the reader to the profession of literary criticism. And do not tell me it is not appreciated.

 

         http://cultura.elpais.com/cultura/2013/11/20/actualidad/1384965528_208352.html

 

    Esteve [December 18, 2013]

LA CASA DE HOJAS de MARK Z. DANIELEWSKI

LA CASA DE HOJAS de MARK Z. DANIELEWSKI

    If you ever loved scary stories, those about haunted houses where it is easier to drop a bottomless pit, stumble across a dark and cold aisle or come through the wall before finding the exit door, this is your novel. If, however, besides that, you enjoy uncontrollably with the noise and unknown and no localized noises, with unforeseen drafts, with traces of uncertain origin and earth moving, this is also your novel too. Nothing does La Casa de Hojas differences. It is planned to bring the enthusiasm of horror addicts, lovers of good novel in general and above all the avid readers of surprises and unexpected elements.
   Beyond any appreciation, La Casa de Hojas raises two issues: first, whether this is a novel of genre, and two, if this work proposes a way to overcome and leave behind the fearsome reef called "death of the novel". Regarding the first question, it is undeniable that one of the Danielewski claims is undertaken the classic novel of ghosts and haunted houses giving, however, an air of modernity. If the novel is a horror genre, and the haunted house novel is a narrative sub-genre, both always undervalued and underestimated, Danielewski is entrusted to drawn from this resource and other sorts of other types of literature for escape to lower ranking horror novel. The merit of La Casa de Hojas is that these foreign loans not watered down at all the sense of the main story. To escape the stereotypes of scary novel uses parallel stories full of humor, to escape the typecasting in fantastic narrative uses a device bibliographic (in some cases comparable, in most false and invented) resulting in a pseudo-scientific story to escape the accusation of excessive pretension or, on the contrary, excessive emptiness beautifully intersperses three stories simultaneously, each with sufficient degree of autonomy and the time necessary degree of interconnection, sufficiently independent and sufficiently overlapped to give the feeling of unity without uniformity monotony. The second question, namely whether works such as La Casa de Hojas manage to banish the apocalyptic oracles announcing the death of the novel, is equally controversial and debatable. There will be many who consider this whole series of resources (photographs, typographic experiments, incorrect citations, footnotes kilometer,...) are just a quip, visual pyrotechnics to prevent the aesthetic judgment of the reader or an attempt of contemporary épater le bourgois. In any case, no one can deny that Danielewski has an emergency exit and in the world of literature as in all art forms (not saying that in life too), it is always better to reduce the emergency exit still waiting for a death foretold.
  Perhaps it would have been desirable to have said a word about the argument, about building characters, ultimately, blame everything on being responsible for the death of the novel. Needless. All you need is a good dose of audacity, the company faced with an open mind, be willing to play a game we do not know the rules. Going forward be stumbled door farther than ever expected a train has passed.

 

   Esteve [December 10, 2013]

AÑOS LUZ de JAMES SALTER

AÑOS LUZ de JAMES SALTER

    A little lazy getting to review a book that has been discussed at length, about what has been said several times though (the reissues means this -Muchnik Editores, 1999, Salamandra, 2013- which give rise to successive waves of criticism), praised by the most renowned literary analysts (some simultaneously with the appearance of the book, as Saladrigas, Guelbenzu and bloggers with good smell, others deferred, as Muñoz Molina), about that have been sung with excellence for professional expertise and with enthusiasm for amateur and whose growths have been muted by the simple reason that simply do not exist. If something pushes to add some words to the critical body centered in Años Luz by James Salter is the ability to provide a different and complementary to what has been written about. And literature is at odds with the development of laws and dogmas, and good education is opposed to so pretentious words, we will comply with this vision called the name of theory: the theory of haiku to Años Luz .
    Obviously Años Luz is not a poetic composition in a strict sense. Obviously Años Luz is not subject to any time imperatives metric. Obviously, Salter had no intention of writing in a haiku style. Such evidence would have to remove white flag, but apparently it is true that the surface from Años Luz is so inappropriate for haiku as a cobbled floor for skating, it is also true that the machinery of this novel it is hidden under the casing. Not so much the nature of the things that stands as the protagonist, but the nature of man. The natural phenomena that dominate the haiku, played by birds, trees and plants, subject to the inexorable dependence of the seasons and the passage of time in this novel transmuted it into subjection of human relations and wear decline. What at first marriage in its fullness, is gradually transformed into a marriage breakdown. The title Años Luz also shows this dual perspective, on the one hand, the luminosity of the most fertile years of a couple, on the other hand, the insurmountable distance that leads to deterioration. That explains Salter naturally, simply, in a stark, short sentences, in the style of a syllogism in which the conclusion does not matter whether or not the right fit, which the goal is more emotional than rational. Salter escapes the gaze of the great speculations, dispenses with abstract concepts, trying to perceive the physical substrate of things, so that under this settlement is sensitive to everything, manifests the essence of human nature. The simplicity of means (nothing to do with the silly) reveals a picture without the big grandiloquence sets, and the excessive lightings, the forced exposure, but with clarity and sincerity that are synonymous with authenticity. The words are said in silence and resound like thunder, because the mute eloquence of gesture far exceeds the aparatosity of a shout.
    Leveraging a wonderful phrase expressed a keen specialist haiku, of Años Luz by James Salter can say is "a mere nothing, but unforgetable significant." Let us please read it like a book and be amazed by so much beauty and contain a forest. Nothing at all.

 

    [Esteve, November 13, 2013]

BUTCHER'S CROSSING de JOHN WILLIAMS

BUTCHER'S CROSSING de JOHN WILLIAMS

    What a great temptation, no matter whether court critics or street readers, to compare the works of an author to see to found their similarities or differences! John Williams is one of those authors that makes it easy. Shortly prolific, his work can have three fingers of one hand. First wrote the novel in question, Butcher's Crossing, later published Stoner, as reviewed on this website, and finally appeared Augustus, with this recognition he received the prestigious National Book Award. Leaving aside the latter, for its rarity epistolary structure (but another reason to affirm the versatility of Williams) are the other two that focus the interest of this comparative effort. And we rarely encounter two novels explored and, at the same time, so differents.
    For beginning, few arguments so dissimilar. If Stoner portrayed the grey and stumbling life of a college professor, his failures with his family and with academic environement, ultimately, the stoic acceptance of inexorable fate, Butcher's Crossing, however, puts us in America late nineteenth century, the world of hunting bison, large unexplored fields, the struggle of man against the elements, in short, the stoic acceptance of inexorable fate. It seems to me to repeat twice, right? Yes, and voluntarily. It seems that two different scenarios such as the campus novel, almost encapsulated into the four walls of the university (or four buildings, the case is the same), so oppressive and claustrophobic  as the anxiety of his life, and the novel of the Far West, between free and wild open spaces, both depressing and agorafobic breeze in the mountains, they had no choice but to give back, which represent two antagonistic worlds and therefore exclude them parallel representations of reality. Despite such contrasting scenarios and the different kind of attitude that demand different kinds of space and time, and contextual heterogeneity of both novels, it is easy to see that are governed by the same pattern and style, above all, their main characters behave in adversity and setbacks with equal fortitude. Not only see life go with that strange perception that does seem untimely, with traces of unreality that makes them conscious of the here and now and, at the same time, of nowhere and never, but, furthermore, assume that life is conflict and we have everything to lose. Will Andrews, the young protagonist of Butcher's Crossing, will receive the first lesson we can learn as adult and receive the most uncompromising master: Nature. There is no negotiation possible, no strategies or alliances whatsoever, the defeat is certain. You can only minimize losses and accept setbacks like a bitter syrup to help grow. What does not kill you, makes you stronger, and Will Andrews crash against this reality as if it were a mirage, when safer is the perception, the voices of conscience are most lacking.
    Butcher's Crossing shows that John Williams was an outstanding novelist, gifted with an extraordinary ability to express a view on the human condition and firmly rooted, without nuances, the result of systematic thinking, and amply able to transfer it the behavior of his characters. Some might say that his cold  and documentary stories denote a lack style. In all, the work of John Williams has an original and not transferable style that his novels should carry a label with denomination of origin.

 

     Esteve [October 24, 2013]

DEL COLOR DE LA LECHE de NELL LEYSHON

DEL COLOR DE LA LECHE de NELL LEYSHON

    This is a book that is destined to be born and go unnoticed. But it is not meant to die and become a classic. Paradoxical? At all. Certainly, it will be difficult, if not part of a marketing campaign overwhelming, that Del Color de la Leche get immediate recognition for its mere presence in the midst of the titles of new media paraphernalia. An unknown author, Nell Leyshon, a cover still and silent, a wonderful invocation of everyday life contained in a Hammershøi's picture, and publishing by great but not magnified Sexto Piso Publisher, are weak elements in the jungle struggle for literary power commercial against the Great Names, the attractive and colorful shining from the fronts, and the greed of the big imprints. Despite this, however, the story that tells us and the way to do it, as the liquid in his insistence just filtering through solid matter, is set to cross all barriers.
    England, 1830. Rural community. Social roles immovable. With this tragedy as ingredients peeps. And, is the tragic story of Mary, a young woman with hair the color of milk and a lame leg (her choices in life marked with the misfortune), daughter of numerous peasant family in which a potato and a turnip in the pot up a culinary delicacies, see how to play randomly, gets the opportunity to become part of the domestic vicar, so this is about convenience and welfare of the raw inclement crop yields and sacrificed nonexistent. The contrast between the natural way of expressing themselves, no daughter received her education in the rustic atmosphere that has grown, and social conventions around the vicar up the first stage of acceptance that transforming her home into a privileged relationship. Gradually, his frankness granted privileges within the family. Not only supplants the rest of the service in preferences of vicar and his wife, but she also shows an interest in learning to read and write. Each day that passes, it leaves a bit rustic without losing their sincerity and naturalness becomes beyond the menial tasks that had been contracted for at the right hand of the vicar's wife seriously ill, that entertains and console as a companion and not as a servant. This gradual emancipation of involuntary servitude live a new episode with the death of the wife of the vicar. This will spell doom to that which from the beginning was called Mary.
    Del Color de la Leche discovers a class narrator, capable of narrating a simple story and tender, able to create a character like Mary, priceless in its contradictions, at once strong and weak, fierce and untamed nature, product family and social rejection, but eager to experience the fullness of life, whatever the circumstances. Her destruction is what had seemed to be her salvation. The sudden flight of dingy and family, but surely no prospect of improvement in its stability, to land in a field refined and humane, civilized and seemingly wealthy, it means that the way forward is only a step towards the abyss. All this is proof, once again, that appearances are deceiving.

 

    Esteve [October 3, 2013]

CANADÁ de RICHARD FORD

CANADÁ de RICHARD FORD

    Let us look at these three beginning of a novel: "My name is Frank Bascombe. I am a sportswriter" (The Sportswriter), "In Haddam, summer floats over tree-softened..." (Inpendence Day) and "Last week I read in the Asbury Press a story that has come to sting me..." (The Lay of the Land) . All three belong to the three novels of the trilogy starring Frank Bascombe written by Richard Ford. Each of the three has its own personality, although it cover a very wide range of different possibilities to deal with the first sentence of a novel, we can agree that none of them agrees with the maximum stated by David Lodge in his book The Art of Fiction: The first sentence should drag ourselves, we should stick. The Sportswriter's first sentence emulates the narrator in Moby Dick, Day of Independence's first sentence would be the classical mise-en-scène , a description to put us on the stage of history, and The Lay of the Day's first sentence already suggests a mystery that must be solved. None of them , however, we will drag or paste with enough power to feel an irresistible magnetic attraction that makes us continue. And this makes sense because the narrative of Richard Ford is not intended to suck us rapidly, it is not proposed to draw us to the following sentence to the sheer force of the impulse of the resolution. No, Richard Ford does not. At least it was not until Canada.
    "First I'll tell about the robbery our parents committed. Then the murderers which happened later". This is the beginning of Canada and nobody can deny that raises expectations that the aforementioned beginnings. And those expectations significantly impair the Ford's novel. Who, from there, hoping to find a narrative dynamics, a fast-paced, thrilling and scary events about to run out of breath, will probably feel disappointed and cheated. Canada, like the previous Ford novels is slow and meticulous, attentive to detail, orphaned from dialogues and full of enumerations and accurate descriptions, a story that is not external, which develops around the protagonist (in the upside down so many bestsellers fast consumption), but it is internal, born and raised in his mind. Matter what happens (it happens almost anything) , but what matters more plays the protagonist happens (and happens a lot). It is the inner conflict, doubts and certainties of the narrator, his perspective of things that determines such meticulous story. Ford literature less important the metronome than the fingerboard; coast pick up the pace, but it is easy to catch.
    That said, it does not seem that Canada requires that load of patience. Only those who have their readings were like a time trial are depicted. It's time to reclaim the slow reading (almost a tautology that is no longer so), reading calmly and without haste, in which each word has a reason and occupies a particular place, and in which the characters not expressed through action, but through thinking. If you fancy trying this type of literature, Richard Ford is your man.

 

    Esteve [September 12, 2013 ]

1913. UN AÑO HACE CIEN AÑOS de FLORIAN ILLIES

1913. UN AÑO HACE CIEN AÑOS de FLORIAN ILLIES

    Someone should explain someday what does this delusion that people have to hold the round numbers. He was born or she died hundred years ago, two hundred years ago from such Constitution or that war ... Well, probably lack of imagination, or perhaps because it is easier to calculate hundred to hundred that twenty-nine to twenty-nine. Well, apart from all that occurred in 1714 that we have come (and go) to the ears, we must be ready to events wearing the 1WW (synthetic anglicized to designate First War World).
    This iconoclastic booking of tens and hundreds comes to me following publication of Florian Illies's 1913. Un año hace cien años. This title should not be too keen to draw conclusions. Indeed, this was, of things and little things that happened a hundred years ago, a year before the start of the 1WW. First of all, to say that the book is really interesting, well documented with a commendable ability to chain events scattered apparently poetic and refined taste that has allowed the emergence of a historical book in advance on a publishing vocation literary as Salamander. However, now I think of several questions. If Illies has produced a book of German descent clear, with Vienna, Berlin, Prague and Munich (guest star, Paris) as the main focus of action, with all its artists tight book, which takes a saint of the Louis Armstrong nose as if a character is not a posthumous universal vocation to see that the story had been too Central European? If Illies tilted to a portrait of the cultural pre-Belic Europe, where imposing painters, writers and musicians, needed small notes of international politics, rather than usher in a climate of confrontation imminent sounding historical insignificance? Why mention a lot more people like Hitler or Stalin, stars of the 2WW, or the emperors Francis Joseph, William, irrelevant politically, than the real charge of strategic conflict? It is necessary to telegraph the news of the birth of unknown characters (Wikipedia dixit) if not for a lack of belief in social history when you come to think guiltily history too elitist? Questions are probably minor, but required if one is convinced that the author had planned a cultural history of Central Europe, from which can be seen in the bibliography is an accomplished specialist, and ended up delivering a mammoth attempt not to let anything or anyone outside scene.
    Summarizing, 1913. Un año hace cien años built exhibits the virtues of an encyclopedia and can not hide the defects of an almanac. As an encyclopedia, admires his ability to engage the reader curious and submit it to the shipping and forwarding mechanisms characteristic of this medium. As almanac, is burdened by the need to obey the chronological laws and this requires that the stiffness of a benefit. Now if we don't consider the chronological reason, would be that book? Given that the temporal pattern is a prerequisite, and it is always ugly ask questions of age, we must admit that Florian Illies shows have much left to hide wrinkles from age and a lot of skill to captivate us with relics of hundred years ago.

 

    Esteve [August 20, 2013]

EL PLANTADOR DE TABACO de JOHN BARTH

EL PLANTADOR DE TABACO de JOHN BARTH

    1.50 kg. No, we're not talking about the weight of a premature baby, but the weight of a book. Name: John Barth's El Plantador de Tabaco. No, not a book for walks on the beach. Not a book to take under his arm in the pool. Not a book to carry in your backpack. Not even a book to read in bed, deliver us, Lord, from any form of suffocation. It is simply a masterpiece. And when I say masterpiece I mean exactly that. Able to drink in the same way from Cervantes's Don Quixote, Voltaire's Candide, English novels of training and travel novel, El Plantador de Tabaco represents the postmodern view of History.
    The protagonist, Ebenezer Cooke, is a young in XVII century in possession of two titles: one given from the highest levels of power, the Poet Laureate of the newly conquered colony of Maryland (here we may sound as bizarre as the title Queen of the Carnival) and the other, self-imposed and proudly announced to the four winds, that of "poet and virgin" as it likes to present himself. Embarked on a vessel to settle in his dominions in America, the adventures and misadventures that occur every now threaten to dispossess-about both titles. Their journey will transfer a known and safe England virgin territory, populated by opportunists explorers, ruthless settlers and indigenous savages, that of the American colonization. And this transit is proposing Marylandíada sing in, kind of epic poem in the line of the Iliad, the Argonautica or the Lusíadas. This is the basic theme but Barth used to incorporate a multitude of subplots, the discussion focused on issues related to modern sensibilities, whether the nature of the identity of modern man, the demystification of History, reality or unreality of world we perceive and the multiplicity of interpretations of the facts that govern the world and acts to move men. Ebeneze Cooke, innocent aspiring to Paradise, he meets face to face with a hell full of hookers, drugs, rape and shit. Luck will of his former tutor, Burlingame chameleon, which, while intriguing in every one of the political conspiracies of his time, he breath to overcome this clash with reality, straightening a vision uniquely XVII century man into a world of multiple perspectives in which cynicism and deception are weapons necessary for survival. This learning will manifest in the transformation of the nature of Ebenezer Cooke's poem, first conceived as an epic to praise the greatness and magnificence of colonization, finally become a shameless satire on the absurdity that represents reality. From here, the love story of Pocahontas and John Smith, among others, takes on new meaning. All in all, great John Barth's ability to introduce contemporary debates absolute in talks between Cooke and Burlingame, always respecting linguistic style and spirit of the era that demands a historical novel.
    El Plantador de Tabaco is a must and was at the time a step forward in the design of the historical novel, a network of hard to fit two materials: the rigorous historical setting and exposure carefree modern conflicts. It just takes a firm table, win in a fit of laughter, park prejudices towards the story of a "poet and virgin" of the seventeenth century and you are perfectly on track. Of course, like all great novels, has a major drawback: 1,173 pages after you start reading, you'll kill for 1,000 pages more. This is a quality drug.

 

    Esteve [July 25, 2013]

 

 

LA VERSIÓN DE BARNEY de MORDECAI RICHLER

LA VERSIÓN DE BARNEY de MORDECAI RICHLER

    Sometimes the mood may sound sad thing. Situations in which the comment plethora of comic turns out, more than the expression of a cheerful mood, a defense mechanism or an escape forward. This is what happens when, to address the problems or controversies, is beyond the limits of irony, that tone of mockery that says the opposite of what is meant, to enter in the field of sarcasm, mockery bloody with which it wants to injure or abuse. This is the spirit of La Versión de Barney, a monument to the replicas incisive, summit of trenchant response, ultimately, paradise of sarcasm.
    Barney Panofsky, a successful producer of reality shows that it touches the elderly, review his life and gives his version of things, a version full of errors and confusion (as his child is responsible for correcting) derived from a progressive loss of memory unfailing accentuated by alcohol abuse. Barney faces four charges that have marked his life. The first and most serious, the murder of his best friend in a confusing and nebulous episode that begins when surprised in bedridden with Second Wife Panofsky, a charge on which public opinion pronounced guilty, even though the legal process dictates innocent. The second, three failed marriages for various reasons, accidental death of the First Wife Panofsky, lightning marriage with the Second Wife Panofsky and unconditional love but adulterated with the Third Wife Panofsky (that of anglosaxon, moving the name male to the female by virtue of marriage, leaving a trail of corpses wedding on the same register). The third, frontal rejection of Quebec independence process, filled with arguments that here and today we sound nothing strange, using a discourse of fear and smear with the will and the desire to consolidate the status quo. Barney mocks everything French as a measure of self-affirmation of his desire to remain Canadian. And fourth, the eternal theme of the Jewish condition, this kind of self-therapy psychoanalysis in which, in the manner of a Woody Allen literary, full of prejudices identity, the more you deny Jewishness word, the more it affirms made.
    This models makes Barney Panofsky unstable, frustrated, defensive, which is only released with a glass of whisky in the hand or behaving like a hooligan with his favorite hockey team. Barney's incentives are reduced to seat the bar, the seat of the hockey rink and the seat of the sofa in front of the TV, human relationships are damaged each time you suggest, probably because his attitude to things is born of insecurity and disgust, insecurity with people (inferiority complex with friends, misunderstanding with marriages  and miscommunication with the children), disgust with things (professional dissatisfaction and lack of social integration). This leads him to conclude that man's best friend is alcohol, the best woman is the one who has yet to win and the best job would be one that would dignify and not one that he brutalized.
    A round of applause for La Versión de Barney, Premi Llibreter 2013, risky bet in favor of a literature at all complacent. Barney, his language and his behavior are not suitable for all audiences. If common decency (lowercase) notes two rhombuses, Literature (in capitals) five star exclaims.

 

    Esteve [15 July, 2013]

 

LA VERDAD SOBRE EL CASO HARRY QUEBERT de JÖEL DICKER

LA VERDAD SOBRE EL CASO HARRY QUEBERT de JÖEL DICKER

   

    Speak clear from the first line. La Verdad sobre el Caso Harry Quebert seems a novel woeful and frankly irrelevant and if you get it predicts that sales success is simply because marketing has long held their own in the literature. Attractive young writer, detective plot, setting mysterious, root of literary characters, plot surprises measured. This part of the marketing premises which score very high when it comes to selling a novel to the public because, make no mistake, it is easier to identify with the stereotypes that with a new and original idea. However, by itself, all this would not be enough to make a novel a bad novel. Many novels have game topics but no longer good novels. What makes then different? In short, the style.
   The best you could say about La Verdad sobre el Caso Harry Quebert is that the author, Joel Dicker, has no style. But it would be a lie as a piano because, apart from other works that are unknown to the author and be bold to generalize about an author without knowing anything more than a single work, which reveals La Verdad sobre el Caso Harry Quebert is a lack of style but a supine demonstration of bad style. A lack of a style not makes inferior a novel because it may be an effect deliberately sought to objectify the story that tells us, to hide any trace of a partial narrator and let the characters speak for their deeds and not their words. As Flaubert said, the absence ideal style is demonstrated when, describing a tree, you just write your name. But here we have a sample copy of bad style. Jöel Dicker wants to appear in every one of the thousands of lines of more than 600 pages of the novel. The problem would not be showing off this attack if it had not demonstrated a flagrant incompetence in every gesture of his literary striptease. Jöel Dicker is removing the head in every corner of every line, repeating anecdotes and episodes until exhaustion (or, rather, to the extreme unction), fearing that his reader is a confused o tired reader, the kind of reader who falls asleep reading and the next day is back to two or three pages to find out what the thing was, we do not need every little step regurgitates and chews endlessly so that makes the reader, paradoxically, in thinking that should not chew. Since "a rose is a rose is a rose" by Gertrude Stein, of course with intentions diametrically opposed, the emphasis was not so much notice. This literature stutter of triumphs in the abuse at all the dialogues, which naïfity a cold, completely unable to give the smallest entity to the characters, useful only to encourage the reader advance stalled as a target flying in a mountain stage, accelerate now that we already do after fig. In short, a tug of war that requires swallowing the same story again and again that even the most ingenious twists of battling.
    This one is rough so guilty: marketing. If you do not give him much hype, not as a product suitable for all ages (also, without an operation ceases to be legitimate), but as an example of literary excellence (comparisons with Philip Roth ... what? writings of the nursery?), ignorance and disinterest had gone ahead of acricy and disappointment. But perhaps it is this: no matter whether right or wrong, but what matters is people talk about.

 

    Esteve [June 27, 2013]

 

WALDEN de HENRY DAVID THOREAU

WALDEN de HENRY DAVID THOREAU

    There is a mystery irresolvable: the Holy Trinity. Father, Son and Holy Spirit, three in one. The construction of this figure is due to the merit of the first Christians and imaginative, as in other things, has flourished and has served as a model for varied pagans applicationscoat from DIY products degreaser to patriotic slogans (Spain: una, grande y libre). If the time has not been used to demonstrate the likelihood of the Christian affirmation, however it does has demonstrated the fallibility of an item sold as a miraculous invention or that notion of a spatial but not a lot and flood damage that day that passes more and has belittled the freedom that allow Merkel and markets. But some recreation of the Trinity no debate or discussion is possible that laid the foundations of what is called the American spirit: Emerson, Whitman and Thoreau. First, the Father, laid the foundation of transcendentalism as a philosophical expression, the second, the Son, had the audacity to apply to everyday life the theoretical principles, the third, the Holy Spirit, in the end, gave a poetic proposal.
     Henry David Thoreau's Walden is a hymn to nature, to disregard, to solitude and individualism. One day Thoreau decided to ignore social life in the city of Concord and test a method of self-subsistence and build a cabin near Lake Walden into the nature but a short distance from the urban bustle. He wanted to prove to himself and to others that contact with nature used to better understand the mechanisms of operation and to find that man and nature intertwined expressed their best potential, He wanted to make it clear that it can live better with less and, as stoic, not happier but those who have more than you need, He wanted to experiment with the reunion of man with himself and the ability to survive on their own resources. All this does not become a hermit ("I had three chairs in my house: one for the solitude, two for the friendship, three for the company"), not shunned the company of men, but equating that to be provide animals and plants. He boasted of being able to procure the maintenance with the use of natural products around him, although, in fact, his biographers agree that it's being told to go to the city often for dinner home with friends and family. What was clear is that the adoption of this modus vivendi, to sense, must be made in solitude, alone, any kind of communalism was back to life fleeing, so that all types  partnership to thrive. The story of his experience has the charm of literature and the high philosophy , like Montaigne, another who decided to escape the bustle of the world, fills their experiences of multiple citations, both classic Greek and Latin and Eastern thinkers, who knew sourcing through translations into English and French.
    Bedside book indispensable for neo-rural for anyone who is touched with a sunset or a bird singing, Walden is the most authentic expression of an experiment that has been tried again later (remember the Skinner's Walden Two, or closer to us the building Walden by Bofill) distorting its essence. Nobody expects to find in these pages La Vida en el Campo y el Horticultor Autosuficiente or steps to maintain the orchard, what I will find the guidelines to discover yourself and the way to achieve spiritual nirvana.

