The Others by Raül Garrigasait

The Others by Raül Garrigasait

Spanish (Catalan) fiction

Original title – Els estranys

Translator – Tiago Miller

Source – review copy

I end this year’s Spanish lit month with another book from the publisher of Catalan fiction Fum D’Estampa press.This interesting take on a historic novel has an interesting angle and style to it. This was the prize-winning novel from the Translator and writer Raül Garrigasait he has translated a number of books from both Greek and German into Catalan.Plato, Goethe, Alexandros Papadiamandis, Joseph Roth, and Peter Sloterdijk are all writers he has translated he is involved with a project to translate a number of classics into Catalan. The other is his debut novel and won a couple of big [rizes when it came out in Spain.

Wieldemann wandered through the grounds of the sanctuary.Next to an entrance both of old, dark stone, the roofless pillars and arches held themselves aloft among the nettlesx and weeds, surrounded by an assortment of discarded rocks. It was nothing more than half finished, abandonedbuilding but there was something apocalypitic about it. He went into the empty church; all the pews had been removed all the way up to the Baroque altarpiece where golden figures ornaments shone in one gleaming glorious mess

Erarly on as he heads to the war but does he he finds an abandon building .

The others are set mainly in the late 1830s as the Carlist war is being thought in Spain. We view the war we viewed through the adventures of a young Prussian that has come to fight in the war.  Rudolf Van Wielemann is a young man trying to prove himself. He believes in the war and has high hopes to be in the forefront of the action but when he ends up in a small town he is struggling to get on with the odd set of locals he is a true outsider no language skills the comrades he wants think at times he is |Russian that is how he ends up at the hospital with a doctor in the small town as he is fish out of the water. The only real connection he makes is with a doctor who when they talk we see how the war has touched them both. as they have a shared love of music.  We follow his adventures on the edge of the war as he tries to find out who he is what to do when the war isn’t at his door. it tackles the absurd nature of the war and the absurd nature of it. The book has another dimension which sees Rudolf and his time being looked up by the writer as a number of chapters do a clever piece of autofiction as the fourth wall is broken and the writer becomes a character in the book and how he came up with the idea for the book with a character he found that was there at the time.

Between the pages on Wielemann, responisibility dictates I must translate, at least a bit

When it came to writing ,Prince Lichnowsky had no time for verbose or ornate prose, trather making his words fall in with the style of a competent commander, sure , efficent, exact. Given his importance he placed on calling things by their name, his book it as free from lyrical outpouring as his life was. Nevertheless, on the few occasions he did feel inclined to poetry he drew less on his military resolve, always knowing where to draw the line.

One of the chapters about the writer writing ther book, her finds a prussian charcater from the time.

I enjoyed this book it takes that over the approach to war we that of not being in the frontline so we have a chance to see the boring side of a conflict where we can sometimes gleam the absurd nature of war but also young men can discover themselves at the same time as not fighting a war.I also liked the way he moved to his writing of the book by breaking the fourth wall narrative about researching the book and how he came up with the idea of a Prussian character. There are touches of books like The good soldier Schwelk and The tartar steppes the latter where we see a young man guarding a similar distant outpost of the war. There is a mix of absurd nature and pathos of wart also of not quite getting to the front.An interesting mix of war and coming of age in a way Rudolf set of to find himself and prove something to his family but winds up not doing so but maybe finds out more about himself. Have you a favourite novel that is set in a war but not at the front line ?

Winstons score – +B An interesting take on the historic novel with a clever second narrative in the present.

None So Blind by J A Gonzalez Sainz

None So Blind by J A Gonzalez

Spanish fiction

Original title – Ojos que no ven

Translator -Harold Augenbraum and Cecilla Ross

Source – personal copy

I reviewed a couple of books from Hispabooks that published a number of Spanish writers and their books into English based in Spain they broke through a number of the recent writers I have loved Navarro and Barba being two of note that they published first over here. This is the first book by the Spanish writer Jose Angel Gonzalez Sainz to be translated into English he has written a number of novels. He won the Herralde prize one of the big book prizes in Spain. He was the founder and editor of the magazine Archipelago He has also translated a number of works from Italian to English including the works of Claudio Magris with whom he is a good friend. Nine so blind is the first of his books to be translated into English.

