Never any end to Paris by Enrique Vila Matas

Never any end to Paris

Never any end to Paris by Enrique Vila Matas

Spanish fiction

Original title – París no se acaba nunca

Translator – Anne McLean

Source – Review copy

Gil: Would you read it?
Ernest Hemingway: Your novel?
Gil: Yeah, it’s about 400 pages long, and I’m just looking for an opinion.
Ernest Hemingway: My opinion is I hate it.
Gil: Well you haven’t even read it yet.
Ernest Hemingway: If it’s bad, I’ll hate it because I hate bad writing, and if it’s good, I’ll be envious and hate all the more. You don’t want the opinion of another writer.

From Midnight in Paris via Imdb 

I have reviewed a book by Enrique Vila Matas on the blog before and that is one of my favourite from my time blogging so it was with both hope and fear I approached this one ,it came out a couple of years ago in the US ,but today sees the UK version come out .So I rather gave away a bit what the book is about with the Midnioght in Paris quote .

I went to Paris in the mid seventies and there I was very poor and very Unhappy .I would like to say that I was happy like Hemingway ,but then I would go back to being the poor young man ,handsome and stupid , who fooled himself on a daily basis and believed he’d been very lucky to be able to live in that filthy Garret that Maguerite Duras rented him

Dreams and different times sometimes aren’t as good at they seem or are they !

Well like Dubliners which is the other book under review on the blog here it is a book about Literature and writing ,this time it is a man called Enrique Vila Matas (that may or may not be the writer ) whom has read Hemingway’s moveable feast and has been inspired to go to Paris and rent a Garrett from great French writer Marguerite Duras and try to be a writer ,to try improve as a writer ,he has already had one book published and is working on the second whilst learning about writing in Paris ,the second book The lettered assain is an actual book (more about that later ) So has Paris swallowed Enrique or has he discovered his muse whilst trying to be Satre or Heminway in seventies france ? well you have to try to find out .

I think I unconsciously reflected this dichotomy between Rimbaud and Mallarme in The  lettered assassin ,where I invented two diametrically opposed writers .

Oooh  so want see this one in English either that or learn enough Spanish

Now I was going to leave this until Spanish lit month but no its an early taster and it is just because I want to shout buy this book ,although if I know the folk that read this blog all the time a book about trying to be a writer in Paris is going to be up everyone’s street ,this is a classic struggle of the writer taking a small room or garret and then trying to put out that masterpiece or go mad from Maugham Philip trying to be an artist in Of human bondage ,through Knut Hamsun Hunger ,Borges put himself in his  story Borges and I like Vila Matas has here ,then recently Bolano where every one of his characters is  a part or to use that Borges style a reflection of him Bolano and yes this Enrique Vila Matas in this book is reflection of himself .He also evokes that time of post 1968 France a sort of country searching for itself slightly which is something France did pre Mitterrand.Oh and it would be a great chance to have translated the Lettered assassin and bring it out the same time as this me for one would have brought it after this as it is in some ways a long advert for that book good or bad you just want to find out more about it after you put this one down .The cover is a great Homage to a Hemingway cover for farewell to arms ,thanks knew when this arrived it remind me of something ,rob of robaroundbooks pointed it out

Have you a favourite book about writing and writers ?

13 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. hastanton
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 08:15:39

    I have got Outlaws by Javier Cercas on my TBR …..have you read it yet ?


  2. Tony
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 08:18:06

    This is one I really want to try – shameful that I haven’t read any more by Vila-Matas since ‘Dublinesque’…


  3. naomifrisby
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 09:14:02

    This sounds excellent; do I need to read A Moveable Feast first, Stu?


  4. Brian Joseph
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 13:26:07

    Great commentary as always Stu.

    I tend to really like fiction that is based upon literature. I would want to read A Moveable Feast first, however. Of course that is an omission that I really should correct soon anyway.


  5. Karlo Mongaya
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 19:28:30

    Bartleby and Co. is the only book by Vila-Matas I read but it seems to me he is tackling the same themes in this more recent novel. Another favorite of mine that deals roughly with the same theme would be Luigi Pirandello. His plays not only explore the interaction about writers and writing but also transposes this question to the sphere of the stage and performance.


  6. sakura
    Jun 05, 2014 @ 20:55:55

    I can’t wait to get my hands on this one! And I’ll be handing it over to my dad who loves Hemingway. We just went and had dinner at Hemingway’s favourite restaurant in Madrid, Botins, and I come back to the hotel and read your timely review!


  7. Richard
    Jun 10, 2014 @ 23:43:00

    I bought a copy of this two or three years ago, Stu, but have yet to get around to it. However, your enthusiastic review has me thinking about juggling my queue again! Loved Vila-Matas’ “act” in all three books I’ve read by him so far: smart, funny, crazy about literature…what’s not to like? Cheers!

    P.S. Very jealous that Sakura gets to read your blog in Madrid!


  8. Trackback: Never Any End to Paris by Enrique Vila-Matas, tr. by Anne McLean | JacquiWine's Journal
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June 2014


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