 

    Esteve [June 13, 2013]

MALINA de INGEBORG BACHMANN

MALINA de INGEBORG BACHMANN

    Two news: one good and one bad. The good is that the Akal publishers has decided to price like a pack of cigarettes a few titles of his Literaria collection mainly European authors of the twentieth century that have never received massive recognition and part of those writers, being called arouse gestures of recognition and admiration even among the experts, but those who can hardly cite any novel or under threat of death. Some of them do have finished setting props such as the recent novel European case Erri Luca, Mirolad Pavic or Siegfried Lenz, while others benefit from a spotless reputation in the world poetry and this makes them suspicious of excellence in the field of narrative, Ingeborg Bachmann, Lars Gustafsson and Johannes Bobrowski, among others. The bad news is that we are wrong when this type of literature should have a playoff to try again to capture the attention of readers.
    Ingeborg Bachmann has gone to the manuals of literature as a proven Poetess, including even the famous canon of Harold Bloom. Malina is his most famous novel, written in 1971 and opening a project narrative cycle called "Type death" adventure title since this literature is not exactly festive. As said in the essential details Cecilia Dreymüller's Incisiones. Panorama crítico de la narrativa en lengua alemana desde 1945Malina were sold over a million copies in the 80s and was reissued constantly. Maybe it was that the Germans were different because this is a very pleasing work. Novel only three characters, the narrator describes the misunderstandings between two male characters, Ivan, who has, or rather want to have a torrid relationship and apasionated, and Malina who gives name to the novel, wich who confronts a more intellectual. The main motto focuses on communication difficulties between the narrator and each of the two companions, at least in terms of spoken communication, always choppy and intermittent interruptions and full of emotions inexpresed. However, when the language avoids words and nonverbal expressions manifested as a chess game, a boat ride or a lit cigarette, communication seems flow, as if these were ways relate more natural approach people, while the spoken or written as a product of artificial human creation, distortion and feelings, rather than strengthen ties, create an impregnable wall. All this, together with constant references to a troubled past parent-child dreams expressed by the main character, Malina make a novel committed to the role of women in modern society, but inheriting the past tortuous. The plot and characters are sinuous folds that are difficult to discern with the naked eye and that makes literature Bachmann sealed in its development.
    Lucky those who have decided that it is time to quit tobacco. For the price of a packet can treat themselves to a first-rate novel, try a self-demanding type of literature that rewards the reader with a high intellectual level, not because they make us wiser, but we must try to be. Now, consider the rebound effect: if, after reading Ingeborg Bachmann, you read again Dan Brown, we run the risk of ending smoking twice.

 

    Esteve [June 4, 2013]

LIMÓNOV de EMMANUEL CARRÈRE

LIMÓNOV de EMMANUEL CARRÈRE

    The biography is a genre that is usually seen with some prevention. The equation is that it is extremely simple: just interested in biographies of characters that interest you. Drawer. The mythomaniacs film and music feed biographies of actors or musicians, the drill policy learn with biographies of politicians, low intellectuals and bread dipping oil fill their mouths with biographical minutiae of the great intellectuals. It is difficult for the biography leaves the ground side and become a central literary system. Product of scholars engaged in life stir papers where a new contribution appears irrelevant (that day went on bike rides, or the time you gave up dessert because dragging a cold ) aimed at scholars eager for anecdotes shared collectibles. In a world of specialists, the biography serves the academic feedback.
    Stefan Zweig, among others, took a turn to the issue. He understood that life had no sense of biography alone, they had to wrap up all the circumstances that surround the character, so that the biography becomes a portrait of the man/woman and his/her time. If you want to acquire a status that literary biography, was to ensure that the biographical details speak face to face with the view of the time and the means. In exchange for a lack of precision documentary gains in narrative coherence.
    The next step in this long journey of consolidation of literature as an entity biographical narrative first class petty purely academic study has been the inclusion of the author's biography. It is somewhat paradoxical that in this contemporary author who has buried a thousand times, now revived to honor a genre that every day that passes it frees more classic biography of parameters to camouflage themselves in the land the narrative. It is not only related to life and miracles, not enough to understand in light of the circumstances spatial and temporal, as the author must be involved so that the individual no longer biography to become dual. The biography leaves the third person embraces the subjectivity of the self.
    Paradigm that point the process is Limónov by Emmanuel Carrère. It does not matter if you know who is Limónov (I did not know), it does not matter if we are interested in the life of a Russian dissident and confronted the communist regime before and Putin now (I do not), it does not matter if it fuck in perestroika and Balalaika, vodka and kazachok (me, yes), is the same whether you sweat just as a guy who fights the Putin regime with totalitarian methods and paramilitary structures (hopefully correctly), and they repel with their behavior all the sympathy we are willing to give (frankly, very little). Limónov is an excuse. The transition from Stalinism to putinism is an anecdote. Who really speaks Limónov is Emmanuel Carrère. And you say, yeah, OK, so what? If we do not care about the character Limónov, why we should be interested in the character Carrère? Touché. I must admit that I do not put me Carrère. At this cul-de-sac, stunning wins the argument. Forget that Limónov is a biography written by Emmanuel Carrère and take note: Limónov is a novel written by Emmanuel Carrère and more importantly, is EXTRAORDINARY.

 

    [Esteve, May 14, 2013]

EL CRIM DEL SOLDAT d'ERRI DE LUCA

EL CRIM DEL SOLDAT d'ERRI DE LUCA

    Welcome to a new issue of "Erri de Luca way of lie." Yes, not life but lie and because of Erri de Luca's novels tracts appear to us as if they were episodes of his life, but they are just literary fiction, a lie that worked, taking as a starting point for a story true or probably true, there is a gradual transformation into a fictional construct, the end of which we are having forgotten the story that served as the starting point. The first person narrator deceives us as a stick insect metamorphosed in plant appears an authority on the art of camouflage mask true literary work, so we believe at all that the narrator is Erri Luca, but the once we are sure that the other players are fruit of his imagination. This makes reading a novel of de Luca a balance between credulity and suspicion.
   El Crimen del Soldado is again a trivial reason that entangled and disentangled to suit the author. An accidental encounter leads to narrate adaptation to society of an ex-Nazi recycled postman, who denies his past and believes that the only crime of a soldier is the loss and therefore , History in capital assets is a winners property. Based on a kind of belic strategy, former Nazi working with the assumption that to defeat the enemy and he should know, if your enemy is the Jews, who persecuted time war and who is being pursued in peacetime, what better way to understand it, to know its methods and its operation that language. From here, the conclusion is one: to study and understand the Kabbalah, this hermetic language and Hebrew prophet who chairs the universe, is the necessary step to predict the events of his enemies and anticipate events. As if it were a coded message, his peace  depend on its expertise in the knowledge of hidden signals.
  As in previous novels of Erri de Luca, language plays a crucial role in the story. If in other works, the etymology of the Sicilian vocabulary, the gradual transformation of a word in a different, the semantic disturbance was a symptom of emotional distress in El Crimen del Soldado Hebrew vocabulary is listed as entry visa for between irreconcilable worlds. And beyond a question of signifiers and meanings, words acquire a function of compression and condensation allowing de Luca shelling their multiform stories at all likely hermeneutic comfortable and yet, in its simplest complexity, in no more than 150 pages. This is because de Luca  ignores everything that has used the narrative, the lengthy descriptions unnecessary dialogs irrelevant, all that thin layer of ice that separates us from the real story and that, in the unexpected moment, the less in those novels that exceed the threshold of mediocrity, gives us our weight and suddenly plunges. Erri de Luca not we plunges input mercilessly. No consideration, we do not go through a process of adaptation, we ask patience, attacks the neck from the front, and if we know that, thank you and look forward to a new release, and if we resist, so good wind and new boat. Unlike the current lengthy novels, in which the author punish us with a lot of pages that are no more than a white flag to establish a friendly truce with the reader, that of de Luca is writing that does prisoners. If novels over 500 pages of contemporary calls for anxiolytic, the  Erri Luca's demand for defibrillator.

 

   Esteve [May 1, 2013] 

CRÓNICA DE LOS WAPSHOT de JOHN CHEEVER

CRÓNICA DE LOS WAPSHOT de JOHN CHEEVER

    "In this amazing country, when a beloved storyteller tries to write a novel and it fails, it rewarded as if he had gotten ... The Wapshot Chronicle by John Cheever, won the National Book Award. On The Wapshot Scandal, sequel to the Chronicle, Cheever has tried again, failing again, to turn it into a novel material that was just for a story. As has screwed twice, is likely to give the Pulitzer Prize "(critic Stanley Edgar Hyman for New Leader magazine).
    "Although The Wapshot Chronicle listed the Modern Library that includes the 100 best novels (in English) of the twentieth century, it is widely read today."
    "At a party he gave in the sixties, the editor Sol Stein recalled that Cheever had launched a murderous look to other celebrity guest, Leslie Fiedler, whose complete critical studies of American writers omitted the slightest reference to Cheever. Indeed, the only comment about academic who had received contained in the book of Radical Innocence Ihab Hassan (1961), which described The Wapshot Chronicle as a 'collection of various episodes' that 'lacked unity.' "
    "The Wapshot Chronicle had sold better than expected, but it was decent enough to keep a family of five. Thus he began to write more for money than for pleasure."
    "The Wapshot Chronicle won the 1958 National Book Award. Cheever had three good friends, at least, on the jury. Day ceremony, Cheever was very nervous. Then he will be given a plaque and a check for a thousand dollars, recited a brief speech 'mumbling so rapidly that bordered on rude unconscious', as one participant recalled. "
    "Cheever was very lively: The Wapshot Chronicle was a success, and their author a traveler in first class whose daughter soon refined attend the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry."
    "The long ordeal of Cheever's writing The Wapshot Chronicle would be generously rewarded. The book sold over twenty thousand copies in hardcover and paperback later by Bantam publisher sold nearly 170,000 in the U.S. alone. Meanwhile, during that spring, Cheever was mulling over his impending good fortune, reaching dream one night with Eisenhower in the bedroom of the White House: 'Mamie is reading the Washington Star. Ike, The Wapshot Chronicle' " .
    "Cheever kept tormenting with The Wapshot Chronicle. Could not help wondering how the book would be received, which led him to reread it again and again for reassurance. Usually quite liked the text, which had, in turn, more thoughts on fame and fortune, or at least on a possible sale of the Book of the Month Club that would allow a life of luxury. truth is that the club was totally on his side, although there was a small problem: the word <fuck>. The Club never had distributed among its members any figurase book that such a term, which is why I wondered if the author could not be convinced of the need for a reasonable equivalent. were contacted dropping Cheever had much money at stake and that's taking the subject. A pause. Finally, Cheever said: 'The answer is no. That's the right word. The unique'. And so was born the legend: The Wapshot Chronicle was the first text selected by the Book of the Month Club in containing the term <fuck> ".
    "The novel is a story of a great exuberance about a clan of Massachusetts, marked by the presence of the sea, that succeeds, fails and succeed again, crossing a wildly adventurous adventures" (Charles Poore critic for the Times).
    "The Cheever effort materializes in a dour book, lush, absurd, bold and full of life.'s Work is bright, lively, alternating with fun sadness and tenderness" (Culligan Glendy critical for the Washington Post).
    "The novel is not exactly a novel, or, in any case, not entirely serious. Basically is mere entertainment, a picaresque tale that does not quite work" (Maxwell Geismar critic for the New York Times Book Review).
    "Cheever once wrote:" Obviously, you never question: is this a novel?. Thing you wonder is if it is interesting and if that interest involves suspense, emotional commitment and sustained attention. '"
               [Excerpts taken from Cheever: A Life by Blake Bailey, National Critics Award 2009, Editorial Duomo]

 

    Esteve [April 8, 2013]

 

INTEMPERIE de JESÚS CARRASCO

INTEMPERIE de JESÚS CARRASCO

    Truth or legend, it is said that when Hollywood studios were no longer what they were, which is operated by people who loved her profession and was interested in every detail of the creative process of a film, to pass to be dominated by large corporations that only accountants and economists understand cinema as a business that would bring money, the writers had to change its strategy when submitting a script to producers and, instead of arguing verbatim his job, had enough presenting the product in terms that can be assimilated by laymen in the field. You should not be trying to defend a script saying that the struggle between good and evil that had resulted in the destruction of an impossible love. It was enough presenting it as a combination of Jaws and Titanic.
    Jesus Carrasco's Intemperie  would, according to these parameters, for those who want very simple things, with the air of a Cormac McCarthy-spaghetti western. But simple does not have much this novel. Yes, clearly draws from Cormac McCarthy's Border Trilogy or The Road, with the character of the child, rather than a journey of initiation, undergoes a process of liberation, because rather than novels training, these novels survival. Yes running a commendable job with the language, digging into the vocabulary word to find the appropriate, using as archaic and obsolete words, creating a warm stone, barren and oppressive, not only in terms of semantics but also the sound has inherited a particular music, not angels, but rather the devil, for the reader parcel setbacks character and put it on stage and inhospitable desert and inhospitable desert using a language. Well, like Cormac McCarthy, however, require linguistic affinities, passed through a sieve of old Spanish Delibes. And, as usual McCarthy, the characters do not respond to his name and generic names ("el viejo" or "el tullido" according to Carrasco, "the boy" or "the Judge" according to McCarthy), both for wanting to represent more than one person, one archetype, as by a desire to distance between the reader and the story, but a rift might be called local, because the more permanent is the person who suffers the drama, the closer we identify ourselves with him. So far, so far McCarthy's noteworthy because it is not easy to do. However, the portion of spaghetti-western call for what could have been a novel round result in a novel spherical, it is not enough. And Carrasco undertake an exercise in precision external (environment, landscapes, events, in short, physicality, if you allow the word) in a novel of just over 200 pages (sed brevis, thanks Carrasco) but at the cost of preventing any attempt deep inside so that the dispute involves land, sea and air, but not by the mind of the protagonists. Returning to the initial reductionism, this is Clint Eastwood's mini-Hollywood Almeria rather than the tormented Unforgiven. Surely it is a voluntary choice and measured, but it takes organization to the novel.
    Jesus Carrasco, a name to follow, full of possibilities. The great Spanish novel is already written, but if there is someone on the literary scene can write the great novel Plateau, he is certainly the only one.

 

    [Esteve, March 22, 2013]

MOO PAK de GABRIEL JOSIPOVICI

MOO PAK de GABRIEL JOSIPOVICI

    The art of conversation. The pleasure of walking. Talk and walk together, become, then, art and pleasure. Could you ask for a better combination? Moo Pak, Gabriel Josipovici's book, merges these two terms in a continuum of 180 pages without full stops. Two people, Jack and Damien, they spend their days walking around the geography of London and chatting about everything and nothing. However, and let me say right now, in this book there is neither art nor pleasure. While walking talking point seems a stimulant, semantics and Josipovici make it easy: everything seems more pathetic than peripatetic.
    The two characters take pride in practicing the art of conversation, but, please, can someone explain me what kind of conversation is one in which only one talk? A conversation is not deaf, because in any case act hastily each other and want to talk to both at once. A dialog bream? Nor, because if it were that everyone would go to his ball. We are facing a new kind of conversation: conversation (because that what we want to believe the author) of deaf and dumb, in which Jack, alleged elderly writer and intellectual experience and vital long, long a string of outlandish thoughts , strung haphazardly and depth that would shame an alleged Vesuvius. The interlocutor (rather auscultator), Damien, pass the time without saying mu and it seems that their presence is due to its ability to transcribe the comings of the other pot. Or you can be involved in a dialogue with himself bream, because the thoughts that venerable Jack spits into eternal monologue are just nonsense and nonsense in order to make us aware of different philosophical problems, philological, sociological and policies and with the result of fall us into despair soporific (a right oxymoron because it can despair in the effort to keep his eyes open and not to). Not to be silly, no, says something interesting, but not just any idea or on prescription. All are statements of weight suddenly swell and deflate like nothing, concepts that linger like a balloon in a field of cactus. Admirer of Lichtenberg, Jack is unable, however, to condense an idea into a brilliant aphorism. An admirer of Proust, Jack is unable, however, to develop reasoning ad infinitum. Charges Swift, whom makes us a portrait similar to the coated paper could make Lady Gaga, to write some letters and boring and pointless, in turn, demonstrates not have drawn any teaching. He loves Kafka, Mozart, Beethoven, Keats, however, none of them says anything other than a truism. And poor Damien enduring the rain, we never lose track and making stenographer for us. This Damien is dumb, but you can not blame attention deficit. What about the rides? Simple enumeration of parks and streets, squares and avenues, jumped around and walked down there, with the same coolness and inconsistency with an Eskimo could organize an itinerary for Hong-Kong. Toponyms occur without having any relevance to the conversation, as in Monopoly, go, but without having to exit the box. The pleasure of walking with navigator. From all this, it is understood that it could be a comedy or a farce and instead, Moo Pak wants to emanate from the beginning a frightening air of intellectuality.
    Gabriel Josipovici is a literary critic of some standing, who have come from studies on modernism, which makes an unconditional praise, and a bitter destroyer of everything that smacks of postmodernism. The world as it should be ended with the Second World War and this is not a bad argument when defending a literary essay, because there they are allowed to develop their ideas. Now, light a novel (or whatever the hell it is) and want to dazzle with a thousand fireflies ...

 

    Esteve [March 10, 2013]

EL ACCIDENTE de MAX FRISCH y UWE JOHNSON

EL ACCIDENTE de MAX FRISCH y UWE JOHNSON

    First movement: a composer Diabelli was hardly had passed into history by himself. He was fortunate that Beethoven would notice a waltz and it took him to compose the Diabelli Variations's theme, the role model (beyond the Bach's Goldberg or juvenile attempts by Mozart) for all subsequent musical variations. Classical music has not frequented too thus detracting nonprofit egregious examples chez Brahms, Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, perhaps by the perception that the subjection to a topic corseted composer's creativity and forced him too strict discipline. And also because the composers are known called serious music musical motifs usurpers of others, but they can not admit it. Quite the opposite in the field of jazz, where freedom is understood precisely from the premise that there must be a starting point, caught on loan (or not), from which will emerge all elaborations.
    Second movement: Ned Washington and Victor Young are the creators of one of the most used and abused standards of jazz, My Foolish Heart, interpreted from the excellence of musicians as varied as Bill Evans and Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Oscar Peterson, Charlie Haden or Ray Brown. However dazzling that were these versions, all have accepted the toll loyalty one way or another, stating the topic to the top to put on record the listener. In 2001, on stage at the Montreux Festival, Keith Jarrett plays with his usual trio (Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette) a splendid version of My Foolish Heart over 12 minutes long. What makes this performance particularly suitable for the arguments of this article is that even after more than 11 minutes he came round the theme and the piece becomes recognizable confirming suspicions that the harmonic structure could leave glimpse. Different tempos, different modulations, different styles, subject always to a pattern that acts as an inductor rather than driver.
    Third movement: At late 60s Max Frisch writes in outline a story about an unhappy marriage he called Apuntes de un Accidente, extraordinary in its deep narrative complexity. With a telegraphic style and disjointed, going back and forth as if it were a film montage crazy, we portrayed a failed love affair that ends in tragedy. Well, this is the theme. So what's the variation? In the late 70s, Uwe Johnson, friend and confidant of Max Frisch, is premised on this subject and varying characters, tone, inflection and events include a story called Apuntes de un Accidentado. You say, well, like no one before and after it had appropriated this theme and have built a story. Indeed, the stardard is no known or acknowledged paternity. What we can group these two stories in one unit is the complicity between Johnson and Frisch and the second will honor the first. The apparent dissimilarity between the two stories not only accentuates the subject and community while constantly wonder where lies the common denominator be manifesting a relevant dependence relative to each other.
    Theme and variation. The literature provides little to this game. Perhaps because the egos of the authors are to undergo humiliations aired a perceived lack of creativity or easily confused because plagiarism and homage, the variation is not practiced with their faces uncovered. Error. Frisch and Johnson (and Beethoven, and Jarrett) demonstrate that creativity and imagination can develop from the appropriation of an alien idea.

 

    Esteve [February 27, 2013]

JÓVENES CORAZONES DESOLADOS de RICHARD YATES

JÓVENES CORAZONES DESOLADOS de RICHARD YATES

    It is said that every writer always writes the same novel and in the case of Richard Yates, this is a true as a temple. However, if the novels are good, who cares? We spend our lives making us the reproach that we should re-read the book that seemed fantastic and justify not doing it ever telling us that something is too good to read and to commit ourselves to repeat. Canonized authors, living and dead, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, Modiano and García Márquez, among many others, make it easy because he have written a lot and go on jumping from book to book feeling that we go by the same route . Lampedusa chose to write a single compressed into two hundred pages and Proust developed a single over five thousand.
   Yates, a novel to another, retains the same style, sublime and stylish in Revolutionary Road, and what makes it more recognizable, a common theme. His novels always include young handsome and wealthy, tired of the big city, frustrated by their jobs, men leveraged a relatively affluent life that includes a house in the suburbs and many whiskies afternoon, and women looking to find a job that does not feel made simple housewives. Essential elements are: neighbors attractively desirable but equally frustrated and a slow but steady decay of the relationship. Jóvenes Corazones Desolados can draw some distinctive as the consideration that the artistic aspirations of its characters, in  cultural medium succeed in its ambition, always becomes a total failure in contrast to the success of their opponents, and an incontrovertible fact: every couple, glamorous and enviable enough, is doomed to disaster. It borns and builts and see how the foundations of these ties based on the attraction and rapport and a slow deconstruction brings out the distances social, economic, cultural and generational that lead to mutual destruction. This pessimism of funds entrusted to the reader that the characters always speak Yates, even in the worst moments, as if he were waiting for the new opportunity to turn the corner. Must be something in the American character. However, the genius of Jóvenes Corazones Desolados, just like in other novels of Richard Yates displayed in this capacity to joke leave the narrator of the characters of its relative failures, of minimize losses and maximize profits, this mischievous look that makes one act tragedy in life as a farce in chapters.
    Anything Yates, at the risk of sounding known, is extraordinary because it portrays us in our obsessions and weaknesses and makes us accept in its banality. Despite what might be called a translation based on wanting to sound baffling modern, Jóvenes Corazones Desolados is a masterpiece of novel in his dual meaning: a novel that is amazingly good and because it is only a part of the great novel he wrote Richard Yates.

 


    Esteve [February 16, 2013]

LOS HABITANTES DEL BOSQUE de THOMAS HARDY

LOS HABITANTES DEL BOSQUE de THOMAS HARDY

    What a delight to read Thomas Hardy! How much passion, how many sins, whatever redemption, many weaknesses, and their plots rocambolesques! That said, it seems that we are talking about drama ... and yes, it is true soap operas. Were already known Jude el Oscuro and Tess both literary and frequent reprints by the magnificent film versions, and can be found without doing surveys El Alcalde de Casterbridge, but it remains to be seen how light works Los Habitantes del Bosque (and soon to ad Publisher Vienna Lluny del Brogit del Món). Are welcome.
    Los Habitantes del Bosque happens where everything always happens in the novels of Hardy, Wessex County, border territory, not just geographically, but rather in terms of the contrast between the archaic representing rural and receipt of advent of modern cities. Wessex represents stagnation firmly rooted customs, tradition inherited and transmitted after the first, that feeling that everything is as a thousand years ago and that everything will remain the same within a thousand years. But as Raymond Williams, in the chapter on Hardy in the magnificent El Campo y la Ciudad made it clear that although Hardy is a writer and classify the traditional traditionalist their image and their positions have an rustic odour as important in his narrative are these external forces arrived from the urban environment, regardless of how they appear. Without them there is no conflict. In Los Habitantes del Bosque a virus manifests physically in the arrival of a young village doctor, lover of philosophy and ideas with innovative and symbolically in the transformation of the protagonist, Grace, daughter of a merchant well established, who returns to town after a long residence in the city. Grace is revealed precisely in the contradiction between the nature of a rural childhood steeped in traditional beliefs and habits acquired artificially and education, and somehow unnatural. Grace returns to the town that is not a farmer, but a lady, in a manner that his father conceived the education given to his daughter with an investment that should give returns, and hence created tension. In a world where everyone plays a innamovible the social ladder, Grace represents both the element called conformism and resignation and the manifestation of higher aspirations. However, this implies duplicity, whatever the final choice, a sacrifice and here come into play passions and virtues, dignity and betrayal, weakness and strength, loyalty and deception. The transformation of an individual represents the transformation of the entire environment and each act oblivious to the stability of this environment is a social and emotional earthquake. Predestination was natural that guide the steps of a young couple engaged to Grace the same habitat will yield to the force of social ambitions careerists and the consequences will be dramatic. Hardy omniscent observer, the characters move like pieces on a chessboard large, dynamic in its movements, but restricted in scope. The narration has that taste ancient ronic that feeling, but at the same time conveys an air of modernity which disrupts anything that explains why leave us indifferent. When you read Hardy, like when reading Austen or Lawrence, knows that the geographical setting and local conventions, including demonstrations of the rural peasantry, the bourgeoisie or incipient mining proletariat, we are weird without it us from the essence: the human reactions follow the same pattern, then and there, here and now.
    Read Hardy. As a television series, a true stumbled another, each twist contains the possibility of a Turn of the Screw and the end of each chapter is not closed but a stimulus and inadvertently we realize that the novel we have. And slowly we are aware that the exorcism awaits us in the semi-final.

 

    Esteve [February 6, 2013]

SALIENDO DE LA ESTACIÓN DE ATOCHA de BEN LERNER

SALIENDO DE LA ESTACIÓN DE ATOCHA de BEN LERNER

    This is the story of a phony, in one hand, and a reinterpretation of the myth of American citizen in Spain, on the other. Ben Lerner wrote the antidote to the Vicky Cristina Barcelona's Woody Allen and  Hemingways's Spanish  ambient because Saliendo de la Estación de Atocha is nothing like the topic of the Spanish standardized warm-blooded and temperamental and because, strange as they come do not talk at any time or corridas de toros, or tablaos or flamenco. Praise God, someone believes there is another Spain.
    Indeed, the protagonist of this novel is an American meritorious establishing in Madrid scholarship to undertake a project whose aim is enveloped in a cloud and dedicated to enjoying life in Madrid mentored by his Spanish friends. Well, let's say his project has to do with poetry and the relationship between it and the recent Spanish history. So far, very regular and predictable, but the uniqueness of the story comes from Adam, this American whose stay in Spain becomes a farce. The guy does not give a stick to water, his poetic inspiration is based on plagiarism and misrepresentation, speaks very little Spanish and understand a little less, he spends his days reading Tolstoy in English, smokes dope in pairs, rubs shoulders with bohemian dick and walks by a modern, cosmopolitan Madrid as would a squid in the desert. Of course, as every tourist Anglo yields to the temptation to visit Granada (ay, Washington Irving in my soul) and Barcelona (ay, George Orwell in my mind), but, unlike everyone escapes Granada without seeing the Alhambra and, oh heresy, dares to say that the Sagrada Familia is the ugliest building he's ever seen. Adam should delve into the Spanish poetic tradition, but he's only able to correctly name confusingly Lorca and Juan Ramon Jimenez and Miguel Hernández, and prefers to be accompanied by a booklet of John Ashbery. Attend the 11-M as though privileged spectator reacts as he hears the rain. Spanish people with whom it deals are glamorous, attractive and educated away from racial stereotyping, and beyond its tourist whims and little knowledge of Spanish geography, the main finding of the novel is that confinement resulting from ignorance of the language and how all ambiguities are resolved in his favor by simply being abroad: in that if we remain provincial. He himself describes himself as a fraud and, in effect, nothing more fraudulent to pretend it is not. In the eyes of others is a committed artist and his quirks are viewed as a product of genius and her eccentricities as a result of poor adaptation to himself, is recognized as a phony, capable of inventing the death of his mother to elicit sympathy or tyranny of his father to awaken sympathy. This split, this duplicity to take and farce conscious involuntary convey authenticity is the axis on which the whole narrative structure and that gives value to Saliendo de la Estación de Atocha.
    Ben Lerner is, at all, a thirty promises. Being able to reduce his novel to an avalanche of clichés about the Spanish idiosyncrasy to spend U.S. avid reader of exoticism, prefer to invest their talent in a devastating portrait of the American dream in Europe. Neither country nor flag, better a joint.