Diaz carrion, Felipe Diaz Carrion, knew from an early age, from the first times his father , may he rest in peace, took him along on the road to the field, that Egyptian Vultures were the first vultures to arrive on the scen wherever there was carrion, Genrally they are quiet and quick, his father told him, impressing him to the point of awe, quieter and quicker than anypne else, and despite their large size they don’t make type of dramatic commotion other vultures do, so sometimes they go unnoticed even thpugh they’re always there from the beginning, going about their buisness.

Maybe felipe is like the vulture unnoticed at times a quiet man and his world

The book focuses on the life of Felipe Diaz Carrion a printer that has always work in print shops what we follow is his life the three generations his relationship with his father. His time with his wife. The book follows him leaving his g=hometown and the fields that his family had worked and lived in for many years there is a recurring image of a Vulture and Egyptian vulture that is white and as is point out at a distance looks like a stork at times a motif of life and death this is a story of a quiet man a no one but when he moves North when his wife suggested that they will have a better life and his work life will be better in the Basque region he works at a print shop but is always the outside and the sense of tension there is at the Basque of the time the book is set the height of the recent troubles seems to simmer all around them as things turn for the worse he has a son but they chose to not take the family name of Felipe so we have the third generation of the family with Juan Jose or  Juanjo as he is known growing up in the height of the Basque regions as the famoly start to get involved with the world around them and Felipe often turns a blind eye or maybe doesn’t want to see what is happening around him. This is a story of one man’s life a man with morals in a world of fewer morals a man that tries to do the right thing but is often at odds with those around him.

But the years, now marked by the rhythm of that commute, which had gradually become as familar as his old road to the field, were passing comfortably. Asun, his wife, after a difficult adjustment period seemed to be feeling more and more at home as time went on, and their son- their elder son, because a year after they moved there, they’d had another one, and withthis one he had insited, perhaps for reason of nostalgia, on naming him Felipe – was well into his teenage years and had began not only to go out with his posee of friends but to be out with them at what might call every waking hour, in fact. To him, there was nothing more important at his pose, and no household routine or opinon, or, in any case, not his fathers, held the least valuefor him compared to those his friend would spout.

Caught between tradition and the real world at times

There is a dark shadow over this book with the Basque ETA situation it adds to the world they come to when they move to the Basque region this is a man that seems to lose every way he turns a quiet man that leaves all he knows to move to for a dream. But the reality sinks in the recurring theme of the Vulture is hoovering over is like the death of a family in a way death of a tradition. For me, I was reminded of the undercurrent that I felt visiting Northern Ireland in my youth at the height of troubles the constant sense of undercurrent that was there the normal world that isn’t normal. There is also the ease one can get caught up in the passion and fury that is in that world.

Winstons score – B – an insight into one mans life.

Working Woman by Elvira Navarro

Working Woman by Elvira Navarro

Spanish fiction

Original title –La trabajadora,

Translator – Christina Macsweeney

Source – personal copy

Another of the writers that were on the first Granta best Spanish writer list(note there is a new edition out if it is half as good as the first as there have been so many great writers from the first list) . Elvira Navarro studied philosophy at university and has written six novels and a number of collected stories. She has won many prizes for her writing. She is known for her innovative writing making her one of the leading writers of her generation most of her novels have been translated into English. This is the first book I had read from her.