 

    Esteve [January 21, 2013]

NATURALEZA MUERTA CON PÁJARO CARPINTERO de TOM ROBBINS

NATURALEZA MUERTA CON PÁJARO CARPINTERO de TOM ROBBINS

    Tom Robbins seems to be one of those guys who has smoked all, but when it gets to write is more sober than a fish. To imagine the plot of Still Life with Woodpecker (title alone already shows signs of intoxication prior) must have visited other worlds and we know that for this kind of travel no passport is needed. But once back, it seems to be able to comment on the slides of Saturn without seeming teases us.
    A risk seem a crazy, there goes the argument (???). A princess heir to the throne of a kingdom without territory or subjects falls in love for a terrorist on a flight to Hawaii. After sublimation of love, the terrorist is arrested and imprisoned and Princess, for sympathy and to share the suffering, decides voluntarily shut in a room with the only company of a pack of Camel (you will forgive this undisguised publicity, but is that the graphic design of this particular pack will result in an extensive vagary of the suitability of the pyramids as a gateway to a third dimension that redheads intervene as intermediaries between humans and the alien genre). Well, then, seeing which, it turns out, after a misunderstanding, the couple separates and the princess despite promises by an Arab sheik, who makes love built by the world's largest pyramid. And finally ... okay, better not unveiled the final because you believe not. What is clear is that Robbins does not take his material reality and contradicts what that "truth is stranger than fiction." Like hell! What is really surprising is that these bricks get to keep the interest of readers as anchored to reality as a Monday morning. Because Robbins undeniably well written. Very well, I would say, because not only is exercised successfully in parody and riotous humor, but is also capable of stringing sentences crackling beauty, similes and metaphors abracadabra astonishing acuity and, as if that were not enough, postulated theories nothing outlandish about social engineering models, on the nature of love and the effects of captivity (and, yes, also on the construction of the pyramids). So cold, it seems a pity that such a talent is malbarate in astracanadas substance of this caliber, but (again) nothing is further from reality. Still Life with Woodpecker is not bullshit, not a rant either thoughtlessly vomited in a trance after graciosillo chamomile tea. No, it is rather the freest exercise of the wild imagination of a sober and meticulous writer for whom style is everything and is thus capable of sacrificing the verisimilitude for the sake of fun, to waive the credibility for the spree. Like those comedians, who kill the nerves before a premiere, are sung with a few drinks and then more and gain in spontaneity and disinhibition, it seems that when he's sitting at a Remington (yes, also appears in the novel) , Robbins and has taken it all with beneficial consequences.
    Still Life with Woodpecker is a novel suitable for all audiences because readers are and will be forever resentful, uptight, repressed, boasters, proud, bitter, dismissive, contemptuous or tasteless. Well, without a hint of humor.

 

    Esteve [January 8, 2013]

NOTICIAS DE LIBROS de GABRIEL FERRATER

NOTICIAS DE LIBROS de GABRIEL FERRATER

    With wise approach, the Editorial Peninsula  has decided to republish Noticias de Libros, a volume containing the reports delivered Gabriel Ferrater as a reader to publishers for whom he worked, and this is news to celebrate because it is frankly hard not to laugh with many valuations that emits Ferrater about books presented to him susceptible of publication.
   In the early 60's and in the early '70s, publishers Seix Barral in Spain and Rowohlt Verlag in Germany received reports from Gabriel Ferrater, mostly bare, some extensive, always bright, in which he thought about the adequacy of publish books that were given to him to read, books the most varied leathers, from novels, economics, history and anthropology essays, linguistics and volumes treated to essays on art, psychology or sociology. Of course, there is no doubt Ferrater critical capacity, but the value of the reports is not in the professional analysis but, above all, in the hilarious ways to refuse publication of books. Ferrater, sublime poet, deeply knew several languages, with solvency unfolded in multiple subjects and scent critic is demonstrated by the long life of titles and authors whom they praised and forgotten where those who remain undone . Also had no qualms in admitting that their knowledge in certain subjects were precarious, intellectual honesty and frank evaluations refrained from in cases that caused doubts, either about the quality as the commercial ("I'm glad my money is not have to decide whether to be invested in this book "). Not so in the authors argued, and unconditional staunch defense that led him to a degree perhaps not recommend failed, but to be aware of the path that author because pointing qualities that crystallize in the future. The positive reviews are usually deep, probing and unprejudiced, although succès the book can be attributed mainly to the negative reviews. Nothing temporizing, without a hint of condescension, if not like a book aimed directly at the waterline. As a sample, the books that did not receive their placet contain pearls as "unworkable. Not understand how it got into print", "From the outset, the only impression of this book is that it's stupid," "completely provincial Literature", " You see it and do not believe it. This man has managed not only to understand nothing, but has managed to analyze (what) all evil ", not to mention the categorical adjectives to dismiss a publication from" junk "or" infected " to "horseplay" or "book fool". However, the sense of humor (never exempt an enlightening and wise perception) making some masterpieces reports and here I can not resist the appointment with names. From Bécković & Radović, Random Targets, Harcourt Brace begins, "These two authors with clowns name pair have met in this little book to honor his name." From George Boas, The history of ideas, Scribner's ends his analysis of a sentence saying it is "a kind of pastiche mental anacoluthon with redundancy and two or three falsehoods". Peter Berglar, Wilhelm von Humboldt, Rowohlt concludes "ultimately is a piss ignorant". Jack Trevor Story, Something for Nothing, Secker & Warburg starts "Or rather, nothing for nothing. This is one of those cynical picaresque novels candidly that the English are now producing dozens: fuck like rabbits and repair cars with wires. Say, the tradition of Kingsley Amis ". Or, finally (and for the reader are still many undiscovered pearls), Michel Alvès, Le Pêcheur, Grasset starts like this: "A silly little book. Flap informs us that the author has twenty years. I suppose. Or, perhaps better, one would have been an old and senile college. "
    In conclusion, if you intend to write and publish a book, do yourself a favor and imagine that a verdict could reach Ferrater any issue about his work. Only such an exercise of self-criticism and ridicule can become embarrassing rid of both silly and stupid book.

 


    Esteve [December 20, 2012]

JÓVENES TALENTOS de NIKOLAI GROZNI

JÓVENES TALENTOS de NIKOLAI GROZNI

    Few modern novels include theme, of a preferred, classical music and even less that they do in a relevant way. So, with no intention to be exhaustive, we can cite Thomas Bernhard's El Malogrado, Vikram Seth's Una Música Constante or Elfriede Jellinek's El Pianista. Nikolai Grozny helps fill this literary scene with a novel, Jóvenes Talentos, about the sacrifice, misunderstanding and uniqueness of classical music students who show a precocious talent who are prepared and trained in interpreting schools to develop and undertake a future tours and concerts.
   Warning: this novel is not recommended for those who confuse concepts like "tonic" and "dominant" with desirable proportions in a gin and tonic. Just as in the examples cited above musical literature novels could be read without special competence in matters of music theory since all tried, rather than the music itself, the psychological element that governs the life of musician classical, Jóvenes Talentos, however, could be compared more and better with Thomas Mann's Doktor Faustus (though this from the perspective of a composer), a novel in which the windings of music theory based on the writings of Arnold Schoenberg and Theodor Adorno were an essential part of the narrative. Indeed, the novel by Nikolai Grozny requires minimal knowledge of music theory, not so much to understand the plot, but to enjoy it. When the narrator protagonist, a promising young piano student, strives to convey emotions is dragged playing Chopin or certain parts of sonatas for violin and piano by Bach, uses musical concepts as well as poetic expressions, by it is advisable to have on hand as a minimum theoretical background music as a recording of the piece in question to empathize with the emotional story. Music aside, Jóvenes Talentos is the portrait of Konstantin, his tortured teen life, locked in his musical bubble, doomed to face the outside world, -family and teachers- in Bulgaria from the time of collapse of the Iron Curtain. The political atmosphere of totalitarian repression and social conventions of the old people let the young Konstantin rely on parallelism to match musical misinterpretations, those machine-like, automated and devoid of feeling, with the public life of the Bulgarian regime of the 80 pre- Wall fell, gray, cold and insensitive mechanically, under some provisions not subject to discussion that eliminate any uniqueness and individuality. If a pianist in possession of perfect technique but lacks the ability to convey emotion has no future, let alone a political regime endowed with perfect bureaucracy and discipline and order necessary but lacks the sensitivity to allow the development of talent individually. Apart from this direct involvement, determined by their geography and history, the young pianist suffers from a universal involvement: adolescence. Indeed, faced the world lives, rebel without a cause, exercising all of the symptoms of immaturity, believing admired by younger and older envy. Knowing undeniable talent and, therefore, special knowing only communes with their more gifted and his piano teacher, a spinster for whom he feels a respect and admiration pupil, drowned in a sordid and depressing life to which Konstantin does not want to be dragged. His resignation to submit to the rigidities of a discipline system based on scheduled and incomprehension of individual expression will endanger his piano career to the same extent that the discrepancies with the regime individual lead in fact to the torture of the mechanisms of repression .
   Do not hesitate: go forth with the sonatas, scherzos, Chopin preludes and studies, with some Bach, Rachmaninov and some other bit of Beethoven, and read the Grozny's novel. What are insensitive to the music? Do not worry, enjoy a worthy novel. What are insensitive to literature? I do not know that interest you moved here. What are insensitive to both the music and the literature? Tip: Check with your GP.

 

   Esteve [December 11, 2012]

CLAUS Y LUCAS d'AGOTA KRISTOF

CLAUS Y LUCAS d'AGOTA KRISTOF

    To all those who just love the postmodernism: Claus y Lucas is his novel. The three novels that make up the trilogy, El Gran Cuaderno (1986), La Prueba (1988) and La Tercera Mentira (1991), are inseparable and have no meaning in isolation, but curiously Agota Kristof's own claims that were not designed with that intention and its gradual emergence could be considered a "work in progress" involuntary. Kristof also recognizes that the type of simplified language and childish that dominates the first, El Gran Cuaderno, much less elaborate and more naked literarily semantically that used for the second and third parts, due not so much to stylistic criteria in attempting reflect children's speech as his own inability narrative and its inadequate command of language. It must be remembered that, born in Hungary, she published in French, a language acquired (interview in Le Magazine Littéraire, n. 439, February 2005). All this comes to mind to find that, to a large extent, the postmodern narrative successful reception of critical and public is based more on the questions raised that in the responses offered or the genesis of his project. As the author herself takes on the big issue of his novels for the reader is always know who is speaking and who writes.
   El Gran Cuaderno, narrated by a "we" indivisible, describes the childhood of the twins Claus and Lucas in the Hungary of the late World War II and the beginning of the Russian occupation. The twins speak and behave as a single individual in a kind of defense mechanism, which includes practice exercises Spartans volunteers such as blindness, deafness, quietism, resistance to pain or silence, to face the atrocities of war and meanness of adults. La Prueba told through a third person narrator separating the twins, when one of them gets to cross the border at the end of the first novel. La Tercera Mentira is involved. In the two chapters in this third book speak alternately Claus and Klaus (or Lucas), the twins apparently coincide at the end of their lives, in a confusing encounter in which there is no mutual recognition expected. The questions are numerous but essentially boil down to the identity or identities of the narrators and conflict born of modernity about the fragmentation of the individual.
   Given all this, because the criticism has focused on an exercise of imagination to explain the dilemma and how, to the questions posed by postmodernism, the answer always comes wildcard winner of "anything goes", here's a bit of contortion speculative . Two possibilities: 1) Claus and Lucas are indeed twins whose communion is due to a single deep duality (as, on the other hand, numerous studies have attempted to demonstrate the gemelism). 2) Claus and Lucas are one and the same person, one individual, whose schizophrenia is reflected in a double deep unit. This second thesis has more guarantees, among which the following should be noted. First, Claus and Lucas are two names anagramatics, allow perfect transposition of the letters that form, so it could refer to the same individual. Second, in the encounter that occurs in the third novel, La Tercera Mentira (the title is symptomatic), there is no recognition of one brother over the other, leading to the suspicion that the brother existence is a fictional construct. Third, thelanguage used in each novel answer to the three different ages of man. Thus in El Gran Cuaderno, plain language and infant twins who speak with one voice, the same way that a child can talk to an imaginary friend in certain pediatric diseases caused by a traumatic state; in La Prueba, a mature and balanced language with which narrates the experiences of one of the brothers; in La Tercera Mentira, dislocated language that would represent, together with inconsistencies and disconnections, the mental state of old age, a kind of senility can I make another, a double of oneself. Finally, se non è vero, è ben trovato.
   It is no doubt that this is a confusingly fascinating work and that it is one of those novels whose survival in the memory of the reader is much greater than the time spent reading it. And for those times, the price that is all, no one can deny that this is a good investment.

 

   Esteve [December 4,2012]

TRES NITS d'AUSTIN WRIGHT

TRES NITS d'AUSTIN WRIGHT

    Essential. No need to swallow 40 lines of literary criticism brainy and thoughtful, patiently waiting to get to the end to find out the conclusion reached by the commentator. No need to read vertically and even diagonally, to skip all methodical arguments, reasoning and impulses cordial sane until glimpse whether or not it's worth getting into the book. No need to rise up against centuries of tradition and civilized reader to endeavor to start reading the last line. That they are reading is a spoiler of literary criticism. This novel is absolutely essential.
   This should be enough for them, but if that component masochist in all of us drives them to keep reading, I'll explain the reasons why. Cause Tres Nits is a novel about literature and we know that for those who like nothing better than literature two cups of broth better. Because this is a novel within a novel (one woman reads unpublished evidence of literary debut of her ex-husband), and that the principal has the reflective and psychological, the other the secondary, having thrilling and absorbing. Because looks can be deceiving, and what I have just quoted is not very accurate, since the plot that simulates secondary entronizándose just as dominant, while the principal eventually absorb us as readers, so the view will shift progressively. Because promotes reflection must for anyone who loves reading: how it affects what we read? Can it influence differently if we know who wrote it? Cause the protagonists of both the plot and the subplot, can not escape the fate that has imposed the author, but are ultimately subject to the judgment of value issued by the reader, who is who ultimately approve or disapprove your attitude and their motivations. Because it is a thriller that aims to be much more than a thriller or, rather, of a non-thriller that ends up being a thriller. For a novel that raises these questions, this flood of this morass of contradictions and questions, in short all that for which they should serve the novels, can not be ignored (as it did after its first edition in Spanish by Editorial Destination in 1983 with the title more faithful to the original Tony and Susan). Because this rescue can do for Austin Wright what Stoner did to John Williams, ie retrieve a modern classic and inevitable turn forcing publishers to search the wardrobe treasures that often remain hidden under the Avalanche newest ultra-aged reaches over for a writing course to a novel as God intended.
   After Barthes and Foucault and the author's death, won the literary theoretical commitment to the reception theory, according to which, roughly, once finished, the work switched off the will of the author and the reader was granting the final status with his reading, not only because it did not charge until someone actually did live, but also because each reader gave it a life and a meaning distinct from that attributed the other readers. In Tres Nits this mechanism is evident twice. The novel that reads the protagonist expresses the different nuances that can surely find us, but their reception is likewise subject to our assessment with the above becoming, each one of us, readers, justices of the inverted pyramid structure. It only remains to add something to the readers that start with the end: this novel is absolutely essential.

 

   Esteve [November 3, 2012]

LLUM ANTIGA de JOHN BANVILLE

LLUM ANTIGA de JOHN BANVILLE

    John Banville's writing often seems bipolar, and this is not just a commentary on deployment in the dual role of detective story writer under the pseudonym Benjamin Black, and novel writer, under his own name, but, above all, by the ease with making the transition from brilliant phrase to phrase cheesy, from  scene of transcendent to irrelevant to the scene, from the right word to the word embarrassing. Undoubtedly, Banville is on the good side of contemporary literature, indeed, is on the side excellent, but these stylistic lapses somewhat tarnished that excellence and disfigure his narrative, subjecting it to the jurisdiction of taste when stronger and captivating looks.
    Much of this can be seen in Llum Antiga, magnificent as a novel of initiation, flimsy as novel Twilight. Because bipolarity is reflected in the dual perspective of the protagonist, a stage actor elderly, which recalls an adolescence governed by the first love, not a companion either the same age, but the mother of his best friend, with the initiating sexual discoveries and extracting a dormant passion, and, on the other hand, in the present, trying to cope with his wife the recent suicide of his daughter. Although the likelihood of some scenes may be jeopardized, the part concerning the adultery teen Banville offers the best of his ability to describe his character as a brat capricious, jealous and possessive, capable of the most childish swinishness to any shortfall of attention from a kind of Madame Bovary, cloistered in an oppressive environment which seeks to escape thanks to entertainment that offers a young hormonal excess. This is the main section of the novel and achieves what it claims to, convey to the reader that youthful passion and selfishness of first love, although this use is made or implausible situations syrupy expressions. Instead, the events surrounding the protagonist's mind are likely to be considered manifestly Banville manipulated to give the impression that nothing is random and everything is connected. I mean, this mature stage actor who is the narrator is hired for the lead role in a film directed by a director of prestige (which, surprisingly, is fascinated by the actions of the protagonist the day it goes blank on stage ), whose partner is a young and famous actress from the age of her suicidal daughter (who, curiously, in turn exhibits suicidal tendencies), while the role it should play is that of a mythical literary critic (who, my god, suspected that was the last companion of her daughter before suicide). How small the world is and how many coincidences. The strange thing, however, is that all this flows fairly smoothly thanks to Banville's prose, though surprised that mature actor, his memory ravaged by the passage of time, succeeds in building a story of their past plausible (maybe wrong the details, but identifiable in its essence), and display immersed in a chain of coincidences caught by the hairs on the account of his present, not to mention irrelevant ghostly apparitions, like Argentinian spectral offers drink and company in the Italian hotel where he has washed up with the young actress to investigate the suicide of his daughter (not his wife, as might be supposed in such regressions cathartic). Anyway, to each new twist to the story, one can not help but wince.
     And you have to come back to this. Despite all this, Llum Antiga is a very competent novel, which traps from the beginning, that distills Banville's literary knowledge, his elegant and precise prose, and his mastery of narrative levels. The problem is its aforementioned bipolarity, which join a lime and sand, that when it seems to be nirvana descend into hell, that we are overwhelmed with the naturalness of a surprise episode immediately afterwards by artifice , as with Botox for a beautiful face, and that, though it can not be helped, the sum of grins of satisfaction and disappointment can end broken our face (by golly, as Botox).

 

    Esteve [October 23, 2012]

LAS SOLIDARIDADES MISTERIOSAS de PASCAL QUIGNARD

LAS SOLIDARIDADES MISTERIOSAS de PASCAL QUIGNARD

    Reading the title of this work of Pascal Quignard, Las Solidaridades Misteriosas, is easier than one would come to mind (either by association syllabic, phonetic or semantic) one of the major works of Goethe, Las Afinidades Electivas, which inter alia postulated the thesis that relations between people born are based on a kind of process of action and reaction characteristic of the chemical elements. In the novel by Goethe, harmonic peace enjoyed by the couple in love protagonists is altered by the arrival of a new partner leading to a destabilization of equilibria affective, social and moral caused by the emergence of new combinations, which mix different encourages the creation of new entities, in the manner of associations of chemical elements. Although the tone and plot of Las Afinidades Electivas is light years ahead of Las Solidaridades Misteriosas, similarities and tributes are seen in the development of a character and episode. Arguably Quignard choose for his novel a psychic affinity with the work of Goethe.
   Las Solidaridades Misteriosas is a romantic novel, hopelessly romantic, in which Claire, the main character, succumbs to an impossible love for a married man, Simon, former companion of childhood, which is delivered beyond the spiritual life (Platonism pure) and beyond death (fidelity insane). As the chemical elements, the proximity between Claire and Simon transforms them and make a new body based on the combination of passion and prohibitions contained social, moral spiritual attraction and repulsion. As the title suggests, can only be labeled as the narrow mysterious bond between them, a kind of solidarity that makes irrational delivery of other's arms something beyond explanation and that following the drowning death of Simon, survives in this communion with nature Claire, as if it represented in the waves of the sea, beach dunes and nesting birds on the coast, was the link to communicate to lovers, as if love is not only not extinguished, but by nature endure filed. If delivery to another person and involves the highest sacrifice, in this case the delivery requires a spirit to go beyond the conventional, which explain the progressive abandonment of physical and psychic Claire sake of extrasensory perpetuation of an everlasting love . This is, of Claire and Simon, the only pair of solidarity mysterious. Claire's younger brother, Paul, and Jean, a village priest, form a pair collateral, in which materialized a new link in the mysterious chain of solidarity. Indeed, Paul, fully surrendered to the magnetism of her older sister, not questioning attitudes and procedures, but is offered as a server unconditionally, without question or reproach, essential link between Claire and the world in its social aspect. The world as a natural spring, represented by the scenarios foggy and rainy in Brittany, is a protagonist and what is its toponymy (curious that in Jean Rolin's La Cerca, Editorial Sexto Piso, newly emerging, also comes the use and abuse of the appointment geographical, plenty of names of towns, streets and squares, for a non-native reader become gibberish pining for making a map of the place) and its environment, not in vain his creatures habitat and eventually become personifications of disappeared loved.
    The intensity of Las Solidaridades Misteriosas narrative goes low to high, begins with an external narrator, whose coldness recedes descriptive ground to major progressive denominations involved in the story. This contributes to the variety of evidence, to the way chemicals are combined, leading to a compelling story, a product of witchcraft, as compact mass in which it is impossible to separate the liquid from the precipitate. And it is already known: a good love story is a matter of chemistry.

 

    Esteve [October 10, 2012]

LAS LEYES DE LA FRONTERA de JAVIER CERCAS

LAS LEYES DE LA FRONTERA de JAVIER CERCAS

    Reading the latest novel by Javier Cercas, can not but feel a sense of disappointment. Of course, Las Leyes de la Frontera are given the purest ingredients Cercas style, those who have soared to its author to a literary shrine deserved thanks to an almost chimerical combination of critical acclaim and commercial success. Certainly, Cercas advantage of that talent again novelistic, that rhythmic precision seated in a sort of loop where the narrative account of events is not ashamed of a repetitive cadence, but, on the contrary, is becoming insistent narrative that although it seems to stop, not only advancing firmly, but serves as a means of affirming story in the reader's mind, as a kind of algorithmic sequence where 0 after 1 is not a retreat, but rather a mooring, a countdown to stabilize the account, all ultimately applied to detail the history of the phenomenon "quinqui" in the years of transition (the "quinquenio", if allowed the easy joke). Despite the nominal makeup, it is not unreasonable to think of El Vaquilla or El Torete as models of this El Zarco, absolute protagonist of the novel, seen through the eyes of a posh mate on raids, the police once stopped him and director of prisons more and worse came to suffer.
    But this narrative skill does not prevent an aftertaste masque permanent lack of conviction. And among other things I can think of two. The first is the structure of the novel, giving the history of El Zarco by a journalist interviewing those who treated him in order to write his biography, seeks escape from the conventional, the use of biography, and falls in the unnecessary, because in any case you get a multifaceted portrait and some testimonies come to seem superfluous. The image of El Zarco is uniform and the intervention of both the police and the prison director serves dramatic effects but side frames, shifting the main story of the center to the periphery. This would not be particularly reprehensible if not for the use of several voices produces a distancing effect that hampers the interest. Both Soldados de Salamina and Anatomía de un Instante portrayed characters, yes, but slaves of a situation, a historic moment that was over. In La Leyes de la Frontera no such momentous and, being as it is a portrait of character, may require a more intimate and less documentary. The second reason is a reason to try. We already know that good storytelling is not old, but it is easy to agree that the public who conquered Javier Cercas with Soldados de Salamina and Anatomía de un Instante was a mature audience of passing 40, interested in little known episodes of the Civil War or the political intricacies of a transition in many respects spooky. That same wisdom in the choice of subject could move to Las Leyes de la Frontera, a fresh sleeve side of seedy crime and social exclusion during the transition, but the use of pseudo-biographical character in El Zarco, rather delve into the dark side we overlooking the bright reflection coated paper. For too familiar, the story of El Zarco (or any time "quinqui" star) becomes repetitive, his adventures and misadventures are common place in the popular imagination and perhaps this is a story that should have been counted in 20 years.
    In short, Las Leyes de la Frontera offers the best of Cercas, his undeniable knack for attracting and keeping the reader's attention, but mistaken choice of anecdote and historical premise. Perhaps it is that, at bottom, is not the same to talk about kings than about "quinquis".

 

    Esteve [September 26, 2012]

CIUTAT OBERTA de TEJU COLE

CIUTAT OBERTA de TEJU COLE

    There is no better ally for sound than silence. One is nothing without the other. This discovery has served as the basis for musical art from its earliest manifestations to the present day, with experiments as extreme as the composer John Cage and his piece 4'33 ", in which an orchestra and audience gather in an auditorium for four minutes and thirty three seconds without the musicians to play a single note, in which, however, each of the above interpretation differs because the coughing, the creaking of the chairs, or the mere whisper of the rustling of clothes makes no two concerts alike. If the finding showed that Cage and absolute silence is impossible in music (can only be obtained by artificial means inside an anechoic chamber, and even there are identified serious sound and a sharp, from the nervous system and the blood circulation of who is in it), say in literature, which can only be obtained with the blank page and, you know, where there is no text literature.
   While admitting the impossibility of silence from the point of view of scientific rigidity, our daily operation parameters force us to accept the existence of something opposed to our perception of sound in musical mechanisms. If this is evident in the music, not so much in the literature. All this comes to mind of Ciutat Oberta, the first novel by Teju Cole, Nigerian-born American, winner of the prestigious PEN / Hemingway Award. Well, Ciutat Oberta is a novel in which the silence is as present as the sound. Performer invites us to walk with him in New York or Brussels, no matter where, because the type of observation from these random walks is unpretentious monumental criteria serves no articles, no need of architectural gems, no milestones urbanisms or cultural spectacle, but arises from the attention to detail insignificant, irrelevant minutiae, fleeting attention captured by sounds and images that, ignored, our life has become busy silences and mists. That crack in the bridge, that murmur of the surf, that thrill that comes from contact with the evening chill, serve to silence Teju Cole unnoticed, counterpoints to reflect on the world, both on the upper and History in on itself. This continues to be a novel of ideas, but they reach their magnitude contrast to these moments of wandering, in the same way that the sound asserts its identity in contrast to the silence. Intellectual novel, but nothing to do with the usual self-serving vision of American writers, most outstanding of his navel that looked centrifuge, but fifty-fifty heiress of the best European tradition and commitment anticolonial. And this without detriment to a deep knowledge of local history and geography class neighborhood. Thus, issues such as racism, Orientalism, or the clash of civilizations are treated from a dialogue, nothing at all exclusive demagogic, but not as you would the coward who avoids taking sides and would rather sit on the fence, but as the mediator alert to the possibility of finding a meeting point.
   Ciutat Oberta is an extraordinary novel, essential as are the novels of W.G.Sebald, who not in vain most critics have compared to Teju Cole, a different voice to most of the current narrative. Unlike the latter, in which nothing happens and nothing is said, in Ciutat Oberta nothing happens, but it speaks volumes. If it is silent (or worse, noise), it is heavenly music.