Then one fall day, Fabio turned up. He was Mexican, thpough no would have guessed it, given his Irish looks. I had kind of an obsession with anything blond{She made a vague gesture, like a Thompson gazelle lying in wait for a camera in a wildlife documentary. I was about to say something, but..} One day my psychoanalyst said I was looking for the child I used to be all the blond men I fell in love with. A second shrink, Jungian this time came out with the idea that I worshipped the Ayran race{I looked at the floor, if susana wanted to beleive her, these ridiculous observations weren’t helping, but on the other hand, the part of me that curiously observed and envied her freedom in constructing an image of herself gave a faint signal of delight, I was accustomed to her exggarations , even to her lies

What is truth is a big part of this book who is real as well !

The book is a story of two roommates Susana and Elisa, Elisa is a copy editor and proofreader that has seen her job shrink and has had to move to a smaller place and then even couldn’t make ends meet she takes in Susana as her roommate. So she has left the center of Madrid and had to move to the outer suburbs. The book flicks between both their lives as at times we see Susana’s life through the eyes of her roommate as she writes down her roommate’s stories. What we see are to women struggling with their lives mental health is touched on the loss of dreams the struggle of life as the two are drawn Elisa is a lost soul as she wanders the town the graveyard both actual and the left behind abandon house half-built dreams in the dead of night. Susana an artist is making maps out of clippings and pieces of the local area. It is a story that sees you at the limit of what is life a woman on the edge is there even two women is Susana a sort of creation for Elisa to live out her fantasies in a way Susana is described in such a way she seems too good to be sometimes !! Is it a friendship or just a dream this is where Navarro does well to tread a line that as a reader you are never sure? Add to that all a relationship with a dwarf !!

Becoming an indepedent contractor had been the first step. Then they started getting behind with my paychecks, only making them promptly when i complained. They used to say this courtsey- meeting their obligations- was a sign of how much they valued me. When winter came around, I hadn’t been paid for two months, and I’d started without much success, testing the waters at other publishing houses.I wirker till late on galleys that left me without the slghtest desire to read to go on looking at the screen, and then I’d need to get outside , walk and have a couple of beers.

The tough publishing world has woirn her down and seen her move out of the city

When I saw on the back cover that Lina Meruane had called her disturbing and had an eye for the unusual I was drawn in and her novel seeing red I loved. This is a story of two women or is it one woman Elisa is failing in her job as she is working on editing a memoir she has a psychiatric condition which she is trying new meds is this all an illusion is Susana a character created to comfort her to inspire her with her tiny maps and her being the opposite of Elisa or is she real. Navarro has drawn the two roommates so well as at times the story goes between them and at times Susana’s story is told by Elisa. Not the easiest read it sees how easy it is for us to all fall into despair and a downward spiral. I do wonder if Navarro is a soft cell fan with the whole dwarf side story reminded me of the song of theirs from the 80s sex dwarf! Have you read her ?  which book would you recommend next?

Winstons score – -A near-perfect gem from a talented writer.

Life and Spanish lit month

A quick post just extending Spanish lit month into August. I’ve struggled to write and a lot of the time read a book this last month or so. I feel a group of nights at work which I finished yesterday morning was on my mind for various reasons and had distracted me with a shoulder injury last month and not having a holiday for two years we had a weekend away last month but the whole Covoid situation with working through it and having Amanda at home as she was told to stay in due to her health issues for most the last year of it has all taken its toll. Now as we enter more freedom with the figures still high and I’m just worn down so instead of panicking and stressing I’m extending  Spanish lit month to August which we have done before and it will match up well with Women in translation month as there is so many great female Spanish writer and translators out there at the moment. Thanks to everyone that has taken part so far I hope to go and comment some soon. I am now back at work tomorrow for two long days. So  I will be posting a review Friday Hopefully .A great Arrival has popped through my letterbox it is the first book that Charco Press has published by Argentinean writer Claudia Piñeiro she is the third most translated writer from Argentina and has had her other books published her a lot of her books have been made into films. The book has just come out and is a great choice for this month’s or next month’s Women in Translation Month. Hope all of you are doing well and don’t let Covoid worry you too much.

Spanish Lit Month 2021 plus Portuguese lit

Since 2012 the has been a Spanish lit month in July every year a couple of years ago Richard and I expand it to include Portuguese lit which for me was a way to try and read a few more Portuguese works which is an area I feel is weak on the blog. SO I announce this year’s Spanish lit month and I will be doing two reads this month.

The first week this year I would love people to try some modern Latin American lit there has been so much that has come out in recent years. The writers from Andres Neuman to Mariana Enriquez have shown how diverse Latin American Literature has been. I have chosen a book from a publisher that has brought us some great books from Latin America Charco Press there backlist is a good place to start with the best of the new writers from Latin America. The book from them I have chosen for a read-along in week one of July is A collection of short stories from the write Federico Falco A perfect cemetery the study obsessive love, romantic love, and how we deal with death and grief as a mayor tries to build the perfect cemetery for a dying wish.

Week two Spain no read-along just a book or two from Spain there been so much from Latin America in recent years. But maybe not as many from Spain. but it is great to read some Spanish fiction or even some nonfiction work. any suggestions welcome.

Week three classic lit. Well, modern classics really I have chosen a book by Peruvian Nobel winner Mario Vargas Llosa his best-known book which is Aunt Julia and the scriptwriter which describes Mario a thinly veiled version of Mario himself working in Peruvian radio doing the highly popular daily soap operas we follow his writing and personal life. I read this years ago and wonder if it has dated any in the time since I last read it. There was a Hollywood version of the book which I had hoped would be online or available for watching but tune in tomorrow isn’t available shame as it is a great film.

Week four is Portuguese week a mix of lit from Portugal and its ex-colonies I hope to read the madwoman of Serrano by Dina Salustio the first female writer from Cape Verde to be translated which Dedalus books brought out a while ago there has been a number of great African titles translated from Portuguese in recent years. I also hope to read a book from Portugal this week.

Will you be joining in? what books will you choose?

London Under Snow by Jordi Llavina

London Under Snow by Jordi Llavina

Spanish Fiction

original title – Londres nevat

Translator – Douglas Suttle

Source – review copy

I am late to this it was sent last year but I tried to read it during the first long down but I wasn’t in the mood for a subtle work like this is. The writer Jordi Llavina is a Catalan writer and cultural journalist He has hosted a tv show on books and radio shows as well. He has written novels, poems, and short stories and it is with a short story collection we get to read him for the first time in English. He won the Josep Pla prize one of the big book prizes in Spain. This is the second book from the new press Fum d’estampa press that brings a mix of the best in contemporary and classic Catalan literature. Another possibility for the Booker international prize maybe ?

I first arrived London on a Feburary day in 2009. I was thirty years old. Among my persopnal effects I had a black leather notebook like those that Le Corbusier once used to sketch out architectural ideas or to note down some of his theoretical or techincal thoughts . On the second blank page, I wrote a title “London Under Snow (and other reflections) ” in pencil

Five day before I was to set off for the English capita, a colossal snowstorm had set alarm bells ringing and I was worried that the tick blanket of snow shown on the newspapers front pages would turn into s terrible layer of ice- I didn’t realise that the sefvices in London actually work reasonably well snowploughs, workers with reflective jackets and armed with spades and salt all work together to remove the settled snow.

Just as he is to go to Londo it is turned white and the lakes around get frozen up.

The book has six short stories that all have a theme of memory and loss involved in them they blur the line between the writer’s real life and a fictional world. The collection starts with the title story a look back at the first time the writer visited London. A wintery London he describes it being shown that it is snowing in London before he arrives it see him try and get a hat for a friend that is from a costly shop ending up with a fake but then trying to get the original only to try and return years later and the shop is gone. This last part of the story reminds me of when Helene Hanff went to the carcass of 84 Charing ross road. The next story is about a family one a message of a cousin the Andalusian had stopped at his parent’s house many years ago he had shared a room he remembers unpacking his stuff and that he went to live in a small village in Mexico he laments the loss of contact with other family members as his life has moved on. The other stories also see him have a couple that is coping with the grief of losing a baby. Loss of a home with a homeless man. There was another about a man who reminds him of his old drama teacher.