 

   Esteve [September 16, 2012]

SUBIR A POR AIRE de GEORGE ORWELL

SUBIR A POR AIRE de GEORGE ORWELL

     Two dates: 1939 and 1940. Being as we are animals chronological order should go, but our thinking to be subject to the laws of causation, we reverse the dates and start at the end. In 1940 George Orwell published an article entitled "Inside the Whale" (collected in the Spanish edition in the book El León y el Unicornio y Otros Ensayos, Debolsillo, 2010) in which, taking as its starting point the publication in 1935 Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller, delves into the state of contemporary English literature and confronts the validity of the postulates modernists (Joyce, Eliot, Lawrence) against new literary forms flagged by people like Auden, Spender and Isherwood. Roughly, the first were elitist, slaves of form and technique and remote from reality, and the latter, by contrast, were populist, committed and loyal to the Marxist idea of literature. According to Orwell, Tropic of Cancer represent a third way: to social degradation pose new uses compared to the old ways, the apparent need to align in a politically turbulent times, Miller's work is presented as a passive reflection of non-cooperation, of "not feeling the slightest urge to alter or control the process experiencing." Orwell quietism wonders if this is defensible and concludes that, at least, is preferable to the bombastic claim to truth engagés defenders.
   What does all this have to do with Subir a por Aire, published a year earlier work? As in the case it comes after the theory into practice. Subir a por Aire is simply the shaping novel of ideas that will expose a year later. The protagonist, a vulgar and mediocre round forty, immersed in midlife crisis, decides to break with routine and family ties and embarks on an ambitious project anything but common in vulgar and mediocre types: return to the past . This impulse is called nostalgia and reminiscing is like something radiant, full of happiness and pleasure, to which we must return to escape a threatening future. The past is the children and youth, a time bound inextricably to a place, the people familiar, the future is determined by an unhappy marriage, irresponsible fatherhood and a war looming. George Bowling, our man, is excited at the prospect of reliving his past coming back to a people who left never to return, experiencing those pleasures that brighten your memories and fulfilling the dreams we had twenty years earlier and never could make. Nothing matters of war hanging over his head. Only excited by the store to see his father, returning to the reservoir where fishing was happy, recognize familiar faces in the street atisbados old acquaintances. But although the tango says that twenty years is nothing, returning to the past is impossible, one encounters always present and Bowling is disappointing before, during and after your trip.
   And, nevertheless, lives in Bowling acceptance, like Jonah in the belly of the whale, in the dark, in a space large enough, certainly slave of its container, but isolated from the onslaught of reality. His world is moving, he don't knows to where, however comforted by the warmth and protection it offers its vital microcosm. The problem is that one always ends up, like Jonah, being violently expelled from the whale.

 

   Esteve [29 August 2012]

 

EL HOMBRE QUE AMABA A LOS NIÑOS de CHRISTINA STEAD

EL HOMBRE QUE AMABA A LOS NIÑOS de CHRISTINA STEAD

    "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.." A phrase, the beginning of Anna Karenina by Tolstoy, has boomed in the world of literary quotations. If Tolstoy was alive and he read El Hombre que Amaba a los Niños by Christina Stead, probably find a very new and unusual form of unhappy family. Tolstoy apart, are boundless literary examples that have portrayed family dysfunction with varying success, but if something Stead's novel differs from its predecessors and its followers is that most of them overlooking the conflict after a long journey from happiness to misery, while Stead family dissects the devastation that nuclear device installed in his heart and from the start. There is no progressive degradation of the coexistence that ends leading to poor family; here Pollitt family is born from the rubble.
    The main character, the "man who loved children," is Sam Pollitt, the axis about which move his wife and seven children and other relatives. It is certainly a man who loves children, a great entertainer, a unifying of childhood fantasies, channeling the enthusiasms, a real clown always aware of your audience. Of course, his understanding of the education of their children, largely inherited Thoreau's ideas, in no way resembles that his wife would consider appropriate. Instigator of a continuous party, holder of a domain total scenic family daily, creator of a particular communicative language that allows you to empathize with the children, is against a Puritan idealist, a dreamer of a better world, that he should take the lead ( not for nothing that his wife called the Grand-I-Am) and that in a massive eugenics apology would have to eliminate all weak and incapable. This ideological and existential chaos might seem a manifestation of a genius or a leader. In all, this amalgam of Sam Pollitt makes a real idiot, an idiot Nietzsche understood the way (which is but imitation of Dostoyevsky), ie, "a mixture of sublimity, and infantile disease." Above all childishness, this inability to interact with adults (even with his preteen daughter) differently from how it is handled with children: Sam Pollit is a man of a single record.
    El Hombre que Amaba a los Niños went unnoticed at the time of its publication in the 40's, in an America concerned about the World War by a contemplative nothing novel family institution. In the 60 was rescued and exalted (and compared to Tolstoy, oddly enough) by the poet Randall Jarrell. He returned back to the caverns of oblivion until a few years ago Jonathan Franzen (one that knows what he's talking when it comes to family crises) the claimed in an article in The New York Times. As if this were not enough, the guru Harold Bloom included it in his Western Canon. In this country, and not read the NYT (and what about its cultural pages) and as we read some Tolstoy and little Franzen (and nothing Bloom), Christina Stead's novel is yet to discover.
    P. S. Special mention to the translation. Difficult to translate into another language a language created expressly childish and avoid sounding corny. As in Llámalo Sueño by Henry Roth, which hampers the transfer dialect at first the pace of reading, Stead's novel also requires a slight warming up to reach cruising speed.

 


     Esteve [August 16, 2012]

AFORISMOS SOBRE EL ARTE DE SABER VIVIR de ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER

AFORISMOS SOBRE EL ARTE DE SABER VIVIR de ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER

    In these times of economic overexposure and media paranoia, philosophy seems deluded or an activity for dilettantes. Read philosophy has become an underground activity and almost shameful. Boast of having read the latest bestseller of the moment (of course, a novel, no matter if police, humourístic or erotic) gives a sort of social cachet and puts us in a position of equality with others. To suggest that we read philosophy shows boldness and brings looks of skepticism, misunderstanding or ridicule. Novels, essays economic, self-help books, biographies, soaring up the bestseller lists, lists that philosophy does not appear since the world is just as filthy. The novel serves to have a good time and escape from reality, the tests of economics used to have a hard time and immerse yourself fully on it, biographies serve ... well, not really know why. So where do we find the balance point, on the one hand, help us be better and, secondly, we are reconciled to the world and allow us to better understand, beyond the moment, the time in which we live? Some will say that self-help books fulfill this function, although all are truffled of pseudo-philosophy. Is that a serious analysis is impossible without falling into the trifle? Does not meet philosophy with these requirements without sacrificing rigor or depth? Or is that the average public does not have sufficient competence to understand minimally developed a system that overcomes the banality of "you can", the "good luck", or "carpe diem"?
    Schopenhauer has enjoyed a kind of mythical aura among laymen, more for the sound of his name by the popularity and scope of its teachings. Daring to El Mundo como Voluntad y Representación is a milestone for its apparent size and its apparent complexity. Over 1000 pages of philosophy and a system encompassing the world is gigantic task for the reader skilled in the intricacies of philosophy. But Schopenhauer outlines much of his thinking in these Aforismos sobre el Arte de Saber Vivir, affordable without being trivial. Despite its title, is not in the sense aphorisms pills strung individual but of ideas and architecturally sustainable and, as if its title indicates, seek to become more wise to address the difficulties that life spits in the face. Schopenhauer offers us his formula for happiness and distinguishes three levels: what you are, what you have and what you represent. What you are consists of what is intrinsic to the individual, his way of dealing with external events, attitude and intelligence with which external stimuli are received, their behavior in order. It is the most important in achieving happiness, because a cheerful and optimistic better than smooth and setbacks. What you have is made up of those means adequate to meet our needs, that is, the possessions that serve to satisfy our appetites. Of these, one can make more and less, depending on how ambitious our desires are frugal or what may be our natural impulses. What you mention is all that we represent to others, to the image you want others to have of us, and here come into play vanity, pride, honor and ambition superfluous in the great task of happiness. What you mention is discarded and valued at its true what you have, is what you are the cornerstone of true happiness, but a happy life must be based on a balance between pain and boredom, so that our inclinations not exceed the limits by excess or by default. It is just right where you find satisfying.
    These Aforismos sobre el Arte de Saber Vivir make us wiser, yes, happier, yes, more human, yes. Do not make us richer, not, not make us more powerful, no, not make us popular, no. These aphorisms will help us appreciate what we have within us and relativize everything that comes from outside (and this includes, of course, bailouts and risk premiums). Besides, someone said vacation and philosophy were incompatible terms?

 

    Esteve [July 26, 2012]

EL COLECCIONISTA de JOHN FOWLES

EL COLECCIONISTA de JOHN FOWLES

    A few days ago, Enrique Vila-Matas referred to in a newspaper article to the concepts of elephant novelist and termite  novelist(see El País, July 11, 2012), a stimulus sufficient to allow the nerve to continue with the animal simile in this chronicle. When you jump to read a novel, hopes to find the idea behind the event, that is, to discover the basic principle that fuels the story, the engine that drives thought the event that we are told. In sum, the author's philosophy behind the progression of events. In bad novels, the event precedes the idea, so easily suspect that the author gave birth to a story with no more claim than chaining a fact after another, though, so entertaining and entertainingly as possible, with the good intention entertain the reader, and to which only the narrative progression allows us to glimpse a message above when there is. These novels would be the hare, in which the plot is always ahead, incited some distance by the idea or, at worst, having no idea in pursuit. Then there are novels in which the representation of the world that inhabits the author, beliefs or principles that it possesses, in short, the philosophy that flag, is so firmly established that functions as a totem, a center established and anchored move around which the events and characters. These novels would-swarm, with a central mass unequivocally established, to which are added to or away from that individual elements without altering the essence and the group entity.
    This is a story of El Coleccionista, John Fowles debut novel. The plot is simple: a guy with a psychological deficit aparience although normally sequesters and locks in a basement to a young art student for whom he feels an attraction platonic. Having regard to the argument, it is understandable that critics and audiences clasificasen Fowles's book as a thriller or a thriller. Certainly, it would if it were a novel-hare, in which the interest in the final outcome was to feel the lure of a prisoner in the reading process. But El Coleccionista goes much further. Fowles treasures a world view and society emerging from each paragraph, a body irreducible characters which are added anecdotes and unconditionally, and that goes beyond the resolution of the alleged plot. Not surprisingly the later novels of Fowles delve into the same issues and concerns: the impossibility of communication between different social classes, subject to a hierarchy derived from the educational and cultural differences, conventionality and correctness as a cover of deep social psychological disorders, or concern about the use of language as a real barrier of separation between individuals. Hence, it can be concluded that El Coleccionista is a novel swarm, part of a clear and defined the social fabric that vertebra in a unifying philosophical and sociological assumptions of the author, and uses the events, situations and characters as unifying mortar.
    Suitable for an audience eager to intrigue, forbidden for anyone who feels no interest in human relationships, perfect for those who enjoy discovering, alien or not their own, different perceptions of the world we live.

 

    Esteve [12 of july 2012]

GOG de GIOVANNI PAPINI

GOG de GIOVANNI PAPINI

    There are writers who are like the Guadiana: now appearing in the market, now disappear from catalogs. A hastily made list would include people like Stefan Zweig, Andre Maurois, Heinrich Boll, GK Chesterton or the same Giovanni Papini, published the 60 and 70, missing and neglected during the following decades (and even considered outdated and pretentious), and recovered and labeled with the seal of excellence in the coming century XX. It must be a type of classic that are linked to the sign of the times.
    Giovanni Papini wrote not only novels, and stories, but as part of its production was aimed at stirring up controversy with religious biographies and treaties, first from atheism or Catholicism since then left no one indifferent. Gog is a late work, and while avoiding religious debate, has a messianic figure, omnipotent and omnipresent, who enriched so unlimited and economically dubious, enclosed in a psychiatric hospital for his questionable mental capacity and absolutely repulsive in its physical appearance (well, the worst possible together in one person: rich, crazy and ugly), tell us about his daily fragmented of all the interviews, knowledge and relationships, through the influence that money provides, has grown with individuals of all thinning. Thus, parade through these pages, from politicians and thinkers like Einstein, Freud, Lenin, Gandhi and Edison, the money available to open all doors, and take the opportunity to drop his speech to crazy anonymous offer their projects to delirious Gog billionaire hoping to receive funding and resources. But the anonymity or notoriety of the characters have only a nominal origin. Because if something stands out is the absolute equality between them, so, whether Einstein or a John Doe any, their history or their thinking is compressed into two or three sheets, extension limit of each chapter, in an attempt to dilute the borders between genius and madness, because they both say the most famous physicist in history as the first step, and both physical and passavolant, grabbing the edge of the speeches Paranoia or prophecy. And Papini, making imaginative ostentation, all mixes. Architecture, sculpture, historiography, religion, collecting, all aspects of human life is treated with a prescience Futurist becoming targets capdals simple drills that will become later in the world of art, literature and human behavior . It is not surprising that some of these findings and predictions have been the source in both the formal and funds, to great teachers as Italo Calvino, Jorge Luis Borges, Arreola, and Alejo Carpentier, in some of his works have taken as a starting point for some crazy projects in this book. The nature of precursor Papini is undeniable, as is the deconstructor "avant la lettre", because if something appears in each chapter is the desire to disassemble a concept established and strengthened to strictly, then recompose it and reuse it to maintain the essence and disfigured the presence. An example: Gandhi, a symbol of commitment and identification with the indigenous people of India, will respect the independence and emancipation of England imperialist, states  categorically that it is precisely the influence of British education and european culture that feed his revolutionary spirit, as opposed to the hackneyed image of Gandhi as a speaker transmitter Hindu spiritual values.
    And this is just one example among many. As a Houdini of the words, is disappearing Papini presets and preset ideas to make them appear to us differently and different place. Therefore, if we accommodate Gog with his hands, opening the first page already feel that start the show and echoed the slogan: Ladies and gentlemen, with you, the great Papini!.

 

    Esteve [July 3, 2012]

FLORES EN LAS GRIETAS de RICHARD FORD

FLORES EN LAS GRIETAS de RICHARD FORD

    There are too many writers who often theorized about literature and less those who dare to publish their views. Some have feared that his method is discovered and thus the ability to copy the trick; others not aware of any method to follow, prefer to hide in his work as if the method was already implicit in it. While the latter protects them right, because the final work is not simply the result of a predetermined plan and the consequence of a method and if it is not revealed, we can always, through the art of deconstruction, reaching glimpse of the mechanism, for the first no forgiveness possible, as it is known that imitate a literary style is as unproductive as copying a painting or musical style, which leads to the conclusion that, or do not have any method actually or, having it, they lack the self-esteem to make it known, implying that its disclosure would harm sales or fame, as if a literary theory out the formula for Coca-Cola.
    Richard Ford did not belong to any of these groups, but that smaller number of those who dare to theorize about their work, writing, and its history (it is also part of the process of acquiring competence literary) reading. In this league, and considering only the Anglo-Saxon, had displayed his clairvoyance characters such as Henry James, EM Foster, Virginia Woolf, Auden, Eliot or, more recently, Zadie Smith with its magnificent and undervalued Cambiar de Idea. Flores en las Grietas contains a number of articles published in literary journals or as prologues to works by other authors for the past 20 years, both literary and autobiographical, and on which, for purposes of the interest here, we will discuss only those more literary pedigree. For Richard Ford does have a theory: that in literature there are no theories that are worth. As a good American (though in this respect could also be a good French), he considers that to write, to read, we only submit to one principle: absolute freedom (a thought: why freedom, without being unique to any nation, always associated with some and never at all to others, and no need to name names?). That said, Ford believes that some small rules are necessary or convenient, more like a hint of a code whose decoding expand our possibilities, that as a step of unavoidable compliance. For writing, like reading, you must have an open mind, not subject to the restrictions imposed by interest groups or decalogues for beginners in bad creative writing courses. There, yes, some instruments that promote understanding and they alluded to in "La lectura", but agreed to state that many examples of the best literature often do not follow any rule established and this the main argument of "Por qué nos gusta Chéjov." In fact, someone who is fascinated by authors as varied as the same Chekhov, Eudora Welty, Sherwood Anderson or Tobias Wolff can not accept limitations imposed by rigid guidelines in the process of creation. Good literature transcends the fixed patterns and, as Ford says, a good start in a narrative can be diametrically opposed to another good start, like a good end could be conclusive and no other good end. As I read Ford's argument for why a story is excellent in "Introducción a 'The New Granta Book of the American Short Story,'" shredded the importance of beginnings, developments and final accounts, appeared to me image, which I think Ford would approve, chess, divided equally into three parts (opening, middle game and end), and in which there are multiple types of opening and all can lead to victory, provided that serve a strategy represented in the middle game and making available the tools needed to run a good ending.
    In summary, Flores en las Grietas is a hymn to freedom in creative writing, and although some people may seem that this is wishful thinking and that a literary work must be defended itself, welcome anyone who, like Richard Ford has something to say about his work and says it with style and intent.

 

    Esteve [June 17, 2012]

LA LLEBRE AMB ULLS D'AMBRE de EDMUND DE WAAL

LA LLEBRE AMB ULLS D'AMBRE de EDMUND DE WAAL

    A family biography can be a bore first. Tempts the curiosity to know the inner workings of the different generations, the greatness or meanness of its members and how to overcome adversity or achieved success. But to enjoy a good family life requires more than developing a complex family tree. It should be a good source material, that is, a family can actually have something that distinguishes it from others, an important part in the historical events that surround it and, of course, last but not least, a certain craft narrative of the author to give it to us to know. There have been good biographies of this kind: the Rothschilds, the Kennedys, the Wittgensteins, but all told from the outside, by authors excellently documented but non-sense of belonging that holds Edmund de Waal.
    
Edmund de Waal is descended, though his name does not indicate, Ephrussi family dynasty of bankers who once came to dominate European finance and rubbed shoulders with the cream of the continental gentry. The netsuke are miniature sculptures representing Japanese small scenes of everyday life, whose existence dates back to the sixteenth century. It may seem that this paragraph shall be cast by accident, but it is not. The above netsuke served throughout the book the narrative thread, as the family history begins with his gradual acquisition late nineteenth century to set up an estimable collection and ends with the recovery after World War II. The journey of netsuke by the late nineteenth-century Paris, the Vienna of the first half of the twentieth century and the Tokyo at the end of the century is a reference to portray anti-Semitism of the Dreyfus affair, the rise of Nazism and the annexation Austria or the consequences of defeat in Japan's empire. Certainly, the netsuke act as a cultural guide of the future of Europe, but also provide value, such as osmosis, small details, in a period in which they agree to attend to the minutiae with the same intensity with which one is overwhelmed to great facts. This allows travel on European history in a way ambivalent, with a double perspective, both microscopic and telescopic, attending both to the maxim that "small is beautiful" and the worldview that determines that the history can call History. All Renoir, Degas or Manet's family owned disappear in parallel with the disappearance of his fortune (as a prototype of the European Jew, the unlimited enrichment Ephrussi moved to mid-twentieth century to utter ruin as a result of the expropriation of property by reason of the Nuremberg Laws), but remain in inventory netsuke family because they can easily go hand in hand, hidden from the ambition of others, to survive the destruction and avoid external threats, a tribute to the resistance can be transplanted to the values ​​and dignity of the Ephrussi.
    
But if it is true that the starting material is succulent, in that the Ephrussi treasure a story worthy of the best sagas, that their involvement in more recent European history goes far beyond a high school participation, and that its rise and fall becomes a model of the happening of many of the families of Jewish origin, so is that Edmund de Waal, although very well intentioned enthusiasm and sensitivity born of consanguineous proximity is not a storyteller by trade and this causes that interest wane at times and suffers from stress literary laxity. An interesting file, a weak document.



    
Esteve [30 maig 2012]

LA PESQUISA de JUAN JOSÉ SAER

LA PESQUISA de JUAN JOSÉ SAER

    A few years ago appeared in the press a list involving prestigious critics and in which selected the 100 best novels in Spanish for the past 25 years (http://www.cafeliterario.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=523&Itemid=346). Along with established names (García Márquez, Vargas Llosa, Javier Marías and Enrique Vila-Matas) coexisted other almost unknown, especially for the European reader, as Jorge Gómez Jiménez, a Venezuelan, or Diamela Eltit, from Chile. Beyond being token presences, the significance lies in the number of occurrences of the authors with different works. So, Javier Marías (4 works), Roberto Bolaño (3 works), García Márquez (3 works) monopolize the top positions, but at his side as the authors are now at hand, Juan Jose Saer, with 3 selected works.
    
La Pesquisa is a detective story but it isn't a crime novel. How do you cook this? Hard to explain without further events that may reveal surprises the reader want to find out for yourself. Just say the detective story draws on more traditional sources of novel research, born with Poe and his character Auguste Dupin, reinvented with Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, and carried to its extreme in a story by Jorge Luis Borges. The deductive method is imposed, but Saer envelops it in a psychoanalytic mist, an exhibition gore and a gritty realism poetic that him away at times of their illustrious predecessors. And here I can't read more yet. Now, why is not a crime novel? Because it is much, much more, than a thriller, just as Don Quixote is more, much more, than a novel of chivalry. This is not a novel by gender because the storytelling transcends the mere detective story, a bit like that Roberto Bolaño incorporates intrigue that far outweigh the detective novel, who can not be reduced to a noir plot because, although the plot is actually present and is a keystone of the novel, is just a minor planet orbiting larger ones. The same is true of the style: some concise narrative, fully adequate to the needs of the genre, and sometimes lives is subsumed into a kind of Proustian syntax, convoluted and ornamental, so that the two styles cohabit in the same way as oral and written live in a superior being, which is language. And this is not acceptable, because in La Pesquisa orality is literary, as the Homeric story of the Iliad is the embodiment written a story transmitted orally, which know their reliability but not their iconic value (of course, speak here of the Iliad or the conflict between truth or lie and direct or indirect knowledge is entirely appropriate, as the reader will discover). In short, this is the kind of criticism that no one would want to do because little can be said without violating the innocence needed to be surprised. Moreover, as this is over, it is permissible to say that this is the kind of criticism that no one should read, or at least not before enjoy reading this wonderful novel is La Pesquisa.
    
Oh, I forgot: of the three novels selected Saer in the list above, La Pesquisa is not one of them.


    
Esteve [May 14, 2012]

UN HOME INVISIBLE de RALPH ELLISON

UN HOME INVISIBLE de RALPH ELLISON

    There are novels that are authentic treatises on sociology. Beyond a plot or characters champions committed to certain values, focus their development as if it were a claim to change the status quo of the moment they appear. If the twentieth century has seen a revolutionary momentum novel, a novel which has transmitted its message as a shout that simultaneously says Help! and Stop!, with the momentum of protest arising from the bowels, this novel is, without doubt, a Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man.
    I
nvisible man transcends its title and is transformed into a concept defining the status of black men in the U.S. of mid-twentieth century. The black American of the 40 and 50, before the conquest of civil rights and progressive recognition of their equality with the white man, was seen as well as an invisible man. View an invisible man may seem counterintuitive, but the meaning of the phrase entertains the idea that the true perception of the existence of blacks, the only possibility of recognition and respect from the whites, went through to keep his voice and continue to suffer the daily submission without showing a hint of rebellion. The black quiet, respectful of the hierarchy imposed by whites, freed from the oppression of slavery, but an accomplice of a new state of servitude, was the black well, which would be treated with respect and provided explicitly or tacitly admit ( never mind, the two roads serve the same purpose) the desirability of acceptance of the real state of things as long as he had clear who is who in the power relationship, as long as the black him realize he was playing in another league, they could reach the upper strata of the social scale, but in this case the reference point would not be white but the black world, a world that exists beyond the magnanimity and benevolence of the white world. White people can create black universities to appoint respectable black citizens for the lead, can create companies that depend to thrive on the ability of a black inmate in departments that are subterráneos. But concessions are granted generous privileges from the superiority , as the feudal lord was the vassal, or as the chef with the servant. Vassals, servants, black, all with the wisdom of survival and fear of retaliation, they know how to behave, following the instructions, compliments and thanking unnoticed. ¿Unnoticed? Well, it seems that we are already near invisibility.
    
Finally, Ralph Ellison says no to all that and raises his voice to be visible. His cry and all those who joined him in all social and cultural fields and in the present case, literary (Richard Wright, James Baldwin or Ishmael Reed, among others), allowed to reverse the situation and something give the possibility to get to see, yeah, see, a black citizen, not only as full citizen, but as President of the United States of America. Perhaps because of the implications this itself is the great American novel.



    
Esteve [2 Maig 2012]

ELS PEIXOS NO TANQUEN ELS ULLS de ERRI DE LUCA

ELS PEIXOS NO TANQUEN ELS ULLS de ERRI DE LUCA

    Children and learning are two terms that go hand in hand. At first it is a union, that take place both through the early and formative experiences is considered natural. Over time, however, just mutual coexistence enturbiándose, either because the child is subject in all cases a time limit, either because learning ceases, as a rule, for lack of will and indifference excess. The bottom line is that what we learn in childhood remains fixed in our memory in a more vehement and survive the tyranny of oblivion more rebellion. So, we all remember the first kiss, first dance, the first trip or the first drunk, because they tend to be linked to childhood experiences and because they teach us something about life that will serve as a guideline for subsequent procedures.
    
Erri de Luca novel learning stage of a young man in what could have been any one summer, but summer will be the one in which all happen: first love, the first fight, the first disappointment, the first notions of justice, faithfulness and suffering. The 10 years have been years of leading theory of language learning to communicate and to meet and literature, both language and literature, have been sources of knowledge of the workings of life, so that his idea of human instincts have been shaped by reading and grammar. But life is something else, hatching theoretical to the practical reality allows you to collate the true value of words and their real meaning beyond novels and dictionaries. Childhood is the germ of all that is, the nursery where the child is fed to model what will be the man and in this sense, literature and life share their truths to set the adult who knows how to absorb them.
    Els peixos no tanquen els ulls
in style betrays its author, a Erri de Luca, former mason and former truck driver, who writes as he has lived, shock, realizing that the experiences you are, but they are nothing without the body of theory that give the books and their learning potential. Hence, writing, translation of lived experience to the role, is a double form of truth, an amalgam between the street and the letter, and what better way to capture that truth doubly backed that with a resounding style, dry, nothing rhetoric, in which every sentence is a final statement that leaves no room for doubt. The past exists, the child is there, but the possibility that fade over time or suffer the vulnerability of the doubt, writing strictly says that this happened and that happened in that particular way, without frills or hesitations, with granting authority to say firmly and briefly brevity sign.
    