My Andlausian cousin is dead, A few days ago. I received a telegram sent from a post offive in the Mexican village where he had lived since the ninties. It had been sent by a woman with a name that was almost as pretty as that of the village where she had most likely spent the last few years of her life with him. I hadn’t heard anything from him for around a decade and a half but, while we having had little to do with each other’s life, we were quite fond of each other. Three had been a period when he was still living in Andalusia, before the rude interruption of electronic mail, that we would write long letters to one another on a monthly basis.He was eighteen months younger than me and had died [rematurely at the age of Forty-five.

I was remind in this of the end lines of the film standf by me where the narrator of the film talks of his friend chris he hadn’t seen in manyu year but would never forget!

There is a theme of memory and loss around these stories. I am reminded in this collection themes are in that Portuguese word Saudade that is a feeling of loss and longing is hanging here. From a tale of a hat , the notice of the loss of a family member. The style is subtle gentle writing of his life those he has known as I said I struggled to get the voice of him in my head as I read but this time I did. Proust came to mind in the first story the hat was a similar device to that of Proust’s Madeline that unlocks the memory of trying to get the hat for his friend. It blurs the lines of fiction and biography so you not sure it if is the writer’s actual life or just a mere work of fiction. A wonderful intro to a new voice lets hope we get to read some more from this thoughtful writer. Have you read any of the books the Fum d’Estampa has brought out in the last year or so?

Winstons score A-

The No World Concerto by A.G Porta

The No World Concerto by A.G Porta

Spanish fiction

Original title – Concierto del No Mundo

Translators – Darren Koolman and Rhett McNeil

Source – Personal copy

I first came across A G Porta when I started reading up about Roberto Bolano a few years ago as the two were close friends from the mid-seventies and they used to talk about writers when they started and they decided to write a book together which came out in the early eighties. I do hope their joint book comes out at some point even the title grab you Advice from a Morrison Disciple to a Joyce fanatic. Then after this  Porta disappeared for a number of years Bolano said for these years Porta just read and reread James Joyce which I would love to do just have a long time to wallow in Joyce. Since the 99 he has written five novels this is the only one so far to be published in English.Lets hope it isn’t the last to be translated.

The screenwriter stands with his luggage, facing the hotel, having just gotten out of a taxi, thinking he ought to know or at least have a good idead, bow the story he intends to write is going to end. He certainly seen better hotels than this, but today he can’t afford to pay for onem because he no longer gets his advances he used to, and he’s lost a well-paying job teaching literature at a schiool for gifted kids. Now all he has left are some savings and a miserable pension, and he doesn’t now how long they are going to last, for life n the neighbouring country’s capital is so much more expensive that the city he just left.

Maybe Madrid for Paris we don’t know but maybe as he arrives to work on the screen play the screenwriter.

 

The book has a couple of main storylines that at times link and than others seem to follow one another over time. First, we meet an old screenwriter who has shacked up in a hotel after a number of years of writing failures he is writing a screenplay about a young girl that is a piano prodigy who is at the point of becoming a huge talent as she is tasked with taking on one of the most challenging works of a modern composer. So as the story unfolds the tales start to mirror each other as the reality of the screenwriter and the young pianist start to blur as the worlds they are in at times almost touch always mirror themselves. As time seems to move forward and back as at some points they are lovers and others each seems to be working on works about each other this is a book that has so many layers. It is a book that left me wanting for more from Porta in the future which is a good thing.

Her skin, he thinbks while caressing her arm, examing every fine blonde hair, delicate skin, he thinks while envisioning her in a tuxedo, or perhaps just wearing the jacket, double breasted but unbuttoned, with a bowtie around her neck; her mother’s high heel shoes, whichare clearly too big for her, the only other item of clotyhing covering her naked body as she stands before him, aloof and domineering, despitebeing only a girl. Thus the screenwriter imagines her, repenting his decison to get rid of his camera equipment, not that he could realizise vision onstage in the little theater where they rehearse, let alone the church in which they’re going to perform their concerts. He caresses her delicate skin. What does No World mean ?