A great discovery for those who have ignored Erri de Luca and an incentive to recover what has been published and eagerly await further evidence of his talent that his memory to fix in our memory.



    
Esteve [19 April 2012]

FACTURES PAGADES de MANUEL FORASTER

FACTURES PAGADES de MANUEL FORASTER

    Memories or rememberings? It is easy to confuse the two concepts: the past we have experienced has many faces. Well, maybe not. What there is many ways to explain the past. As Walter Benjamin said when he assure that the memory is based on a kind of historical repetition, ie, argument presupposes a narrative in which there is a pathway that leads to a linear in that the events are strung from a chronological way. However, the rememberings become the result of an investigation of past events in which they dance in a line that separates what is individual to what is collective, so the continuity is interrupted and the prevailing story above history.
    
Factures Pagades exemplifies what we name dropping, "Anglo-saxonism" which describes the procedure based on the indiscriminate accumulation of names in a speech. Manuel Foraster writes memoirs in a book that does not name any memoirs. May opt for the classic style, in which the events occur one after another and little stories become chronological steps that once united and coupled, leading to a solid and comprehensive integrated into a single past a past collective, so that particular portrait reveals a common generational, Foraster decides to engage in this more contemporary procedure called name dropping, "thining" the theme and peppering their lives with a host of names. The overwhelming excess does not stop at the names of people or places, but in picking names of works of art (literature, painting, music, ...), in lyrics or in recipes, without any regret in the whole of paragraph use in other languages, mainly Italian and French (or not!, coming from Can Culapi). Factures Pagades becomes a sentimental education, a catalog of individual pieces numbered, "forasterianes" in the sense that they reflect exclusively a life, his one, with their own experiences and transferable, with which we can feel identified, not emotional reasons, community or collective identity, but for the complicity of the tête a tête common denominator. If one begins to read and need to land too often in Wikipedia or Catalan Encyclopaedia wrong affair. This book will enjoy much more the more people recognize how many places we are most familiar, the more we understand language, the more books we read. The accumulation of names will become profitable in that it recognizes them as a sect which dominates the secret jargon or the co-collector, who receives the recognition of specialists, while the profane but admire the promiscuity observed indifference exhibited by the variety. Even the game allows connaisseur exercise that allows to know the name what has not been granted (why not, Pepe Pepe Sancho Sancho and "the most critical critic of the gauche qui rit that, exceptionally, only quote three times the name of his father "is not Joan de Sagarra?).
    
In short, an excellent and risky scrapbook of a Sabadell man cultured and refined, to whom life has passed this bill or at least is clear from the title chosen. I disagree. With a cultural and experiential background as it explains, would be a more appropriate title style "Rebuts cobrats". Foraster seems so much a creditor to a debtor. If Goethe said that, in a creative spirit, the first 35 years should have to live life theme, and since then the goal should be to translate these experiences into a work, late outsider, but with the promise of good omens.



   Esteve
[April 4, 2012]

AIRE DE DYLAN de ENRIQUE VILA-MATAS

AIRE DE DYLAN de ENRIQUE VILA-MATAS

    This review will look as it is not. Because it will have a negative and a positive part, and the refusal will occupy more space and will be more unblemished than the positive. And you know: a stain on the tablecloth draws much more attention than the vast whiteness that surrounds it.
    Vila-Matas is a guy with style. Recognizable, virtuous, immediately identifiable, it is hard to resist his narrative, because from the beginning grabs the reader's attention and specialist twist, redoubled interest stories within stories, as if it were a Russian matrioska, a bit like "austeriana" but with an own pedigree and non-transferable. Aire de Dylan grows like a balloon, its first 150 pages are huge in the art to fill the vacuum and the air grows the container, the story exalts the blank page. But the globe live under their destiny: either bursts or deflates. And the novels of Vila-Matas are just going a bit the same.
    I repeat: the first 150 pages are immense and, in turn, are a complete failure. But the most successful flop to which to aspire, for Vila-Matas, wanting to document the failures loudest in history, intending to play a conference on the failure of such a failure that causes the flight of the whole audience, just failing miserably it does nothing but increase the interest in the development of history. In short, the failure results in the most daring achievement. Full of explicit references (Hamlet, the classic Hollywood film, Scott Fitzgerald), other more veiled (Joe Gould and his secret, Marienbad and summer, Chateaubriand and his memoirs), Aire de Dylan just what that suffering in sin is repentance. Because so self-referential, intertextual nod to both, get the maximum, an intensity that works in the manner of bribery. The reader has been entertained so that is delivered unconditionally. But bribes tend to lead any wrongdoing and, in this case, the wrongdoing of Vila-Matas is that of offering a lot for giving little away. Because when it leaves the world of stories to enter the world of ideas you suffer a little disappointment. Not that Vila-Matas lack of skill and depth to expose their theories (the eternal quarrel between ancient and modern, the increasing physical and intellectual sloth, a la "oblomovista", new generations, the conflict between ownership and authenticity), but accidentally ends up distorting the essence. The anecdotal acquires the force of principle engine that walk on all cylinders until the novel from the momentum is weakened when the fundamental ideas, fueled by the fuel of the meeting and mention must defend themselves. Aire de Dylan loses air (forgive the pun), is weakened, and the balloon is deflated, and all for one reason: because the initial fuel, fast and explosive combustion, gives way to a fuel less effect. Only this imbalance can be attributed to the feeling that the novel has more than enough pages and no ideas, short of sprint and not of power.
    That said, a warning: in life mistakes are made by act or omission. Do not read Vila-Matas is certainly one of the greatest errors of omission that one can commit. Reading, by contrast, is never a mistake.

 

    Esteve [March 24, 2012]

SERENA de DOLORS GARCIA I CORNELLÀ

SERENA de DOLORS GARCIA I CORNELLÀ

     In Serena, we are facing a historical novel that takes us to Barcelona in the fifteenth century through a journey full of emotions that we do not stop to read it easily.
     On Candelaria's Day in the year 1428 Barcelona suffered a major earthquake caused, among other things, the collapse of the rose window of the church of Santa Maria del Mar. Serena gets, unlike a lot of people loved her, to save themselves. The price you pay is very high. At just 14 years, must take charge of all her sisters, who are seven, and a business that should work anyway.
     Will the desire to do things well and the unconditional support of Gelvira the best recipe to get pass all that fate has prepared.
     In Serena there are very important values ​​such as solidarity, the drive, the ability of hard work, among others. If the fifteenth century there was room for all these values​​, as they could be blurred, some of them, in only 6 centuries?

 

     Isabel [19 March 2012]

EVA BRAUN de HEIKE B. GÖRTEMAKER

EVA BRAUN de HEIKE B. GÖRTEMAKER

    This biography of Eva Braun we uncover Hitler's inner circle and intrigue in order to become a favorite of Eva and so access for Hitler. Thanks to the character, we describe the women of the leaders in the Nazi world, often went unnoticed, and we are told of their secrets and those of their husbands.

     Much is also Berghot, the vacation / rest of Hitler, where he was more open, in contrast to the world of Berlin, where policy was.

     In short, a good book to learn the intimate setting of Hitler.




     Carles [17 March 2012]

LA LIBRERÍA AMBULANTE de CHRISTOPHER MORLEY

LA LIBRERÍA AMBULANTE de CHRISTOPHER MORLEY

    The literature is as a crystal. There is opaque, translucent and there is no transparent. Opaque literature is one in which transmitted the message you hope is absolutely hidden and buried under an excess of verbiage, by a mismatch between idea and realization or, in short, because of the inexperience of the author. Is usually bad literature. The translucent is that we would call literature in which the thought or thoughts that are intended to convey to the reader does not show so clear but are partially visible through the narrative devices and require a supplemental interpretive effort to get the gist reveal of the matter. This used to be good literature. Finally, transparent literature is built with the clear intention to communicate clear principles, values ​​or a few concerns and no formal structure can remove the reader of his discovery. In these cases, there is usually good literature and having usually poor too.
    La Librería Ambulante is a paradigmatic case of transparent literature. Transparency begins with the argument. A globetrotter who travels the villages and towns with a carriage full of books for sale on the farm lands and agrees to transfer its business to a spinster bored with her domestic routine and eager for adventure. This shift will be the source of a sort of road-novel, in which our heroine will be immersed in a series of adventures to be partakers of his brother, a writer accustomed to the care of a careful and competent housewife, and the former owner, a talkative salesman in many ways poorly tanning busy. In the manner of Mark Twain, Christopher Morley draws his characters to make them clearly recognizable: the resentful and helpless brother, sister eager to be innocent in a hostile and alien world, and the seller, naughty but honest through and through. But if this novel is really clear is that the whole shell is far to disperse the reader's attention about the true intentions of the author. Moreover, all incidents are chained to show a teaching, a lesson that will serve the players to return to its true channel, and the reader, of course, to discover moral values ​​that serve as models of integrity.
    Some notes of morality: the woman is subjected to slavery from which you are entitled to free, the acquisition of a trade requires expertise that only give the years, there is a book for everyone, only to find out what; appearances deceive, love is not born of sight but of mutual understanding, the home is a space that is difficult to give up completely, and finally, (and this is known from Don Quixote) literature should be given at the right dose or may get mad.
    La Librería Ambulante is one of those delightful books in the sense of the term peaceful peacefully. There is no room for bad humor, for treachery, for lack of finesse. Everything is innocently reverent, rhythmic outrageously, boringly interesting and, above all, delicately transparent. One runs the risk of thinking that the world is like that and risk the thud of reality, but in any case this type of literature makes us less cynical and more human.

 

    Esteve [March 12, 2012]

ENTRE LOS ARCHIVOS DEL DISTRITO de KENNETH BERNARD

ENTRE LOS ARCHIVOS DEL DISTRITO de KENNETH BERNARD

    Improbable reader (tribute to Rodriguez Rivero Saturday column in El País), are you one of those not easily digested than the supermarket and the cashier never give thanks? Of those who do not support you are given the change in bills and coins along with the ticket at an all matted? Of those who complain that not help you bag the products, or that, if so, suffer when he did not follow any methodology and heavy products are stacked on top of fragile? Of those who are outraged by having to push products on the conveyor belt when the cashier should be done which reach the box? Are you one of those who hate tape modules with "S" used to regulate queues at airports or bank branches? Did those who would prefer to choose the employee who will attend and which are assigned by random distribution organized? Are you for that, when you get home or leave it, you feel observed by the neighbor to detect a slight click in the window of his door? If so, in whole or in part, welcome to the wonderful novel by Kenneth Bernard.
    
Because Entre los Archivos del Distrito, the only novel by Kenneth Bernard, a prolific author in theater and poetry, is a despairing cry against the progressive bureaucratization of modern society. Written in 1992 and now translated by the Editorial Errata Naturae in its exemplary collection El Pasaje de los Panoramas, Entre los Archivos del Distrito is an attempt to demonstrate the immediate future with the arguments of this closer. In a manner similar to Orwell's 1984, not about going to the recurring figures of robots, spaceships, genetic engineering or distant planets to describe a threatening future. Just focus on the vices and defects of modern society to follow the results in that they will lead. As someone said, the future is already here. And is that cities have already become a threat by progressive associalitation, that he was born so that men will relate has been transformed into a wild scene in which one can not trust your neighbor, a powerful entity in which all data is processed so that any parcel of intimacy remains intact, in a stifling theater where kindness, education and solidarity have yielded to suspicion, suspicion and accusation. What can I say, if not, burial clubs, founding cells of this new society in which people are grouped according to age and life expectancy at the expense of their affinity or empathy, replaced when they die by other in the same range in the same manner that the workpiece is supplied to one other car of the same nature? The city and the social relations that hosts evolve and become emaciated mechanism in an administrative state in which any act is filed with the complicity of its own citizens, active and passive subjects of this golem bureaucratic. Given this is only the flight as a solution. Freedom lies far from the city and is only acquired by renouncing the social contract and embrace misanthropy.
    
Kenneth Bernard is a champion of nonconformity. Although his character seem weak, anonymous and insignificant, their small subversions, its silent sabotage and resistance to the totalitarian machinery show a crack through which overlooks the hope of a better world than the sum of small revolutions faced with the possibility of desire victory engulfing the state apparatus. Have you ever suffered from the indifference of an official, a cashier's antipathy or contempt of a bank employee? Alert citizens of the world. This may be the first sign of oppression.

    
Esteve [February 24, 2012]

GÓTICO CARPINTERO de WILLIAM GADDIS

GÓTICO CARPINTERO de WILLIAM GADDIS

    Background: Let's talk about the crisis. 1985. Another time, the same crisis. Gaddis, hound of human weaknesses, sniffs an economic crisis and is on the hunt for those responsible. Few novel characters, all are related in one way or another with the economic crisis because no one can establish itself as a champion of honesty, all appear as necessary partners guilty or a loss of values ​​contributing to the collapse of economic certainty. One type, called a vivales Paul, not good for nothing, lacking scruples and hustler by necessity, riding a financial network whose flag is a phony preacher who seeks to elevate as the new messiah on earth and is intended to remove some economic benefits in the form of donations and grants. Upstart as few lives with his wife in a rented house gothic's carpenter style ("all designed from the outside, (...) first and then drew the apañaban that would fit the rooms"), and it requires total submission to their projects, including starting compensation insurers to periodic forcing and humiliating medical examinations to diagnose a failure to "comply" in marriage (?) following an accident. Open another front: the representation of a portion of the paternal inheritance unjustly birlada cree. The house belongs to McCandless, a character you start feeling sympathy, worship, book reader, attentive and polite, a geologist in Africa and occasional novelist, and producing just dislike, mysterious past, suggested as a spy and destabilizing governments. All delivered to one cause: to thrive and get out of this economic benefit. Heroes of the bubble economy in different roles, some people put water, some people put the soap and some people simply blow. The result: the bubble.
    
Form: Let's talk about autism. Another time the same confinement. Gótico Carpintero is a dialogic novel in that what is missing is dialogue. Gaddis avoids practically builds descriptions and situations based on continuous dialogue, a give and take absolutely false because the characters used to communicate, an outrage infinite, eternal babble in spoken but not heard, in the that the argument is made accessible to pieces, a sentence here, another there, who is slowly making intelligible the fact of the matter, and, above all, which manifests a complete lack of empathy between the characters, people of his own world that you drop like a glove the term "gothic's carpenter" facade hides intricacies of the human being uninhabitable, the apparent strength and composure of the individual fades when it enters the rooms of the soul. A symbol: the initial description of children playing baseball with a dead pigeon, a dove, representing peace and universal love, limp beaten, abused and battered doll for the enjoyment of beings who can not distinguish between good and evil or, worse, who prefer evil because it can extract some revenue. McCandless himself, a guy apparently full, we were just showing how a trickster, a trilero that hides and shows at will, and to be distrusted. Another symbol: the phone, always playing, working to make more fruitful distance communications at the expense of personal communication, ie communication.
    Gótico 
Carpintero is a difficult novel, which forces the reader to strive, but amply demonstrates that for a heating post really only need two things: the effort of the transmitter (in this case a huge Gaddis) and effort the receiver (in this case an eager reader an intelligent and rewarding).

    Esteve [February 17, 2012]

QUE NADIE SE MUEVA de DENIS JOHNSON

QUE NADIE SE MUEVA de DENIS JOHNSON

    It shows. Feel. Tarantino is present. For those who need a word to get an idea of ​​the content or style of a book, with one will suffice: Tarantinian. Denis Johnson is not exactly an author who lacks personality, style vulgar imitator of others, photocopier unscrupulous or repeater without imagination. Quite the contrary, his work stands out for its originality indisputable able to delve into sordid environments and marginal characters (Ángeles Derrotados) or capture the American stupidity in the Vietnam War (Árbol de Humo) with a voice and not transferable. Any of his previous works away from the stereotypes and clichés in a way so obvious that it becomes difficult to determine what influences has been fed or has drunk from what sources. Certainly one can associate with Faulkner or make parallels between his narrative and Cormac McCarthy, but they are still more affinities than acquired automatisms. But here and now, Denis Johnson has decided to engage in gender and literature, you know what happens to gender, or is male or female is.
    
Of course, we are talking about a crime novel and, of course, the types are very males and females are very females. Of course, the conflict is money we do not know where it comes from or who owns it. Of course, a main character halfway between innocence and evil slime becomes involved in a history of debts, gambling, and trusts. Of course there are minor injuries, serious injuries and injury deaths. Of course, there are good and bad, but neither have any regard for ethics and morality, which is difficult to distinguish between these and those. Of course, the pursuers are taciturn and of few words, while the persecuted are loquacious and sarcastic. Of course, there are car chases, shootings and bed scenes, alcohol, snuff and music. But despite all that assumes that the landfill would be needed for a story can be classified as noir, Denis Johnson shows his literary personality with some sparkling dialogue ("'There are trees to make and sell- he said. -Is that why they call forest. "), a concise descriptions and little or no   descriptive (" The numbers on the radio said they were 10.10. Aces and zeros. ") and a sense of humor caustic ("What's your name, miss? -Mary. Do you? -Fuck. -I thought so."). In short, a personal touch that so permeates the story that keeps discern a novel kind of all other novels of Denis Johnson. Perhaps it is that the essence of Denis Johnson is the pulp and, after inoculation to previous stories more literary scaffolding, apply it in Que Nadie se Mueva with all their packaging novel.
    Que Nadie se Mueva
might be called "Let no one yawn" because the pace is frenetic and the reader has no time to think about the rhythm of your breath. There is another possibility when the player answers the question "- What plans are there?-The moment the plan is that I can not go back and I can stay here. The plan now is that."
    
Well, I said, always forward.


    
Esteve [February 10, 2012]

VIDA DE ESTE CHICO de TOBIAS WOLFF

VIDA DE ESTE CHICO de TOBIAS WOLFF

    This Boy's Life is a landmark title in the vein of literary imagination teenager. Next to The Catcher in the Rye, is one of those titles that refer to the universe of the young and rebellious, beyond its significance and its representative nature, enjoy a well-known literary quality. Tobias Wolff, son of separated parents, told in first person the vicissitudes of his relationship with his mother, roaming in search of an adoptive parent and the resources used to capture the affection of an absent parent or to mitigate the scorn of an adoptive parent omnipresent. Clashes with their elders, their negligence in studies, their eagerness to escape, get away from an overwhelming and oppressive reality, are reaching a spiral of violence that ends with his escape from family ties and his admission to a preparatory school (something and a senior high school). No wonder that this is a way of referral is in all those novels dealing with the teenage years, whether as a role model for young people yearning to breathe free, either as recommended reading by teachers to their pupils with the intention that serve as an intergenerational approach (recently, "Miss Hempel" by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum uses This Boy's Life as an intermediary between her reading and her students).
    In an interview with the magazine Paris Review, Tobias Wolff acknowledges that the term "memory" that accompanies the title in the English original (This Boy's Life: a Memoir) is not completely true, because it would suggest that what counts in the novel is real and this need not be so. He admits that he began writing the This Boy's Life without knowing he was writing a memoir, was sketching only small excerpts from autobiographical roots based on events that occurred many years ago. Remember the fear felt by giving read the manuscript to his mother, co-star of the story, and his haste to see the reaction it caused. Finally, relieved to see the positive reception it has not been embellished or disfigured sense, is convinced that, beyond the fidelity of memory, the important thing is to play it a credible and believable. Because, basically, what prevents a guy capable of lying compulsively, to deny the established facts and reasonable charges, to deploy a dual personality to autobautizarse Jack for two or three years that pass during the novel to finish recovering its real name, Toby, only when control leaves the family and seems to want to start a new life more mature and responsible, which prevents, again, those memories come to us unadulterated, mediated, softened, sweetened or made worse? Does the author, thirty years after the fact, can you tell the truth, or simply the nebula of a truth?
    This Boy's Life inaugurated what has been called the "memory boom" in contemporary fiction. From there cutting proliferate autobiographical stories, but few are close to the freshness, boldness and rage of This Boy's Life.

 

    Esteve [January 31, 2012]
   

EL ORIGEN DEL MUNDO de PIERRE MICHON

EL ORIGEN DEL MUNDO de PIERRE MICHON

    Pierre Michon is usually a writer of short distances. His novels tend to be of little long but very wide and undeniable depth. It seems that this limits the dimensional impact of his work, but nothing is further from the truth. His novels, their stories, in short, his entire narrative is built on a three-dimensional without many of the contemporary works. Just as 3D photography and 3D movies are nothing without a bulky glasses that highlight equip the representation, the 3D nature of the work of Michon requires an essential complement: the maximum attention of the reader. And it is the absolute king Michon in the statistics as to possession of the adjective. Its domain is such that it seems to play without goals, does not yield to the impulse shocking sake of argument, inimitable characters, exposure-development-conclusion (literary 4-3-3). In summary, for the goal. Their priority is the virtuosity, the view from each of the sentences, each play as an end in itself, in which the result is the sum of the fragments and not just the final taste left by the last page. Is imposed so overwhelming for her mastery of language and for its ability to transform individual experiences into true universal models of mythical characteristics.
    El
Origen del Mundo, no literal translation from the French La Grande Beune, deals with compulsive sexual attraction felt by a young teacher by the tobacco girl from a village in the French interior, next to the caves of Lascaux. The scenario is not trivial because all history is steeped in atavistic primitivism very consistent with the mythology surrounding the behavior and rituals of our prehistoric ancestors. Thus, the village tavern resembles the Neolithic caves, both in function and in the shelter as a meeting to celebrate the victory of man over animals; the atmosphere that hangs over the inhabitants, constant rain mode flood and inclement cold as the rest of last glaciation, remember the weather of thousands of years ago; the same tobacconist, object of desire of the protagonist, appears as a totem, goddess worshiped in need, defiled women in everyday life, piece of game hunted to feed the sacrificial ritual. This sexual obsession contaminates the whole novel so that the original French title, alluring to the reader little Spanish, rightly becomes El Origen del Mundo, voluntarily or involuntarily imitative from the scandalous at the time of Courbet's painting of the same title which shows a close up sex female (in English has also chosen the title The Origin of the Wold).
    
Michon is modern, away from the kind of classic storytelling, raw language on the story, avoid the clichés and conventions, is reluctant to tell the old story of the way to go long abjured the beaten track. But yes, Michon tells the story always in the sense that it is a universal story, recognizable in all countries and cultures in all times and places and, especially, in force since the beginning of time. What better way to tell who wrap themselves with representations of myths, iconography and human types as old as man himself. Michon Welcome to the world, welcome to a universal Michon.

 

    
Esteve [January 17, 2012]

EL PUÑO INVISIBLE de CARLOS GRANÉS

EL PUÑO INVISIBLE de CARLOS GRANÉS

    I just read El Puño Invisible and encounter Vargas Llosa's article in El Pais annotating the book has been all one. In the praise of Vargas Llosa about the Carlos Granés's book no reply. Talking about what is the subtitle, "Art, Revolution and a century of cultural changes," ie, all those arising from the early avant-gardes of the twentieth century with the aim of changing the world or at least turn the tide art, in a little over 450 pages is a herculean effort. Carlos Granés perform their duties with commendable precision. Futuristic parade through these pages, Dadaists, Surrealists, Situationists, beat generation, Provo, hipsters, lyricists and minimalist, to name only those groups that received some recognition in the form of name, together with a series of derivatives by a reason or another, not coalesced enough to become baptized. All movements of these movements (redundancy necessary to capture the dynamism of the art of the last century) are reflected in its smallest details, from its birth as a slide show or manifest until its dissolution or termination, to its climax or peak moments , when it seemed they could be installed as artistic references of his time. Never one hundred years had been bad. Or for as little as Vargas Llosa, because it is the conclusion of his article defining my own conclusion: some of them, him or me, has not understood anything.
    Vargas Llosa considers that this, all these vanguards born with the intention to overthrow the established system (as indeed has happened since the beginning of time), ended up burying the creative spirit of Western art and literature, destroying "the royalties, patterns and tables of values ​​that were regulated by cultural life. " That is, the emergence of these artistic movements "finished them off with nothing to replace and since we live in this vein, in utter confusion." The worst of this analysis is not to be true or false, but that does not conform to the reality that emerges from the epilogue of Carlos Granados. True that much is spent in the exuberance of detail and falls short in its conclusions, extroverted anecdotes and too timid in the result. But I do not think at all, be as cataclysmic (to use a word of Vargas Llosa in the article in question) as a glimpse of the recent Nobel Prize. In truth, the whole story shows the feeling that all attempts to renew the avant-garde art and changing the world (according to the ambition of their claims) were doomed to failure because the failure of its founders and managers to thread a speech realistic for these purposes and the rejection that their tactics, from subversion to terrorism, resulted in cultural circles in particular and society in general. But it implies, among the welter of provocations and outbursts that are recorded in the book, that every failure left a deposit in artistic sensibility of the moment and each solution fertile ground for the appearance on stage of a new group. As it could be otherwise, the history of art has been a constant revolutions and counter-consiguente, a monster that has been driven by this engine moving fueled action and reaction. I think a lot in part and Vargas Llosa all forget that all the artistic movements of the past that extol today (Renaissance, Baroque, Romanticism, Impressionism ,...), revolutions were once not understood by his contemporaries and branded as " trifles "(to continue glossing Vargas Llosa). The very fact that the very Garcés completed in a certain direction his criticism to the current state of the art, but it's inability to diagnose the current state of literature, does nothing to certify that probably lack the necessary perspective to evaluate what and pervivirá how all these attempts at cultural regeneration. What distinguishes our age from all the above is probably the notoriety that today's media have given each and every one of the artistic movements, so we think that the overabundance of "groups, factions and sects" has acted on the cultural field so that, so eager to see fruitful seed, the disappointment of failure makes us believe they have left the sterile field.
    Where is pessimistic but prudent Garcés, Vargas Llosa is alarmist and reckless. I want to be realistic and well informed (if possible counteract the joke) and, with the latter, is largely thanks to the magnificent portrait that provides El Puño Invisible.