Is he seeoing her or writing her the lines blur at times as the older man dresses the young girl.

 

The stories remind me of what Borges may have done if he had ever written a novel the mirroring of place and time the blending of the present and future is often something that Borges did in his short stories I was also reminded of those books I have read from Noveau Roman movement there is a sense of removing a sense of place from the book and also making the character’s general. The people are in this book as we are never given any names for the main characters just what they are and though they are in a big city there is no real sense of a single place in the book. The book is considered one of the best Spanish novels in recent years. This is a modern classic from a writer that maybe should be better known in English. He had a big part to play in the early career of Bolano and it is a shame his books haven’t been as widely received as Biolano but he is a writer that is challenging for the reader. Have you heard of Porta and his connection to Bolano?

Winstons score – B

The Madness by Narcis Oller

The Madness by Narcis Oller

Catalan fiction

Original title – La bogeria

Translator – Douglas Shuttle

Source – review copy

You ever think you reviewed a book and then discover you haven’t well this is a case in point I can remember writing about this book but I must have deleted it or part wrote and left it but anyway I return today with a classic of Catalan fiction from Narcis Oller. He translated books by Tolstoy and Dumas into Catalan also his french edition of one of his books was given a forward by Emila Zola. So he is in that vein of naturalism and realism of writers like Zola and Dicken. He wrote a number of well-received books. Here he captures through two men who meet over a period of time the political strife that would lead towards the civil war. This is from a new press Fum D’estampa specializing in Catalan

fiction

Daniel Serrallonga was older than us and must have then been around twenty-five years old. But his pale, hollow face, thick, unfuly beard and short, auburn hair made him look a lot older. Hiseyes, round and grey and hardly visible through the thick glass of his gold rimmed Prince-nez, ever balanced on the bridge of his hoked twisted nose, added years to him or , at least , provided him with an air of being of a somewhat undefinable age due to his clear lack of youth and the veil of sadness that they conferred on him.

He paints an interesting potrait of Daniel a sort of firey man by this description.

The story revolves around two men Daniel Serrallonga who has moved to the country and are narrator we don’t get told much about our narrator just he is a lawyer who has another friend Armengol whom he first met the young man daniel at a coffee house. As they meet our narrator observes who the young man challenges the local police officer who was booed by the other in the coffee house as he takes things to far our narrator sees this as an odd action. Daniel ends up in prison. Where he starts to write political pieces, but when he is released he discovers that his articles never saw the light of day as they were just destroyed by his friends that  he had trusted to put them out there for him. what follows is over the years the three men’s paths cross the narrator’s friend Armengol swaps careers and becomes a doctor later in his life as we see daniel fall out with his family or an inheritance becomes involved with various theories to the assassination of General Prim a would-be prime minister it is either this or his family woes with his sister that lead to Daniels downfall.IS he Mad ? what drove him there.

Four years passed without me hearing anything aqbout Daniel, and had it not been for bumping into Armengol in a bar in Barcelona, it woukld have been even longer.

“Hello, hello” grinned Armengol “What are you doing here ? Its great to see you!

“You too! What a concidence!”

I’m just back from Madrid. Oh, and you can take your hat to me,I am now offically a gradute doctor. I arrived atthis morning because of some carlist stopping the train at Calaf. And You

Later it is through Armengol who sees daniel in the medical sense more in the latter stages of the book.