 

    Esteve [December 30, 2011]

ZAZIE EN EL METRO de RAYMOND QUENEAU

ZAZIE EN EL METRO de RAYMOND QUENEAU

    There are novels that are an offer. They have so many records that can be said that one acquires several novels into one, like that advertised promotions 2 x 1. Zazie en el Metro is a work of multiple records, to which one must deal with the knowledge that a single reading is not enough and the mission and duty to delve into the many facets that underlie the text. Nothing surprising if we consider that Raymond Queneau, in another of his works indispensable, was able to create a sonnet, by dint of being deployed and combined in numerous ways, eventually led to thousands of different sonnets (the book in question is called Cent mil milliards de poèmes and has been honored recently by several authors in the volume of the Editorial Demipage called Cien mil millones de poemas).
    In Zazie en el Metro are all. Zazie is a suburban girl who comes to Paris with the illusion of traveling by subway and find how to hitch a strike that prevented the realization of his desire (novel of initiation). Zazie, accompanied by his uncle Gabriel, know the Paris of the street in successive trips on foot or by taxi, suffering from kidnapping to persecution (novel odyssey travel). Gabriel, a big man as a closet, make a living Traviata in an evening, raising doubts in Zazie about the sexuality of his uncle (gender). One of the characters is, in turn, alleged pederast and alleged police (debate on the identity and authority). There is a group of tourists who revealed his admiration for what only sounds authentically French, although it has no meaning or content (early critical mass tourism and the cult of the monument). The ambiguities are constant (sham theatrical show), a character dies (tragedy), there are love scenes (romance) and still do not know if Zazie just fulfilling his dream of riding the metro (thriller). The extravagance of the situations is the canvas where they mix genres, themes and plots, where the reader discovers a thousand different ways, all implied and none disclosed. Zazie return home without knowing Paris. Their mentees are unable to show the city to confuse one monument with another and Zazie just longing more than ever wanted to travel by subway, in which the mere mention of the names of the stations (Opera, Invalides, Louvre, Bastille, Orsay) tourist information had contributed more than its run riot foreign tour (Meg Ryan repeated bad luck in the excellent comedy French Kiss: anxious to see the Eiffel Tower, it will go away on their backs appearing in different reflections without offering her view ). In short, an excellent essay by Roland Barthes included in Ensayos Críticos (Seix Barral) provides further explanation of the universe contained in the novel.
    But if something is Zazie en el Metro is an exercise in language, like most works of the members of Oulipo, Queneau group to which he belonged. Dissatisfied with the academic distinction between written and spoken language as two different types of French expressions, Queneau experience with what he calls neo-French, a sort of spoken French (with its connotations of jargon, slang, syntax and translation missing phonetic) embodied and reproduced in the written paper. This presumption, which would join other members as Perec and Roubaud in France and famous "foreigners" as Cortazar and Calvino), makes the translation of novels like Zazie en el Metro becomes a veritable tour de force. Unfortunately, this new edition of the editorial Marbot, far from proposing a new translation uses Fernando Sánchez Dragó's Alfaguara published years ago in that, although solvent and professional, merit contrasted with some other less timid about the frankness of the language and more regarding comprehensive explanatory notes (the Catalan language translation also hopes to compete with the Jaume Fuster, more than 25 years now). Serra Màrius worldwide, come on now!

 

    Esteve [December 13, 2011]

EL REY PÁLIDO de DAVID FOSTER WALLACE

EL REY PÁLIDO de DAVID FOSTER WALLACE

    A book for literary snobbery. Having seen "The Godfather" at the time of its release, having seen live Messi's first goal, having attended the premiere of "The Rite of Spring" by Stravinsky, have been present at the opening of the first exhibition of Francis Bacon. Examples could be multiplied ad infinitum in all fields of the arts. The only requirement is that it is an indisputable masterpiece and, in that first moment given to the world, it appears that something incomprehensible and disjointed, somewhat haphazardly, or just something interesting to will never reach the rank of masterpiece and will dwell in the limbo of the mediocrity. Well, the snobbery is to say, "I was there" (for these purposes, it matters little what looked like a suckling pig or that one was the first to whistle and kicking). Who does not boast of having read Ulysses Joyce's in the same year of its publication, when no one had noticed his inexcusable nature in all literary canon? Well, actually, who does not boast of having read it today, almost 100 years after its publication? Read The Pale King by David Foster Wallace is an exercise in literary snobbery, who can resist it?
    David Foster Wallace committed suicide in 2008 at age 46, leaving a legacy of a scattered pile of papers that were allegedly destined for the manufacture of a new novel. His editor has always reworked the puzzle and the result is The Pale King. Regardless of varying success in the final assembly, this is a work of art and a statement deserves a resounding and the whys. Because it is one of the most representative of the society: the monotony. Foster Wallace makes digging into the internals of one of the most monotonous professions possible, the employee of the U.S. Tax Agency, which applies to any tax office anywhere in the world. Because his characters reflect on their behavior some of the contemporary tics: boredom, the tedium of life, labor mechanization. The modus operandi of these state employees is the specialization routine, the organized labor in the style of a production with the exception that there is not anything that can enhance the welfare of the rest of society, but only the collection of taxes, a concrete and determined to plunder private property of the individual citizen for the benefit of an alleged indeterminate and abstract consideration with which the state will reward the sacrifice. This is a police state in the administrative side, from judicial Kafka or coercitive Orwell  to impositive Foster Wallace. Because the language that mediates the type of language is that we are currently being addressed gradually settling toward science at the expense of the humanities (any other current writer applied more effectively in the literary language the foundations laid down by Wittgenstein). Can be built with these rods, boredom, monotony, the administrative language, a work minimally legible and exciting? Foster Wallace shows that yes, you can, if we add to this with passages of extraordinary lyricism (the first chapter, little more than one sheet, should be framed for its beauty descriptive), dyes marked autobiographical chapters, or digressions on the foundations of American democracy and state power, the work reaches a whole dynamic that resists all the obstacles anti-reading. Every work of art has its arid time  (or not is the catalog of ships in the Iliad or some fragments of The Unnamable by Beckett, or a chapter of Ulysses Joyce's, or some digressions by Proust -well, no, NEVER is arid enough Proust-? In these cases, the effort required reading gratification is always just around the corner.
    You have to read The Pale King, for the reasons mentioned, and because, above all, we're snobs. Who wants to risk to say in a few years "I was there" at risk of being branded a liar upstart, when we can say here and now: "I just being there"?

 

    Esteve [December 7, 2011]

TALLO DE HIERRO de WILLIAM KENNEDY

TALLO DE HIERRO de WILLIAM KENNEDY

    Sometimes I see dead. A phrase that has made a fortune film, but that could be attributed to the male protagonist, Francis Phelan, of this novel, Ironweed, one of the best portraits of the Great Depression. There is nothing wrong at this time to read the story that tells William Kennedy, not only by historical coincidences that may resemble the U.S. economic situation of the 30 with that of modern Europe, but also because it is an excellent novel, perhaps the best of Kennedy, an author who drinks American literary naturalism of the early twentieth century, but gives his stories a component supernatural at all makes the story into a work of fantasy, as it seems. Let us explain. Francis Phelan, a type punished for his past, former baseball star who played several life tricks, including responsibility for the death of a newborn child or the murder of a scab in the great strike of Albany, scene of all the novels of Kennedy, lives like a bum in a sort of catatonic state, halfway between the living and the dead. It is this proximity to the two realms allowing you to communicate both with each other as an angel benefactor to the living (except his own family, who left following the tragedy with his newborn son, and with a perpetual sense of guilt prevents maintain contact), a good guy in search of redemption for the dead, who, more than his battered hand, were the circumstances that killed them. In the life of Francis Phelan dead have much presence as the living, because both the former have shaped its current state, the dead as successive steps in his fall into hell, and live as fellow sufferers and allies in the fight daily for survival. If the living try to survive at all costs, you could say that the dead try "surdead" at the expense of Francis Phelan, appear in visions came to kill them because only physically, he could never overcome the accident of their deaths and, therefore, neither they can rest in peace and let rest in peace Phelan. And what better setting for this moribundia the U.S. 1938, with his legion of outcasts, of beggars ready to invest their profits in plenty of small ephemeral alcohol and sex, crawling through flophouses and shelters receiving no other purpose than to warm the body to cope with winter. And what better time than Halloween night and the day of All Saints to maintain that contact with the dead to earn a few bucks working at the cemetery and to see the death of some of the companions of hardship. It seems that all this sleaze could only speak in a gritty style, but William Kennedy portrays the world of the homeless with that skill feature great storyteller, endowed with an attentive ear to play the drunken humorous dialogues, while sober in the representation of the fights born of hangover.
    Yes, Phelan sees dead around them, emerged from his remorse and his sense of guilt. But when he saves the estrangement from his family, which has been out almost twenty years, and thus faces the first sign of redemption, is when the real family members, the uprooted who share the loaf of bread and the bottle of wine, begin to die due to violence and homelessness. It is here and now, Francis Phelan, an intermediary between two worlds, when you must decide which one you prefer to be. And Phelan decide. You, reader, an intermediary between two worlds, the good and the bad literature, must decide which you want to be. Ironweed meets all the requirements to redeem the bad literature reader and presents itself as an ideal pass to enter the realm of the good one.

 

    Esteve [16 novembre 2011]

EL NIÑO PERDIDO de THOMAS WOLFE

EL NIÑO PERDIDO de THOMAS WOLFE

    In the late 30's of XX century the literary reputation of Thomas Wolfe was at the height of Faulkner, Scott Fitzgerald and Hemingway. Published only two works, The Angel Watch us (1929) and Of Time and the River ( 1935), had achieved fame both in America and in Europe that could not enjoy. He died at age 39 in 1939 and thereafter began to rescue much of his work, especially short stories and novels, which had remained unpublished during his lifetime or published in journals with low spin. But in the next 70 years, until today, Thomas Wolfe was part of the forgotten group of authors, famous in their time and increasingly ignored by the academic and publishing, to whom any new revelation or allusion not only getting worse their position. This process is excellently narrated in the article by Terry Roberts "Resurrecting Thomas Wolfe," The Southern Literary Journal, Fall, 2000 (http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/southern_literary_journal/v033/33.1roberts.pdf). It details the causes of an estimated decline that has characterized as the receipt of the work of Thomas Wolfe. On the one hand, knowledge of publishing processes that led to the birth of his two major works in pretty bad place left to the author. Indeed, both  pharaonic novels are excessive in size and in its implementation, full of sublime poetic prose and yet excessive, equipped with a powerful narrative voice but somewhat monotonous and lacking of variety. This did not preclude enjoyed (and still deserve) the success that derive from its publication, because in the end what is left of them is the best part, though at times you feel overwhelmed by the lyricism of the prose. Over time, became known details of the process of literary creation and ended Thomas Wolfe (a bit like Raymond Carver) to be considered almost a helper of his own work on behalf of their editors, who, it seems, put the scissors to make a novel overflowing with something that should be a mammoth manuscript. On the other hand, the analysis of his work has led some critics to regard him as a writer hiperdoted for the best prose, but also able to write prose the worst possible. Terry Roberts compares his case with that of Dr. Frankenstein, the creator of an artifact unbalanced organism as a whole and nothing but magnificent in the construction of certain isolated sentences or paragraphs perfectly balanced. Slave, then, of his two great works of Thomas Wolfe's claim was based on his short fiction, which emerge not only different and varied perspectives in the treatment of the characters, but the whole lacks the slopes of his great works and shows a balance less excessive.
    The Lost Child is a superb example of qualitative change. In four chapters, each narrated by different voices, we describe the death of older brother Wolfe. In the first, an omniscient narrator draws the feelings and perceptions of a boy of 12 years, immersed in the bustle of a city provincial, sucking the life from each of the senses and take on the injustice of adults and only a kid can do. In the second chapter, a mother devastated by the memory of his absent son monologue to convey their sense of loss. In the third, the older sister tells of the time the fatal disease fell upon his brother and how his death marked the transition from youth to maturity a frustrating. And finally, the same Thomas Wolfe, the younger brother is offered for a guided visit to the scenes of his childhood and all the memories associated with his dead brother, a missing child as the title indicates, but the epitome of the loss of something much bigger, be it children, be it happiness. The four narrative voices, different in style and expression, make up, however, a kind of tragic chorus in the manner of a canon, in which the last part allows you to link with the first in a circular path.
    Perhaps the best way to end is showing a piece of the best prose of Wolfe, a first paragraph full of poetry and dazzling style:
    "Light came and went and came again, the booming strokes of three o'clock beat out across the town in thronging bronze, light winds of April blew the fountain out in rainbow sheets, until the plume returned and pulsed, as Grover turned into the Square".
    This could be like any organ of Frankenstein, a perfect work of nature. Make it a wonderful freak or just depends on the measure of things.

 

    Esteve [November 8, 2011]

STONER de JOHN WILLIAMS

STONER de JOHN WILLIAMS

    This will be an ode to the recommendation. A book can be recommended in different ways and some may lead to disappointing results and others may be pleasant surprises or even great discoveries. The recommendation of a friend can only be considered if we are confident that his literary tastes are fully consistent with ours because friendship itself, so in good faith and best intentions involved, is nothing if not accompanied by an aesthetic affinity. The recommendation of an enemy is, however, the most secure, because in that case clarifies the horizon and we know what not to read (which at this point, to the extent that it has reached the editorial production, is not bad thing). The recommendation of the bookseller is at least professional. Know the product and expertise to focus on solving the equation of customer tastes and market supply. Finally, the recommendation of the criticism, expressed through magazines, supplements, audiovisual cultural or literary spaces, must be subject to scrutiny in terms of the critical medium through which we reach the recommendation. Economic and ideological interests that dominate the media often transmit unreliable and clearly views the necessary independence orphans. But when two antagonistic media such as ABC and El Pais are put into the hands of Rodrigo Fresán and Enrique Vila-Matas, two great writers and great critics, to praise a work like John Williams's Stoner, crouched at the bottom of the avalanche editorial large groups, published by a small publisher, nothing worse advertised and designed, whose cover invites to exit run, is that we can launch without hesitation head (provided, of course, you feel akin to Fresán and Vila-Matas, is ie, to good literature).
    Extraordinary and clean. Could exhaust the thesaurus to try to communicate the excellence of Stoner, but in that case the limits would pierce a review to enter the realm of hyperbole. Let's be polite and say only that Stoner is one of the best and most balanced works of modern American literature, at the height of the best Cheever or Richard Yates also recently discovered. Published in 1970, Stoner is the name of a college professor, whom he tells his life from his birth on a farm in Missouri until his death at age 65 on the campus of Columbia University in the same Missouri. How little exciting, says one, a guy who is dedicated to teaching and who lives and dies without leaving the site. Indeed, Stoner is one of the most common type, simple, honest, responsible, passionate about his work, trying to be happy and wrong ways to become one. Victim of a failed marriage, the evil machinations fueled by the animosity of his colleagues, and their own incompetence to thrive or just to get out of the straight line, William Stoner attempt throughout his life immersed in life, as if it were a fluid element to be transferred, which insulates us from our selves and that the same density difference, we are limited sensory capacity. Stoner's inner life is the true incarnation of the self, is the real element, which truly expresses its emotional fullness, while the outer life, where it sees its own actions as if they were running the other, is an opaque glass that allows a glimpse of reality but not their full apprehension. At one point in the novel, the narrator tells us that we have been educated to accept that mental life and the life of the senses are irreconcilable opposites, that the presence of one excludes the other, but Stoner refuses to admit it and, in a time of maximum happiness in his life, consider that merely intensify the other. This small rebellion ended in failure and Stoner, true to his name, will address the last part of his life with stony resignation. The prose that John Williams used to describe this vital journey resembles Bach's music, you hear the opening bars and intuit how to continue the piece, but that kind of mathematical music, with its element of predictability, it obscures its beauty or wonder from time to time with an unexpected change in any case, provides a fine example of structural perfection.
    I said extraordinary and impeccable. And it inexplicable that this novel by John Williams has been sleeping the sleep of the just. The only thing that detracts from the great joy of this discovery is knowing that it has not been an architect of the finding. But as is well-born to be grateful, one can only say: Rodrigo Fresán, Enrique Vila-Matas, thank you very much.

 

    Esteve [November 1, 2011]

LAS CRÓNICAS DE LA SEÑORITA HEMPEL de SARAH SHUN-LIEN BYNUM

LAS CRÓNICAS DE LA SEÑORITA HEMPEL de SARAH SHUN-LIEN BYNUM

    The whole is the sum of the parts, although in the field of literature the axiom usually fail. This is particularly evident in those books composed of a sum of apparently independent and autonomous stories that end up setting a whole, because a common scenario brings together the individuality of the different chapters (as in Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson or Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout or many other examples), or because a character acts as a thread of the stories are told here. The latter is the case of Ms. Hempel Chronicles by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, a collection of stories published in various literary magazines separately and assembled more or less chronologically, with two additional chapters that act as the climax, to a sense of unity and conclusive to the history of evolution and personal growth of Miss Hempel.
    Sarah Shun-lien Bynum brushes 40 and descended from Asian immigrants, nothing new in many promising authors of American literary landscape, belonging to the generation of 70 and decidedly more exotic origins than those of previous generations of European root . Bynum portrayed in the stories or chapters of the book behavior, concerns and aspirations of Ms. Hempel, a literature teacher who has just started in the world of teaching and must cope every day with conformity or rebelliousness of teenagers that will lead to her first experience in the real world. At 25, Ms. Hempel meets most of virtues and defects attributable to novice teachers. On the one hand, expresses great enthusiasm, with a touch of ingenuity, trying to convey to their students, this will be an accomplice to the relatively easy to cross generational barrier makes it seem natural. On the other hand, his actions show a lack of maturity that sometimes borders on unconsciousness, not surprising when it is a post-teen taking care of pre-teens. In fact, several scenes in which the protagonist recalls its not too distant days of childhood as a time to understand attitudes and feelings parallel to those governing the lives of their students. He even produced some mimicry between them, although one did not come to know well who is the dominant and the imitator who either psychic level, with similar behavior, whether at school, when the spell begins professorial to abide by the standards of students rather than by the learner. All this makes Ms. Bynum in a young unsatisfied, whose fantasies are coming to be painted, reminiscent of a childhood that has left behind almost by force and which would return to get away from the maturity required and symptoms: daily routine, the feeling of stagnation, the disappointment of an indefinite future. In all this does nothing to privacy, a courtship mentioned almost in passing, a sexless relationship, and a manifest inability to separate his life teaching after-school life. Thus, then, that Miss Hempel has no life of its own, just live your life in the lives of others and this helps a lack of authority to do that sometimes, rather than impute lack of personality seems that this is a ectoplasm of person.
    So far the story works because the fragmentary portrait of Miss Hempel can draw a profile, evanescent yes, but in some detail in the contours. However, the last story that Bynum adds to introduce Miss Hempel a mature, more confident, with a personal project on track and away from the world of education, lack of opportunity and remains a blob without much sense. As in any collage, be careful that there is some continuity in providing materials for the work unit and, in the case of Ms. Hempel Chronicles, Bynum believes mistakenly that final chapter emphasizes by contrast the inexperience of the Hempel homogeneity rookie and gives her main character, when in fact establishes an unbridgeable break between the immature Hempel, well portrayed and defined, and the sensible Hempel, so far from his predecessor, who comes to look like a different character.
    Less is more, another axiom in the art world, had fulfilled its function if Bynum knobs or editor it had been applied to this conclusion without unnecessary.

 

    Esteve [October 17, 2011]

 

PROSAS de ROBERT FROST

PROSAS de ROBERT FROST

    Poetry is a profession that used to exercising full time. I mean, most poets are known for their poetry, that is, but have dared to other genres like the novel or literary criticism or drama, from the time the poets call them is because what determined they really all his work is poetry. When poetry was an act subsidiary or circumstantial, we call storytellers or novelists or playwrights. When poetry has reached the same levels of demand than prose, we are forced to call writers, euphemism to refer to it an SUV in the field of literature. These statements do not detract from the intrinsic quality of his poetry is rather a quantitative measure. Poe's narrator because, despite the excellence of his poetry, it occupies a very small part of his literary work. Thomas Hardy is a novelist because his poetry, though magnificent, is a stronghold by his many excellent novels. Playwright Bertold Brecht is that, despite the remarkable merit of his poems, his theatrical compositions and minimize overwhelm any other literary attempts. When we say of someone who is a poet because his poetry is overwhelmingly overshadows the quality of the rest of his work. There are several cases: William Carlos Williams is, above all, a poet, without reducing its quality as a novelist and storyteller. Another example: T.S. Eliot is a poet first and foremost, although the excellence of his essays or his theater is manifest.
    All these distinctions and nuances do not come to mind at all because of who it is here is Robert Frost, poet with all the letters. If we call the poet Frost is due to its unconditional surrender to the poetic genre. As a poet he became known, rose to fame as a poet and a poet is remembered any mention or allusion. Like all poets, however, could not abstain from the exercise of prose to deal with various situations in which poetry is excluded, situations such as introductions to various books, speeches and award-acceptance, nothing more prosaic laudatory obituaries poetas.Frost other prose had to undergo to meet the stylistic requirements most cases or to experiment with the aphorism on those occasions in which he satisfied his desire for conciseness allowed better than poetry. This book captures, therefore, an outstanding selection of Frost attempts to express outside their natural habitat.
    Still, Frost is one of those full-time poets, so that any of his prose writings in this volume follows a breath of poetry, both in theme and in its composition. The topics are always the poetry and the various ways of accessing it, and his style, though corseted in narrative form, is fed poetic rhythms and cadences. The metaphor, a fundamental element in his poetry (one could say that all poetry, but his even more), the constant recourse to express their ideas, but metaphor never obscure and unintelligible, but that ambiguous, requiring the reader to opt for one of its multiple significados.Frost was a classic in its own way of understanding poetry. Accepted and promoted the freedoms derived from the imagination, but it was not willing to bend the rules of meter and poetic conventions. Poetic experiments derived from an absolute compositional freedom are derided as absurd exercises that distort the tone and rhythm of poetry, elements essential to good poetry. Poetry is not invention, not a discovery out of nowhere, it is rather a re-discovery, reminiscence, the surprise appearance of something that was there but did not know it was there. Orality considered to be much more decisive than his writing, so that is the inner voice of the poem and not the images that are transmitted on it, its true champion, not in vain claims the concept of "ear observer" as a unifying of the synergy between sound and visual (auditory element always in front) that should characterize a good poem. One of his aphorisms says "All poetry is a reproduction of the tones of actual speech." It is this proximity, the acknowledgment of something already known what that brings us to his poetry, but also defines us in a confined space in which his poems are conversations we attend almost clandestinely, and that, time, we are unable to escape.
    For those who want to discover the poetry of Robert Frost, read it directly. For those seeking an academic and pedagogical introduction, read the essay "Del Dolor y la Razón", the title of the book of the same name by Joseph Brodsky (Destino, 2000). For those who crave to know the thinking of Robert Frost poetry, this book will satisfy your wishes.

 

    Esteve [October 10, 2011]

LIBERTAD de JONATHAN FRANZEN

LIBERTAD de JONATHAN FRANZEN

    Every so often comes from North America trumpeted the announcement of the final "Great American Novel." All literatures are intended to have a great novel that represents your character and idiosyncrasies, but most of them assume that their great novel is a thing of the past that has been definitely established and no one expects or foresees the possibility of a new work unseat the previous one. The great Spanish novel is Don Quixote and no publisher in their right mind would dare publish something new as something that could relegate prominently in the work of Cervantes. Some might argue whether The Regent, the Lazarillo or some Pérez Galdós not deserve that place of honor, but it is not disputed is that to hold this privileged space it takes years and at least three generations to change the pole position. The same happens in other European literatures: the Russian with his War and Peace (or The Idiot), Italian with I Promessi Spossi (or Il Gattopardo), the French with Les Miserables (or Madame Bovary), and so on . Advertise on each of these literatures the emergence of "the great novel this or that" can only sound like a joke.
    America is different. Its a minor literary works that prevents deserve the epithet of "Great American Novel" as Moby Dick or The Age of Innocence, enjoy the consensus of literary pro-establishment. Hence the appearance of any new novel with a minimum of entity is considered as the destined to lead the country's literary canon. And nobody takes it lightly. Has been occurring in recent times with Underworld Don Delillo, with Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy, with Run, Rabbit by John Updike , with The Sports Journalist by Richard Ford, or any of the great tomes of Thomas Pynchon. No one can dispute the sublime quality of them all, what is discussed is the fugacity at which the publishing market tops and replaces for each other. Now it's turn has come to Franzen and his new novel, Freedom.
    What do you need a novel to be "the Great American Novel"? First, be large. All the above far exceed 500 pages, condition sine qua non that tacitly excludes The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald or The Sound and the Fury by Faulkner. Clearly, what it is a novel and the author is American (by the way, why "American" and not "North-American" if it refers only to the U.S.?: Literature can also be a form of imperialism) is given for granted. But aside from the obvious, it requires more and that something else is the issue. A Great American Novel must address the issues that Americans are craving unique to their country and their culture, such as family, love, power, money, corruption, sports, music, politics or FREEDOM, well, as if the world we bring these issues to heave.
    Freedom by Jonathan Franzen meets the premises and makes it very diligently. It tells the story of a family, a fundamental institution in American structural map, and the dysfunctions that affect when
members put their personal ambitions in the form of extramarital love, political aspirations, the desire to get rich quick, or vital egoism. How could it be otherwise, all seasoned with a good dose of sex, drugs and rock & roll, with the main objective of illuminating the idea that behind all their flag idyllic values ​​of American society are hidden behaviors sordid and despicable. Being as the family and the freedom the two pillars on which rests the novel, one concludes that the second only takes away and away from the first. Solid construction of the characters, coherent development of the story, however is in the middle of the novel turning point from which there is a crescendo of interest in the plot and a decrescendo on the stylistic rigor, without making it look affected in any way the message that we want to get Franzen. Seeing how they happen adultery, divorce, corruption or disloyalty, it seems almost that we face "The Great  Anti-American Novel". The problem here is that Franzen can not give up their DNA and all that subversive, daring and bold, critical of the complacency and arrogance of its citizens has captivated us, it crumbles with an ending that makes Freedom can be considered, now, "the great American novel ... typical."

 

    Esteve [October 5, 2011]

HHhH de LAURENT BINET

HHhH de LAURENT BINET

    With how hard it is now shown to be original and revolutionary, this Laurent Binet, which is his first novel, get it from the title itself. It takes some audacity to plant a title like this, HHhH, if quoted out loud, with all game haches aspirated, can cause respiratory collapse, and if it breaks down as "hache, hache, hache tiny, hache" revealed an advanced stage of stuttering. Hey, what is achieved exclusively, is lost in communicability. HHhH comes from the phrase "Himmlers Hirn heißt Heydrich" which comes to mean "brain Himmler, Heydrich said." The mere mention of these two names is enough to put us in the age and stage: Heydrich, the "butcher of Prague", and the attack he suffered in 1942, orchestrated by the Czech resistance, are the pillars on which rests the story of this historic novel, or this documentary novel, or this history book, or this ...
    Difficult HHhH pigeonholed in a genre specific. Binet stands the historic novel regarding waiver of the conventions of the genre, avoiding (or sorry, when gives in to temptation) to put phrases into the mouths of imaginary characters, events or reject the manipulation of his invention when it is believed required to give pace to the narrative history, rejecting the parallel plots that prevent the reader ends up bored and the main plot, in short, not yielding to the temptation to put the interests of historical documentation of the narrative. Binet neither writes a history book. To do this, should have been without a narrator part, had been seriously documented his sources, and compare it,  would have had to renounce any other license that a narrative, or simply have wanted to show a historical rigor affecting the whole story. Binet narrator is interested in a historical event, the assassination of Heydrich, and by extension, the expansion policy of the Third Reich in Czechoslovakia and the birth of the "Final Solution", but no more than an amateur storyteller. Each time reveals his doubts concerning the information regarding the method to expose it. All he found out, the sources that have access, are just details at any time may be at stake. We do not know whether the car in which Heydrich was traveling at the time of the attack was black or dark green, if the bomb was a kind of poisoned or not, but that does not matter because the details so important to the credibility of a narrative of historical, are irrelevant for a narrator who, aware of his inexperience, he built the story step by step, giving a forward and two back if necessary, and highlight the really important issues of history. Instead of gathering all the documentation relating to the attack, his wealth and his consistent, and then construct the novel fitting parts, Binet presents a work in progress, in building construction, where everything is subject to confirmation, where the surface ends up sinking to remove floating in the absolutely essential facts proven, and above all a tribute to those who suffer to make them possible.
    HHhH  is something excellent and that, for once, "something" is not an adverb pejoratively bland. Failure to distinguish between a ruby ​​and an emerald does not prevent or recognize its beauty is realizing that in the presence of a true gem.

 

    Esteve [26 September 2011]

CARIBOU ISLAND de DAVID VANN

CARIBOU ISLAND de DAVID VANN

    David Vann's novels remind overwhelmingly the evolution of the global economy in recent times: for the worst, disastrous and hopeless as the situation can always get worse. Begin in a particularly worrisome, announcing bad news and causing concern that tingling everyday situations the characters are going out of hand, and evolve so terrible and desperate than the opening scenes just looking bucolic. The human relations approach and makes us complicit in a "bad feeling" buried and dormant, and the evolution of these relationships leads to explosive tragedy. Personal conflicts between the protagonists have their origin largely in Alaska and the tragedies which end these conflicts have in Alaska to be his collaborator.
    
Just as there is a designation called "Land Art" to name a specific art expressed in and through the landscape, there should be a "Land Literature" to describe the kind of novels in which the territory, the environment or the landscape appear as highlights in the plot development and evolution of the figures. Illustrious history could be the heat in The power and the glory of Graham Greene and Conrad's The Heart of Darkness, the arid desert in several Cormac McCarthy, the sea in some Melville or snow in the texts of Jack London. All inhospitable landscapes that challenge the lucidity and moderation of beings subject to the vagaries of terrain and applicants a clear bid to madness. David Vann Welcome to this group, he and Alaska, the main character in both Sukkwan Island (Llibreter Prize 2011) and in Caribou Island. In both cases we have bewildered and desnortados types (no longer strange to lose the north being as they are in Alaska - there is more north than Alaska? -), Who believe that his life takes a turn positive if allowed a total communion with nature, which twist is to abandon the precarious balance that civilization offers to merge with the elements in a lonely and isolated existence is nothing but an exercise in survival in adverse conditions. Like Thoreau's Walden, give up the community for their individuality, but, unlike Thoreau, rather than a desire for harmony with Mother Earth is a violent confrontation between man and his environment. His characters know what they want, but do not know the procedure to get it. Abomination of an unhappy marriage or irresponsible parenting and relish the possibility that a change of scenery precipitate the final break or cauterize the wounds miraculously. That change of scenery will embodied in isolated islands in northern Alaska, where the comforts and routines of domestic life give way to a lack of communication that requires daily survival, and always ends in breakdown. His characters have a common past, forged in small communities that have been woven into them a mantle of disappointment and distrust, boredom and frustration, which are believed capable of subverting an idealized future, whose cornerstone is the reunion with oneself in an Edenic paradise, without taking into account that two remain society and this requires the monitoring of rules of coexistence, and that Eden could be in the Caribbean or Indian Ocean, but never in Alaska.
    
Great and terrible novels, Sukkwan Island and Caribou Island  are two sides of same coin, but rather would face the same view with different light. If Sukkwan Island looked like the future was a hope of reconciliation, Caribou Island appears as a banner of the slogan "no future, no land". A final recommendation: when planning your next vacation, forget about Alaska, please.

    Esteve [September 16, 2011]

UNA SUPER TRISTE HISTORIA DE AMOR... de GARY SHTEYNGART

UNA SUPER TRISTE HISTORIA DE AMOR... de GARY SHTEYNGART

    There are authors who write with spices garnishing their literature very recognizable in the same way that determines a type of curry or chili cuisine characterizes another. Some others prefer the sober dressing, a few drops of oil that give a flavor content. And some more, well, who use the sea salt to flavor his novels. The latter is, of course, Gary Shteyngart. The sea salt is the main ingredient in a characteristic way and nurtures their works. So, we tasted their dishes knowing the risk of hearing too much gnashing our teeth, but comforted by the belief that food is not going to be dull.
    This story comes to the super that is everything in this novel. The love story, rather than super sad, is super freak, in large part because the characters are as well, because the political situation around them is (as we had warned of this in Shteyngart Absurdistan), because social relations governed by the principle of freakism, because the world economic and employment is based on the freak and because personal communications freak drink from the spring. The easy and logical conclusion would be that we are facing a novel aimed at geeks freak. False. The real reality is that this is a science fiction novel, yes, for geeks. And is that the main findings of Shteyngart fall within the realm of science fiction. Not only the American political system dominated by a party called Bipartite (alternating current between Republicans and Democrats is nothing more than a germ of that future), not just global economic system dominated by the Chinese in the dollar has pegged its value to the yen (looks and we're talking about yesterday), not just a raw labor sectors such as research on human longevity and immortality (is there further industry?), not only geo-sociological a path in which the only earthly pleasures enjoyed in the Old World (not compare a macchiato with a Starbucks), not only the growing militarization and the war in the United States against Venezuela (or against anyone), but above all and above all, the great discovery for äppärät in literature, a device similar to mobile phone with you, in addition to regular communications, you can control and be controlled in areas such as credit worthiness, levels of saturated fats or triglycerides, hope of life, the degree of attractiveness that one awakens in those around you, or the profile of every citizen as a consumer. In short, it's äppärät has earmarks of being a premonition of the best literature since Capek invented the word robot in R.U.R. (And newcomers) or Dick dream of replicating in Sheep ... (Still to come). But aside from all this futurism, the rest is a love story and very sad and very real. Characters who respond to appeals as soulful as "ass face", "supermarranilla", "greasy crisps," "puton", "slut" and similar niceties that calls virtual store-bought named CulosLujosos or AdolescentesPijas or Chocho  panties EntregaTotal name , and receive a friend arrived from abroad with the hope that their rough travel accounts increase the number of visits in the telematics show can only be a symptom of the decay of language or the decline of the human species.
    If all this does not clarify the doubts, is the appeal of the novel's promotional video on Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EfzuOu4UIOU), which appears Shteyngart himself making the rounds and you just need to reach Lady Gaga friquismo summit.

 

    Esteve [6 setembre 2011]

EL MAPA Y EL TERRITORIO de MICHEL HOULLEBECQ

EL MAPA Y EL TERRITORIO de MICHEL HOULLEBECQ

EL ESPIRITU DE MIS PADRES SIGUE SUBIENDO...de PATRICIO PRON

EL ESPIRITU DE MIS PADRES SIGUE SUBIENDO...de PATRICIO PRON

    One day a young Argentinian named Patricio Pron was presented to Jaén Award and won with an excellent novel called El Comienzo de la Primavera, which echoed with praise most of the criticism, noting the commendable and laudatory comments of Felix Azua on his blog. It was surprising that the atmosphere is sited in Germany and the subject within the range of consequences that Nazism left in the further development of the country and the deep-rooted philosophical plot and characters were evidence. Neither one nor the other were a surprise because, despite his youth, Pron had already proved its status as a narrator with several previously published works (and unknown here) and his German parentage was merely the result of some studies and qualifications acquired during their residence in the country.
    That contrasted narrative maturity in his earlier work is confirmed in El Espíritu de mis Padres Sigue Subiendo en la Lluvia, now, if anything, more emotional involvement, due to the fact that the novel exudes an autobiographical component that the author confirms in the epilogue of the book. Pron tells all detail the investigation into the murder of a  irrelevant person, a "Faulknerian idiot" in the community where his parents live, but to awaken the conscience of the Argentine past during the era of military dictatorships. In turn, illuminate the character with the light of the past, winning a family uprooted and patriotic absolutely had to away from their roots.
Pron's novel speaks above all of the missing word of thick contained in the history of Argentina. Obviously, missing by military repression, in this case a former colleague of his father whose track will gradually clearing through documents and graphics newspaper that the protagonist will discover in the archives of his father. But another kind of disappeared. First, the narrator himself, disappeared for itself in a meaningless life that only can fight through constant intake of drugs and barbiturates, to get away as possible from reality. Secondly, the narrator's father, his son disappeared, oblivious to each other, strange shaped by the difficulty of understanding between parents and children at a time when the parents threatened by the dictatorship only communicated with their children to protect them, warn of threats and dangers and educate them on permanent alert, as the children grew barren of affection from their parents and could not understand the reasons for such rigidity and anxiety. And finally, the disappearance of a country, Argentina, which ended up acquiring the nature of their victims, two generations of people affected by the military dictatorship, a repressed by extreme violence and other completely uprooted from their families and empty of complicity with their land.
    Great message and great scaffolding for transmission, while the second chapter, too cumbersome documentary and narrative, somehow hampers the narrative. It is not clear is that one finishes the book with the feeling that the chosen title might be paraphrased by saying that the spirit of Patrick Pron continues to rise in the literature.

 

Esteve [19 Juliol 2011]

 

PRIMAVERA, ESTIU, ETCÈTERA de MARTA ROJALS

PRIMAVERA, ESTIU, ETCÈTERA de MARTA ROJALS

    Adolescence is a curious piece of life. When we find ourselves, we realize that we are a group of hormones revolucionades and almost all cases, impresentables and even undesirable. As time goes by, think of it as a sweet and happy time, perhaps the most envied of our lives and, conversely, when we do aargg to observing the behavior of the suffering in person. However, adolescence gives rise to nostalgia, and the early stages of that favorite song at age 14, the gesture of an articulated Madelman, or the Fotomatón image of the first girlfriend that our heart longing to a time when everything was better symbol of a future full of promise. The years, and especially the fact, put us in place, but this does not prevent the memories of this period prior to adulthood will restart a half smile, often shared generacionalment. Marta Rojals is 36 years (biography inside) and the narrator of his novel, Primavera, Estiu, Etcètera, Èlia, more or less. This means that the memories that mark the territory of the book are those that played the toys of Famòbil, who singing songs of Joy Division and Depeche Mode or Madonna (here it sends each style) and said bambas all esport shoes. The excuse to remember this is the return of the narrator, Èlia, to the town of his childhood, and their connections with friends and relatives, out of love and disappointment of a present job uncertain and arriving to the area fertile to renew love and work.

    
Now I will say two things that did not get: Primavera, Estiu, Etcètera, it is a unique novel and Primavera. Estiu, Etcètera it is a surface novel. Let's go. Linguistically, this is a novel of extraordinary, born of a titanic effort to capture the smallest nuances of speaking the area where the action originated and where the characters belongs(Ribera d'Ebre). It is not only a language research, but a full involvement in the embodiment of a composite rhythm of words, onomatopoeia, idioms and turns, barbarisms, cadences and, last but no least, scoring mechanisms. All these components are in the service of the novel in a way that makes it an oral narration (read aloud better reflects the nature of the protagonists, rather than read silently), effective as transmission of a lifestyle and a mode of speech. It is not coincidence that this basket is also a language of emotional stimuli that cause the appearance of children's memories in Elia, wealthy Barcelona expressions. In attitude and language, then, is the main catalyst of nostalgia for a time, adolescence, and a world, the rural areas.

    
However, all these things, far from dragging us into a deep reflection on the essence of time, are left floating on the surface. And that's why, in literature, the novel seems insignificant. The potential possibility of immersion in a fertile ground for analyzing the contrast between rural and urban world, the permanence of latent love not fulfilled, the friendship never unconditional and always subject to personal interest, gets looking to the horizon without offering  the way to get there. In fact, out of this line, we are faced with a people like all peoples, some farmers like all farmers, individualized only by language, and characters whose behavior and reactions subsumits a generic model, direct from TV-series of TV3.

     
The confluence of all these reasons, this disproportion between the brightness of the branches and the dry of the  trunk, making a will left a general sense: linguistic wasted effort; wasted Proust's madelaine. 


    Esteve
[July 11, 2011]

LAS COSAS QUE LLEVABAN de TIM O'BRIEN

LAS COSAS QUE LLEVABAN de TIM O'BRIEN

    The war in Vietnam is fascinating and unknown paradoxically at a time from a literary point of view. Fascinating because, besides being a prime example of the defeat of the powerful against the weak (otherwise, some not so new in both ancient and modern wars), marked the first war waged through contemporary means of communication. Unknown because, despite the notoriety brought about by the immediacy of information, few written records of quality have crossed borders beyond the United States . With the fingers of one hand: Dispatches of Michael Herr War, Tree of Smoke by Dennis Johnson and, tangential, Armies of the Night by Norman Mailer, and there are plenty fingers. The film has a lot more.
    Tim O'Brien's work comes legitimately in this privileged group. And not just what is said but how he tells us. The Things They Carried consists of several relatively autonomous in themselves, but connected through their characters, members of Alpha Company, who fought in Vietnam and died there or returned to the burden of being in that war. Precisely charges referred to in the title (I think that unfortunately translated in Spanish). "The things They Carried", title of the first story, which gives its name to turn to the book refers to the weight, both physical and emotional, which carried the American soldiers, equipped with the best gadgets and defense equipment, the best technology of his day, but simultaneously, burdened in their mobility and autonomy by those devices (the list is almost endless and the strength to withstand almost titanic weight) and, above all, the emotional burden of fear, insecurity and stunning. Hence a more faithful translation should have been referred to the things that dragged or carried things, because that ultimately it was.
    Tim O'Brien has repeatedly denied that it is an autobiographical work, although one member of the Company is named Tim O'Brien and the dedication is for members of Alpha Company, arguing that some characters occupied five years of writing well deserved dedication. An illuminating story about the entitled "Good form", which explicitly unlike the truth-event (which was experienced in first person) of the true-story (which counts as lived). Just this chapter also tells us "How to tell a true war story," the difficulty of conveying a story of how not to endeavor to explain what happened because you always end up explaining what you think happened, because the transfer of the real event in history is always told what corrupted by the weakness of memory so neglected or fertility of imagination added. In this sense, the narrator constantly plays with the reader on the edge between fiction and reality.
Like any war story, there are many lurid episodes, needed to build a particular setting, but without moralizing intention, but rather in order to put in a position in the face of human conflict that accompanies them. Although they may be the pre-war stories ("In the Rainy River") and post-war ("Speaking of Courage") that convey the tragedy of a more reflective, and to illustrate that a decision is publicly expressed mediated by shame and social commitment, while the closely-reasoned decisions are the ones that respond to a thoughtful act.
    The Things They Carried is re-released nine years after its first publication. Too long for a book that should be in every bedside, mainly in those responsible for the Ministries of Defence.

 

Esteve [July 5,  2011]

B-17G de PIERRE BERGOUNIOUX

B-17G de PIERRE BERGOUNIOUX

    Until yesterday, Pierre Bergounioux was signed and published 62 books in France. Until the day before yesterday, had not translated either in Spain. ¿Explanation? None. Okay, this oversight would be reasonable if it were an author whose writing sin of localism, which concerns the French public had only qualified as a receiver or if it had not been born a translator able to pour their narratives into Catalan or Spanish. The first hypothesis is answered by saying that their issues, away from the navel to look in French, are universal. The second hypothesis is rejected if we consider that, although in Spain people reads  (this one, the polls say, the other, the best seller lists), other authors of the same lineage as well as French Pierre Michon or Pascal Quignard are being regularly translated. The third scenario falls apart when you consider the excellent staff of translators of French time has come to us the literature of northern neighbor. Bottom line? This gap can only be attributed to the lack of attention of the big publishers, slaves of the profit. For one thing must be clear: Bergounioux is not the author of "bestsellers".
     Three small publishers have recently launched a hunt Bergounioux lost. Minúscula, more authors discoverer of hidden bacteria Pasteur, has brought to light in Catalan and Castilian Una habitación en Holanda; Días Contados, in this way at all worthy of honor to his name, has published La huella; and, finally, Alfabia, which begins to reap the rewards with Premi Llibreter awarded to David Vann's Sukkwan Island, just banish the B-17G oblivion, the book that concerns us. Author unpronounceable, title anti-business (more like a certificate of safety), 53 pages of a novel low, where is grace?
      In the manner of Sebald or the aforementioned Michon, Bergounioux part of a tiny detail to speculate about the universe that surrounds it, in this case, the blur and interviewed American bomber (the B-17G of the title) from a film shooting World War II, acting by transposition, as if pricked with a compass point only to then extend its area of ??influence with the stroke of a circle around it, build an artifact of assumptions and possibilities. Who were they piloted? Where do they come from and why they were there? What were his concerns? Each question is answered with a narrative Bergounioux in which each word means what you owe and where every silence is what they deserve. Nothing, no name is chosen at random (a must read superb afterword by Pierre Michon, clear water to understand the narrative process of Bergounioux). But not content with tracing the portrait of those beardless young Americans who came to Europe to fight the experienced German aviation, B-17G is allowed to talk about Faulkner, Hemingway and Saint-Exupéry in a display combining history and fiction, fictionalized history. And all in 53 pages.
     Surely, I'll keep reading Bergounioux, although I do not write about it again, not least because I wrote his name seven times and had to correct it all.
 


Esteve [June 28, 2011]

UNA TEMPORADA PARA SILBAR de IVAN DOIG

UNA TEMPORADA PARA SILBAR de IVAN DOIG

    Someone had to say: this is a novel alien. Recent American literature translated in Spain customary to place their action in both cities on the East Coast (New York, Boston, Miami) and West Coast (San Francisco, Los Angeles) or tradition cities of powerful fictional tradition (Chicago, New Orleans ). Rare is to find a story that takes place in the states of Middle America, those who constitute the country's central block, traditional conservative by nature and by conviction. A glorious exception would be the novels of Annie E. Proulx, set in Wyoming. For this Una temporada para silbar by Ivan Doig is presented as a novel alien, because the scenario in which the action unfolds is a small town in the State of Montana. Montana? Why is it that sounds more like a teen singer or a crime family  business owner of illegal gambling that fertile ground to build a novel. Because, see, where the hell is Montana?

    But there is more reason to say that this novel is Mars. We are in 1910. A family consisting of a strict but fair widow and three children orphans exemplary hire a beautiful and friendly housekeeper who will do gradually softening the solitary existence (does not this sound a sweet Von Trapp and Julie Andrews singing My favorite things?). The eldest child, gifted to the boredom, the teacher will draw the attention of the school (coincidences of life, the housekeeper's brother) and it will require greater efforts to squeeze this kid academic abilities 12. Among small pranks and youngsters of school age themselves, the teacher will discover that the boy is talented in both mathematics and geography and in ¡¡¡Latin!!! Yes, yes, you heard right. ¿Latin in Montana? Oh, old Europe is forgetting its origins but it is a small rebel stronghold of Montana who refuse to give up a language so loved by whites. There are few things as Mars (just in case, I can think of to learn swimming in the Gobi desert).

    Leaving this aside, the novel offers us a repertoire of commonplaces of childhood and school life, narrated so endearing and quite seductive power, but for one detail: Ivan Doig and characters throughout the novel are passed making gum (a term rider that is summarized in a "now attacked, now let me catch and tired and the pursuer, who does not know why I get you out peteneras"). Indeed, the narrator is introduced in small events that seem to announce a dramatic conflict, to then convert them into simple stories. We are warned of an accident and just be a simple incident. He shouts an emergency and a sad ending ofreciéndosenos incidence. Some chapters seem to fill and some outcomes are a simple supine. But despite all that, the story is read with pleasure, offers us some good moments and, yes, it is highly recommended for those who plan a vacation in Montana or want to dust off some of his Latin school. How? What no one is encouraged?

 

    Esteve [June 21, 2011]

 

 

FUEGO Y CENIZAS. LA REVOLUCION FRANCESA SEGUN THOMAS CARLYLE

FUEGO Y CENIZAS. LA REVOLUCION FRANCESA SEGUN THOMAS CARLYLE

    Notice to mariners: the complete edition of the book in English on the French Revolution's Carlyle consists of 850 pages, while this edition offers little more than 200. We are therefore faced with an anthology, an extract of the most significant parts of this magnificent work. Ruth Scurr, responsible for the selection, is also the prologuist, and grateful because, for those who are not well founded on the history of the Revolution, gives an idea of ??the sequence of events and the role of multiple actors of this historical episode. Do not touch choice to make do with what there is, which is something.
 
    There is little because, although this is a work of considerable historical and this forces us to cut a monumental effort of reconstruction and filling the gaps, it is also a huge piece of literary sensibility. Carlyle was a great essayist and historian but also a famous novelist and The French Revolution is a book that draws equally from both styles. On the one hand, the rigor of the essayist, avid reader of anything written on the subject and more, on the other, the novelist, able to provide the facts of a color and a frenetic pace and character of a breath and body only conceivable in the realm of fiction. This last aspect and the epic treatment gives the story is what about Homer and the Iliad, in many respects, at a time, the narrative style similar to the use made in the chorus of Greek tragedy related directly with the classics. But alongside this undoubted classicism, Carlyle uses a descriptive power and involvement in the narrative rhythm that at times makes him look like an Argentine sports radio commentator narrating a goal from Messi. Special mention for the treatment of the characters. Nothing assume a particular historical, nothing to focus purely on their actions and not his motivation, nothing to submit to the dictates of history. On the contrary, all the actors involved are more than its historical role, they offer a profile literary dimensions are before our eyes. Thus, Mirabeau is the tightrope walker whose early demise will shift the balance towards the Terror, Danton is the giant that dominates the stage until he learns to have feet of clay, Robespierre, painted sea-green color as if it were a frog, releases sulfur from its first appearance, King Louis XVI, hesitant in his role, overtaken by events and victims of the symbolism of the institution he represented. Special mention to Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the source of all evils of the Revolution, intellectual architect and collaborator everything necessary abhorrent and despicable that brought the uprising of the French people (remember that in his book The Heroes, Carlyle made the object of their derision and contempt for Rousseau in an even more direct.)
 
    Carlyle speaks of the French Revolution as a war, admitting that it has no established laws and this one is governed by some that are not applicable to the case, so that rational discourse is virtually impossible in the absence of parameters and benchmarks, and that the only way we can express is raising his voice with an angry cry. The cry of Carlyle comes loud and clear, although we regret that this issue shows us brief, short-lived.

 

    Esteve [June 14, 2011]
 

WAKEFIELD de NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE

WAKEFIELD de NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE

    Unforgivable not know Wakefield, one of the most important stories of the history of literature. For those who have read it, congratulations and move on. For those who do not, there are four notes unpretentious education.
 
    1. Anyone concerned about the plot of the novels and stories as a decisive element in choosing their reading, suffice to say that in the first paragraph of Wakefield is set around the story. In the manner of EFE Agence, Hawthorne tells us the good few lines of what the story. An ordinary man ("let's call him Wakefield ") leaves home one day and his wife without saying goodbye to move to another house in the neighborhood where they watch the reaction that awakens her disappearance and return after twenty years as if nothing had happened. Hawthorne warns that he have read the news in a newspaper or magazine and that he will make to share with us again (hence the story belongs to the set of stories titled Twice Told Tales) according to their own point of this vista. And it leads us to point number 2.
 
    2. Anyone concerned about the characters of the stories, saying that two stand out: one, Wakefield himself, not for nothing that gives name to the title of the story and is characterized by not having characteristics (a type gray, almost vulgar, the common mortals, with a life calmly and nothing eccentric), capable of executing an unusual fact in no time seem an adventure. Wow, a type of lot that one day he does something quite extraordinary while remaining the pile. And two, the narrator of the story, a curious narrator, who seeks to read the story briefly explain the possible underlying motivations of the protagonist in his inexplicable decision. Yes, okay, Wakefield's wife has something to say (it is unacceptable that Eduardo Berti you have spent a novel with the title of La mujer de Wakefield), but as a modern Penelope merely wait passively husband back and, in turn, give it up for dead or missing. But as the narrator says, "we are concerned the husband."
 
    3. Anyone concerned about literary history, commenting only that there is an illustrious precedent of history (the Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle , in which the protagonist is away from home to end up sleeping in the woods for twenty years and return as anything to his house), and Wakefield is the starting point of great stories appeared a posteriori (from "Man of the Crowd" by Edgar Alan Poe, which utlize the narrator's perspective and alienation of the masses modern cities cause to individuals, to "The good Lord Marblehall" by Eudora Welty, in which the title character stands out for its irrelevance in the eyes of his neighbors, but is capable of leading a double life with a mute, not to mention Kafkaesque spirit avant la lettre Hawthorne's story.) In closing, read without missing content analysis of Borges in Otras Inquisiciones.
 
    4. For those seeking something to read in ten minutes to give you to think for hours, Wakefield is readable without hesitation.
 

    Esteve [June 5, 2011]

EN EL MAR HAY COCODRILOS

EN EL MAR HAY COCODRILOS

This is a biographical book, based on the life of Enaiatollah Akbai, an Afghan child. It is written in first person, alternating pieces of conversation with Fabio, the author. The story is very hard, as the mother of ENAI decided to forgo his son to give a better future in Afghanistan since the Taliban was in danger. Pakistan abandoned only 10 years ENAI was alone in a strange city and was in need of their way to work in a hostel and make a street vendor. But that did not like and decided to go to Iran where he worked in construction and in a quarry. But the fear of deportation and the Iranian police led him to try to reach Turkey. To get there, spent more than 20 days walking in the mountains. As soon as he arrived in Istanbul not found work and four children, crossed the sea in an inflatable boat to Greece. During the 2004 Olympic Games once again worked in construction, but again in unemployment, hid in a boat and went to Italy. There, he met Payam by Danila, who decided to accept it as one of his family. ENAI finally got permission from a political refugee. In conclusion, a narrative that manages to move the reader.

Joaquim (05/06/2011)

PÁNICO AL AMANECER de KENNETH COOK

PÁNICO AL AMANECER de KENNETH COOK
    Said Charles Dickens in Hard Times, speaking of the industrial city of Coketown: "It contained several large streets all very like one another, inhabited by people equally like one another, who all went in and out at the same hours, with the same sound upon the same pavements, to do the same work, and to whom every day was the sameas yesterday and tomorrow, and every year the counterpart of the last and the next. " This description might serve well to understand how Bundanyabba, the city of the central plains of Australia, colorless and odorless but highly toxic, privileged protagonist of the novel by Kenneth Cook's Pánico al Amanecer.
    
In fact, Cook's narrative contrasts two opposites that operate in parallel to the field and city, in this case, the metropolis of the coast and inland city. Sidney, the large coastal city, is the holiday paradise that longs for a young teacher at the end of an exhausting school year; Bundanyabba, the little town inside the hell that is submerged. Arid, desert, isolated and feverish, embodies the two main manifestations of evil. On the one hand, the landscape, and, secondly, its people. A harsh temperature, hardness of the environment and its inhabitants, a bleak scenario consistent with the apparent local hospitality, will test the immaturity and naivety of a man accustomed to dealing with children. There he will discover the defect in capital letters, first through the game (the loss of all his money in the city withheld), then through the drink (only way to appease the thirst and causes psychological and moral imbalance of the protagonist) and , finally, through sex (disappointing in its natural version, unconscious and ambiguous version unnatural). The dream of reaching Sydney becomes the nightmare of staying in Bundanyabba, penniless, at the expense of the generosity of local people (expressed in rounds of beer and hunting wild) and no sign of finding a way out of the tunnel.

    
Excellent portrait of panic agoraphobic and the consequences of forcing survival in a hostile habitat, Pánico al Amanecer is a great novel, preceding apocalyptic fables as Mad Max, and most importantly of all: we read in one sitting.

 

    
Esteve [30 May 2011]

EL PÁJARO PINTADO de JERZY KOSINSKI

EL PÁJARO PINTADO de JERZY KOSINSKI

    Let's start with a bit of literary history. Jerzy Kosinski published The Painted Bird in 1965. The book tells the story of a boy from southern traits, parents who take refuge in a rural village in Central Europe to protect Nazi raids. Their physical features, gypsy look, black eyes and wake metropolitan language rejection everywhere he go and who do welcome you fearful of Nazi reprisals and violently suspicious of a foreign element to the community. Hence, the boy must flee without break, discovering in the way the savage violence and blind superstition of the population. At a time when awareness of the horrors of the Holocaust and the tragedy of communities as Jewish or Gypsy had reached its peak, Kosinski's book reached a tremendous success, becoming reference text and required school reading colleges and universities. The first person narrative and the historical and geographical coincidence of events experienced by the protagonist with the author's childhood substantiate the belief that we were facing one of the most chilling testimony of Holocaust literature. So much for the brilliant page. The dark page opens in 1982 when two journalists from Village Voice, Geoffrey Stokes and Eliot Fremont-Smith, discovered that Kosinski's past had nothing to do essentially with the story of his novel.

    
The question that arises with this story is if the value of writing depends on the veracity of autobiographical or reality of the events recounted. Kosinski argued that the book was written in English because it tells could dispassionately, without the emotional connotations that always carries the native language. However, it is demonstrated not only that it was written in Polish, but probably was not written at all by Kosinski but by a ghostwriter. In addition, Kosinski, not only rural Poland wandered away from their parents, but lived with them throughout the war. Each chapter begins with an account of the daily village and usually closes with the chilling tale of the greatest atrocities, cruelty, sexual sadism and violence imaginable. True or not, these behaviors did not emerge from the experience but the author's imagination. Hence, critics like Norman G. Finkelstein in his book La Industria del Holocausto (Editorial Siglo XXI, 2002) cataloged the text of Kosinski as "the first major fraud on the Holocaust." They felt that writing fiction was as fictionalized Holocaust, treat it as an event imaginary fruit of fantasy. His supporters brandished the fact that at no time Kosinski ensure that the story was autobiographical (though he never denied that he was) and that the geographic and historic moment were permanent (although nobody is quite escaped that coincided with the landscape childhood).

    
Related to known cases and coming like Enric Marco, prolific speaker on the first-person horror of the concentration camps and later unmasked as a fraud, at the discretion of each force to ascertain whether the narrative loses some historically proven facts when are falsely associated with a personal experience or if it is only capable of ethical rejection. Kosinski tells the tale of horror, but knowing that he not suffered in the flesh and not lived it live, it seems less horror.

    Esteve [May 22, 2011]

THE ALLEY OF MIRACLES

THE ALLEY OF MIRACLES

The Alley of Miracles is an excellent novel, which shows an Egypt Mahfuz end of World War II, through a microcosm Midaq Alley. The author masterfully portrays us as a backdrop, the political and social environment experienced by the inhabitants of the alley. Unforgettable characters, with its very different personalities, they remain isolated in their miserable neighborhood and their problems of morality and behavior. Because while the young dream of adventure out of this micocosmos, the mature ones are not able to adapt to changes.

Mahfouz's novel of the Alley of Miracles exposes us a very current, the struggle between tradition (past) and modern (future). A conflict that still live many societies.

Joaquim (15 / 5)

UNA COMEDIA EN TONO MENOR de HANS KEILSON

UNA COMEDIA EN TONO MENOR de HANS KEILSON

    During the Nazi occupation of Holland, a young couple hiding in his home to a persecuted Jew. This is the starting point. A comedy in a minor key. This is the title. 1947. This is the year of publication of the novel. Question: How does a novel whose theme was in 1947 (and remains) so delicate and so aroused sensitivities could be titled as a comedy? Were not have been and will be tragic any references to the Holocaust, the extermination of Jews, to Nazi persecution and the plague of anti-Semitism that accompanied the German expansion in Europe during World War II?

    
Accepted the "minor key" in the title. A minor key is usually used in music to give the pieces a more sad, more melancholic and collected and, in this sense, fits in perfectly with the intention of Keilson's novel. Not so in the caption as comedy. The characters are tragic: a persecuted Jew hiding in a tiny room (theme in the testimony of Holocaust literature, whose paradigm is the Diary of Anne Frank), a young couple, constantly restless and uncomfortable because of the danger to himself carries its own action, and whose motives for running such a risk ranging from well-intentioned humanitarianism and taking half-hearted and almost involuntarily to a "patriotic duty", an anonymous neighborhood at any time suspected informers and even takes the form of " silent enemy "(though, curiously, not on all the work no Nazi directly threatening the status quo) and, finally, some relatives, a doctor and a policeman, whose commitment to the resistance shown actively or passively. The decor, of course, also draws on the tragedy: the Nazi occupation, planes flying over cities, indiscriminate bombing, the claustrophobia of concealment. Where's the comedy?

    
A single fact triggers the events in an unexpected way. Protected Jew dies of natural causes in bed and the young couple, with the assistance of medical testimony to the death, the body must rid indictment. Here is the comic element that will determine the final character of Una Comedia en Tono Menor. The difficulties in moving the body and get rid of it (reminiscent of the Bundren in Faulkner's As I Lay Dying) and neglect in the destruction of incriminating evidence, along with small notes ironic (the Jew is a professional perfumer perhaps by the excessive size of this prominence is attributed to the Jews, and can not "stick his nose out the window) so nuanced and almost theatrical show offset the tragic spirit of the novel. In any case it is a hilarious comedy in which laughter seizes one. Hardly. It's just that the oppressive and suffocating atmosphere that surrounds this development is contrapuntal elements that allow a minor key is both scherzante. Not easy. of course, and this is what you give, along with the opportunity, immediacy and topicality of the historical moment of its publication, the value of masterpiece. 

    Esteve [May 15, 2011]

LOS ENAMORAMIENTOS de JAVIER MARÍAS

LOS ENAMORAMIENTOS de JAVIER MARÍAS

    Wrong if I do not think that the first 150 pages of Los Enamoramientos are one of the most powerful outbursts of the recent history of Spanish literature. Nothing is missing, nothing left over. The storyline approach is exquisite, the design of the characters needed, the balance between thought and action perfectly measured, the balance between comedy and tragedy heir to the great tradition (in the case of Javier Marías, english one of course). It is impossible to qualms. When you realize you are absolutely steeped in history, a story the other hand banal, trivial, so common that even embarrassed to discuss it. The answer to that curious argument, to this unhealthy attraction we all feel at one time or another by those who cross our lives without a trace. What kind of life must bear the neighbor with whom usually share a lift without a word? What makes happy or angry at this woman I stumble every morning to go to work? How do you spend your efforts that old lady with whom we agree on the line at the bakery? Imagine working lives is an unintended but persistent, happens every day although we are not aware of it. And just when you think about it when we come up with thousand and one possibilities which, in the same way they manifest themselves evaporate. But there's Javier Marias to solidify these speculations and literary interest them (as he says, "think about things literary.")

    
Surprisingly, when the plot begins to develop as a driver that should work to advance the action, then when the story loses steam. At all mean that Marías did not get hold tension, introduce doubt, expose or disturb potential certainties. On the contrary, his teaching in the art of shaping the narrative on which loop over and over again the characters is undeniable. And his minions, those that appear to give the equation literary agency (read Shakespeare, and Balzac and Covarrubias), first order necessary partners. But this second part responds perfectly to the wording of the proverb: "Tell me what you brag and tell you what you lack." So and so well handled the wireless Marías tragic matter the plot, completely forget how well comic ingredient was mixed in the first half. So, people such as Francisco Rico or the pretentious writer Fontina Garay, whose portraits (the first real, actual both) have a wonderful counterpoint to the main story, almost completely disappear leaving that empty feeling somewhat lethargic our interest.

    
None of this, however, can tarnish the great achievement it is Los Enamoramientos. To jump directly to the headand no questions asked. Javier Marias gives all the answers.

    Esteve [May 13, 2011]

ENEMIGUES DE L'ÀNIMA de CLARA SOLEY

ENEMIGUES DE L'ÀNIMA de CLARA SOLEY

    Someone once threw the phrase "love always wins" and made a fortune. The wedge was as a conclusion for most of them bad novels and almost all (good and bad) Hollywood romantic comedies. In those few cases where love triumphed, by the intervention of interposed person or presence of death as devastating insurmountable obstacle, we left a triumphant love to celebrate another or were leaving to be a comedy find ourselves faced with a tragedy and came to light absurdity as "Love Story" (the films and the novel it). The fact is that we have become accustomed to power want a better world, to outcomes such as "were happily ever after," although we are aware that life tends to skip these slogans with the ease and frequency with when a rabbit jumps a bush.

    
Just try life stories included in the volume Enemigues de l'Ànima de Clara Soley, and if we are really talking about life in capital letters, this can only mean that love often fails. And that love, or indifference (it all depends on the vector point where we stop in this line that we continuously strive to draw to trace our route), these stories speak, sometimes under the more traditional forms and standardized -love the couple, love children, love for a friend-sometimes under the most unexpected ways and delegation-to love oneself, love for a teacher, love the reflection of our self-image. If they meet in parallel love and hatred is because both concepts are manifested in the conflicts addressed by the stories, as they are needed the wick and light the flame to stabilize. Love and hatred are as familiar as the sound of our steps and this is superbly reflected in the everyday language used to bring the reader to characters that are close to their trials and efforts to that excellent ear for dialogue Street gives even corporeality and identity card. Love and hatred, as abstract concepts, demand in some cases a deeper analysis, an internalization that elucubri about the true nature of feelings, without submitting to the tyranny of the shape visual, sometimes cinematography conflict and forced to imagine outcome.

    
Often referring to the irregularity of the stories collected in one volume, as if they were irregular apples from the same tree or a single sub path. But in the case of Clara Soley stories grouped in Enemigues de l'Ànima can only talk regularly, both in the style adopted to introduce ourselves as the common denominator in this so-called failure of these rebirths that Philosopher's Stone need a small death breathed full life. However, love always triumphs ... until the next failure.


    Esteve
[10 April 2011]

LA PATA DEL ESCARABAJO de JOHN HAWKES

LA PATA DEL ESCARABAJO de JOHN HAWKES

   

    The American literary postmodernism is a curious case in the Spanish publishing market. Born and developed in the United States during the Cold War meant a gamble by breaking with the temporal and spatial continuity of the classic novel and a clear determination of precedence formal appearance (with language exercises and experiments metaliterary more) compared to the content background, ie the face of history itself. Of that group stood magnificent researchers metatextual experience the game as John Barth, Robert Coover, William Gaddis and Donald Barthelme, all of them and translated some more pretty good quantity and quality publishers such as Anagrama, Alfaguara Peninsula in the 80's. Like all fashions, the literature also go to a better life (thank God), and American postmodernism is now an object more difficult to find an honest politician. This is greatly the difficulty of this type of literature, little grateful to the reader to the very deep end for fitting the definition of these authors as "more writers writers writers to readers." So complicated are the things to find something new in the (super) publishing market to crawl between small (sometimes tiny) publishers.

    
John Hawkes belongs to this group in its own right, to the point of proclaiming that "the plot, characters, setting or topic were the real enemies of the novel" (quoted in Postmodernism: The Key Figures, Johannes Willem Bertens and Joseph P. Natoli, Blackwell Publishers, 2002). No wonder, then, that, like all his generation, Hawkes also succumbed to the temptation to distort the measure of literary rebellion against the four pillars of the traditional novel, and cited as an affirmation that nothing should be taken for granted and that everything was set. Result of this is The Beetle Leg, western parody that mixed gender prototypes of how Gothic (arid deserts, ghost towns, cowboy of few words) with excursions into imaginary parodic belonging to other genera (outlaw motorized mythologizing trivial facts or sanctification of the first victim to hand). In a writing hard as stone, joins an unbreakable will affect the immediate understanding of the story being told. But the way they did before Faulkner or Cormac McCarthy subsequently improved, what remains is not only the indestructible beauty of his sentences, close to poetry in many cases, but the final composition, in which the altarpiece is composed of multiple pieces that end up shaping the legend.

    
Hawkes is blessed for those who want to escape from the routine of literature and literary initiatives are blessed as it Meetok Publishing, capable of the best (retrieve a forgotten great writer) and worst (blind the reader with the spelling of nonsense Page 9, first line).


Esteve [April 2, 2011]

 

 

NEMESIS de PHILIP ROTH

NEMESIS de PHILIP ROTH

    Philip Roth is 78. This is a fact that should not matter for itself in the world of literature or the arts in general, and another in athletics or F-1 racing. But it is clear that old age is not written as in youth or maturity, evil that despite all the fans and overcoming self-help manuals. As noted by Edward W. Said on his unfinished work On Late Style (Editorial Debate, 2009, en España), there are two types of expression of late style as a factor: one, stormy, revolutionary and anachronistic, in which the artist, "despite being absolute master of their environment, leaving the communication with the established social order which is part and achieves a contradictory, alienated relationship with it "(which is the one that is primarily concerned), the other one that involves a serene and harmonious tension.

    
Nemesis is part of the second type. Already in his late works belied the calm tone and peaceful parsimonious narrative, completely alien to the virulence and aggressiveness of their first-and intermediate work. If Indignation managed to raise levels of expertise that more reflective and The Humbling failed completely by an excess of complacency, Nemesis certainly allows us to return to the best Roth. Of course, we are not seeing anything groundbreaking or revolutionary, nothing that makes your blood boiling or we negated by its extremism. Quite the contrary, Roth speaks just like a grandfather at a family gathering around the hearth, telling a story the way they do the biggest, with its slow flow, its repetitions, its little digressions controlled or fussiness narrative, not without sarcasm. Certainly, the tone would lead us to believe that the narrator of Nemesis is another that finally we found it (actually, we believe that the narrator is Roth himself until a small sign and the final chapter we do receive the error ) and this is perhaps the most controversial decision in terms of total homogeneity of the work.

    
The story of the polio epidemic that ravaged much of the United States in 1944, the Second World War as a backdrop or a portrait of the Jewish community of Newark are just excuses necessary (and often recurring, as in  kosher environment that moves the protagonist) to raise the question that haunts the characters in Roth in the final stage: How to know if our decisions are right? What is the right path where to guide our lives? Arrive at what age repent when we look back? From what we can be sure of is that you never regret having read Nemesis.

Esteve [March, 26, 2011]

 

VICIO PROPIO de THOMAS PYNCHON

VICIO PROPIO de THOMAS PYNCHON

   

   Hallucinatory? Hallucinogenic? No matter. Sometimes words can not describe accurately the novels of Thomas Pynchon and including the present one, Inherent Vice. Amazing because, like all his previous works, expressed such a variety of details in each of his sentences, you have to dig to the bottom to catch a glimpse of its true meaning. As stated by the star of the literary criticism of the New York Times, Michiko Kakutani, in front of his novels we find as before a Christmas tree, whose trunk is often obscured by the sight of gifts hanging from it and to the brilliance and the colorful wrappers. But if there is not only inherent vice "halucinantic" (forgive the neologism), but also "hallucinogenic" (Use a second time, I promise not to repeat). And is that from the 70 that did not show a novel that contains illegal substances in sentence square. Indeed, his characters live in the constant use of psychotropic drugs several (cannabis, LSD, tripis, marijuana), and to this trip we just pack up and get carried away.

    
Both giant-sized novels (The Gravity's Rainbow, Mason & Dixon, A backlight) and the smaller proportions (V, Vineland, The Crying of Lot 49) are justified in themselves. In the former, as a whole comprising a universe and its circumstances, described to the smallest detail, the latter are supported by the individual character and indivisible entity that grants itself the worlds pynchonians. If we understand Inherent Vice  as a parody of the detective novel or, rather, of the detective movies, let us take an exercise of critical-fiction to assert that the model is not very far. From the title (as opposed Inherent Vice to Miami Vice) to the main characters (a detective named Doc pot-smoking and ragged against a picky dress Adolfo Dominguez played by Don-Johnson-), through the same scenario (a Los Angels in the years of happy flower wrapped in a drug-hazy atmosphere as opposed to tourist postcard perfect Miami), all referring to the parody. And that's where Pynchon lost in comparison, because the parody is based on isolated details that do not reach together to create a solid body and, on the other hand, the same character model is too dependent parodic parodied to achieve that distinguishes autonomous presence original product of a derivative.

    
Anyway, and after all this, these are little more than guesses. The advantage is that Pynchon, the author most hidden and ghostly in modern literature, is never going to refute.

Esteve

 

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE WORLD

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE WORLD

It is a book aimed at younger, although it is highly recommended for all readers who likes history. This is a letter-dialogue (story for his daughter) and the whole story begins with "once upon a time"and continues with this tone that makes it so accessible will bring us a few moments of very pleasant reading.

Thus, Gombrich tells how in a long letter the history of mankind, from prehistory to the present, without missing the critical social, moral reflection or positive view of their particular historical changes.

  In summary, we talk about modern and even a work written in 1930 and subsequently extended, is in full force and with a broad and deep. The author with great sensitivity characteristic of a great writer managed to write this book of history that reads like a novel.

 

Joaquim

BARRA SINIESTRA de VLADIMIR NABOKOV

BARRA SINIESTRA de VLADIMIR NABOKOV

    Claim: Nabokov was a stylist. Determine whether their masterpieces on the aesthetic aspect of ethics is not an easy task because both aspects are brought together. The paradox: his most popular and controversial (Lolita) is known to pose an ethical dilemma -intercourse between a man and a less-mature-, while most of his novels exercise minimizes aesthetic and moral approach leaving on a dark background.

    
Bend Sinister is Nabokov's first novel "American." Exiled from Russia after the Revolution and after wandering through Europe, Nabokov states in the U.S. and in 1947 wrote a novel in which, strangely enough, a college professor (coincidentally) is beset by a totalitarian and repressive (coincidence) and must decide between the informer and the coming into power or risky new defense of his convictions (coincidence). Say that the approach was not very original in a time when Arthur Koestler had published Darkness at Noon (1940) and was preparing Orwell 1984 (1949), with the history of Huxley's Brave New World and Zamyatin's We pre- World War II. The treatment of the moral problem, it is also childish and unfortunate, as the importance of the novel can not result in any way its ideological value. But to conclude that its value is zero would be so foolish as to say that the beauty of a painting lies in the chosen subject rather than technique or the color of his brushstrokes. Of course, this handicap detract from the whole work, but Nabokov and his genius survived by meticulous with language and their ability to dump all their knowledge in each of the sentences. If he builds them as a scientist in his lab (in fact his reputation as an entomologist has survived with his literary skill), the reader should be applied to a microscopic chipping to achieve a minimal understanding (in this sense, it is regrettable absence explanatory notes accompanying the edition of Bend Sinister in  Obras Completas III, Galaxia Gutenberg). That is why, beyond its characters, the protagonist of the novel is the narrator, that manipulates and pulls the strings of puppets unwillingness and significance. No wonder, then, his statement that "the work of art has no relevance to society .(...) I do not care about the group, community and other bodies (...), not doubt that pound a fictional work of the larvae and rust is not its social importance but its art, only its art "(Opiniones Contundentes, Editorial Taurus). Not everyone appreciated his art, his best friend in America, the renowned critic Edmund Wilson, considered it a work failed, and his best biographer, Brian Boyd, do not hesitate to say it was his worst novel. Anyway, the perfection of some images (the puddles, stains or liquid discharges as maps of human geography), the anticipation of some characters (Mariette announces the future Lolita) or the depth of some metaliterary or intertextual analysis (the wandering about Hamlet and the critical body that gave rise in the Germany of the late XIX) would be sufficient in themselves to give a pass high to Bend Sinister.

    
Oh and not forgetting that, of course, there are butterflies and chess problems.

Esteve

NIÑOS EN SU CUMPLEAÑOS de TRUMAN CAPOTE

NIÑOS EN SU CUMPLEAÑOS de TRUMAN CAPOTE

    Open parentheses, boy meets girl, closed parenthesis. So simple is the structure of Children on their birthdays by Truman Capote. A special feature: both parentheses anounce and conclude a tragedy; the rest contains a touching story of teenage infatuation.

    
This is one of the most extraordinary stories of Capote, and when speaking of Capote's stories the mixture used to be extraordinary. If we add that the story is set in a village in deepest America, installed in a routine customs and traditions, monotony broken only by the appearance of bizarre characters  -what today would be called freaks-, that break the established ecosystem , this is the purest and most authentic Capote. Indeed, as a rogue child in the village appears to fleece some unsuspecting fools and boors with confidence and conviction of selling medical potions. And above all, as the main character, a kind of youthful Barbie, whose arrival the people awaken from their slumber, not just to the young, eager to impress the girl, but also to their elders, misplaced by an alien presence they will shake up your beliefs. The attachment to the land, the southern U.S., where dry and hot weather, open spaces yet claustrophobic, sweaty, dusty habitat where the sexual tension is chewed in the air, this contrasts with the freshness, the free spirit of worldliness and, finally, the special feature of the new arrival. This is reflected in the attitudes of children, attitudes that do nothing but play as a microcosm of the adult world. All this rests on the behavior of the protagonist, Miss Bobbit, aged 13, which is just the epitome of what would be the very Capote, a character who did not feel in the world, whose culture and whose talents were seen by others as a impostada superiority and ease uncomfortable as all around him.

    
A guy can say that Dostoevsky was a "terrible stylist", which Thomas Pynchon's "shocking", that Jack Kerouac was "a joke", that Borges is a "second-class writer," that Below is "very dull", that Malamud is "unreadable", that Philip Roth is only "fun in a room" or that Joyce Carol Oates is "a monster who should be beheaded in a public auditorium (Conversaciones íntimas con Truman Capote, Lawrence Grobel, Editorial Anagram) shows have a very overgrown ego and little empathy union. A guy can write a story like Children on their birthdays proves to be a genius first.

                                                          

    Esteve

QUATRE QUARTETS de T.S. ELIOT

QUATRE QUARTETS de T.S. ELIOT

It is not unreasonable to think that to understand the work of a poet, would need to experience the same circumstances and spiritual life of the author and understand the personal substrate underlying the content of his poetry. If so, we apply the idea to the Four Quartets TS Eliot. The poem arises from the intersection of two crises: a personal crisis of the poet at the age of 50 years, and a general crisis resulting from the disaster of World War II. In the first case, the young, do not despair: good nutrition and healthy life should not prevent celebrate 50. For older, no problem: at this age is easy to fall into the nostalgia of "When I was young ...". In the second case, the symbiosis reader/writer costs more to achieve for obvious reasons, and perhaps this is one of the reasons that explain the limited relevance of this work (translations of Eliot in general or studies of his work are rara avis in Spanish literature.)

    
We are in 1943. Eliot wrote a book entitled Four Quartets, composed of four poems written at different times. No need to master the math to conclude that the number that makes the structure and spirit of the play is four. Yes, each of these four parts are associated with the seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter), the four elements of classical philosophy (earth, fire, water, air), the music that follows each of the instruments that make up the chamber quartet, and finally, four different landscapes linked to four specific times of the poet's life (Burnt Norton, Little Gidding, East Coker and The Dry savages). Each heading refers to one of the geographical landscape is closely related to the life of the author, dynamic engine that extracted from the awakened memories, memories and forgetting. This apparent contradiction will be one of the many that define the work, whose language determines constant dialectical oppositions whose function is to allow a glimpse of new concepts that show a new path. Thus, exclusive terms such as "here-there", "present-past-future" or "health-disease" are combined in a search arduous exercise of synthesis, like the use we are used to give the words you need a renewing excitement that went beyond the establishment.

    
Poem difficult as any (a sandwich of metaphysical poetry is always hard to swallow), however, allows a comprehensive understanding of the author's intentions and concerns regardless of the impossibility of approaching the multiple allusions that crop up in the text. Let us scholars and way of example (with the invaluable help of Russell Elliott Murphy and his wonderful book Critical Companion to TS Eliot: A Literary Reference to His Life and Work, Infobase Publishing, 2007, ideal to learn everything by and about). One: it is not necessary to know the work of the XIV century philosopher Julian of Norwich, on the other hand difficult to catch for most mortals, and even more for those outside the Anglophone culture, to understand what it tells us quotes such as "sin is necessary" or "everything will be fine." But this is a simple quote, referring to a single source. More complex are the allusions in the second case. Two: when the poet refers to a "shirt on fire" or "love invented the torment", could be sought as sources of origin, both the mythological story of Hercules and Deianira, as the literary scene of Euripides' Medea both the bombings that struck London during World War II and burned most of the city, as the metaphor of the warmth of love, loved by the poet John Donne. This detective work should not prevent the understanding of the message.

    
The poem is preceded by a foreword by Jaime Gil de Viedma, admirer of Eliot as excellent derives from the interviews that make up the volume Jaime Gil de Biedma. Conversaciones (El Aleph, 2002). There was an interview appointment of Jose Maria Cobos for La Vanguardia (24/07/1984) Alex Susanna (neo-translator and reviser of this edition) and Gil de Viedma, following the first translation into Catalan of the first, in which it praises the superior morphological adaptation of Catalan over Spanish in poetic translations for English, or debate the use of colloquial language, religion or poetic enterprise. Or an interview of Benjamin Prado Diario 16 (05/27/1989), Gil de Biederma is proud of the prologue before us as one of its few critical texts that are worthwhile. Attention to what Gil de Biedermann says Eliot, "a poet for whom I have the utmost veneration and to which I will always be discovered, mute, absorbed, and knees. Well, then, Eliot was a reactionary and meapilas Four Quartets , which for me is the greatest work of poetic art of the twentieth century, are a retreat, an invitation to active and loving communication with God and a call to holiness and the unitive experience through the crown of England and the Anglican Church. There is nothing that I can stay so far. " In short, authoritative opinion rather than to disrupt the first sentence of this article.

Esteve 

COLLAPSE

COLLAPSE

Collapse is a good popular science book. The author, Jared Diamond shows that the old ruins, like the statues of Easter Island, the Mayan temples or churches Vikings in Greenland are valuable lessons to convey, bear witness to the collapse of the societies that erected. In these crashes involved different factors, but ultimately it was almost always caused by an environmental disaster in the long term unsustainable management of natural resources.

Equally interesting are the success stories Jared exposes us, societies (living in the highlands of New Guinea and Japan of the Tokugawa) that were able to preserve its natural resources and prosper. So, what lesson can we learn from the past? The book warns us of the urgency to make decisions quickly. We are responsible for our future, and no longer exist as isolated societies in the past (an example is the riots in North Africa) but the challenge is global.

 

Joaquim.