I enjoyed this as many of you know I work with Learning disability patients we have a number that also has mental health issues which we usually see as they are in crisis when they arrive at our ward. So I am always interested in literature that involves mental health we see daniel fall apart throughout the book this is a time before understand of what is mental health with his theories etc and the swings in his behavior he has some sort of psychosis. The novel shows the background of the time the fragile state assassinations police corruption then through Daniels family we see what happens when the family falls out. This is a sad tale of one man’s descent into the well of misery. This is seen through two sides a look back at events from the present and then the events told as they happen. This shows Oller view of the times from the three main characters point of view

The Desert and Its seed by Jorge Barón Biza

The Desert and Its Seed by  Jorge Barón Biza

Argentinian fiction

Original title – El desierto y su semilla

Translator – Camilo Ramirez

Source – personal copy

This is a modern classic from Argentina the late writer used his own family life as the bases of the story. His own father Raul Baron Biza a writer and Politician that was in a middle of a divorce with his mother when he threw acid over his mother this is the bases of the story which is told from Jorge’s point of view. He worked as a journalist and in various publishing houses. He translated Proust. His life was touched by tragedy his mother they had to flee to Uruguay as they opposed the Peron regime . His fathe mother sister and ultimately Jorge himself all commited suicide.

Eligia’s naively sensual face began to part with its contours and colours. beneath the original features, a new substance was emerging: not a sexless face, as Aron would have wanted, but a new reality beyond the the necessary resemblance of a face. Another genesis had begun to happen – a sytem of unkown laws

Just after the inital attack her face is meling just before one of the lawyers rush her to the hospital.

The names have been changed Aron is meeting his wife in 1964 as they try to reach an agreement over the divorce. Eligia arrives and Aron throws acid in her face this is where the book opens and Mario her son arrives at the ER to see the horror that be fell his mother at the hands of his own father we arre told tha tAron ran off but later shot himself as he wouldn’t have coped with being imprisioned. The novel folows the mother and somn around the world as they seek a way to mend the mother face painful operations the pain is told early on as his mother is restrained by her wrists to stop her doing more damagfe to her face this is told as we also see there homeland of Argentina falling apart as it stumbles from one disaster to the next. His mother fate at one point he looks at one of those great Arcimboldi the artist that made his pictures of objects his most famous works had veg bu this one was made up of meat and fish. A feeling of his mother face being a patchwork of various surguries and attempts to sort it out.This book shows the horro but also the detacted nature of there relationship he cares for her but there is a lack of empathy and pathos at times he cares for the body of his mother but her soul maybe not so much.

My lace at the table faced animage from the sixteenth century that I could never imagined on my own. The frame had a metal plague that read “The Jurist” Under a cloak with a fur collar was an embellished vest with embroidedflowers and a thick golden chain – a sign that the subject was on the emperors good side – but the coin on the chain didn’t have an inscription or any figure. Underneath the waist coat, where one would expect to see the body of the subject covered by a shirt three thick volummes were visible one over the other, dry and soporfic, I imagine. The ruff was made of paper sheets, and a black cap covered the head.

All these elements, represented very natrually, framed the strangest face I have ever seen in my life.It was composed of plucked chickens arranged in such a way that a wing formed the eyebrows ridge, a thigh made up the cheek, and a small chick passed for a massive nose. A fishappeared fold onto itself, so thats its mouth was also the mouth of the subject, while its tail simulated a beard.

A face made of various parts is maybe a remind of his mother face.

Well this is a classic a slow burn story of a mothjer and son but also the aftermath off facing your own fathers actions this is his own story like they say in a lot of dramas only the names have been changed. Biza was an art critic hence the Arcimboldi and a few othe rpainting mention I alway thought of the vicious image of Bacon’s faces when I imagined his mother. This is a tragic story as we know that everyone in this book took there own life the main characters from Aron shooting himself then a decade or so later his own mother took her life as she couldn’t cope withthe horror that was her life and then his own sister and laterly Jorge only a few years after he had finished this book. How do you find words to capture this he does the nature of surgery on his mother but also the changing up and downs of his homeland at the time are  caught. A gem have you read this book ?

 

Rolling Fields by David Trueba

Rolling Fields by David Trueba

Spanish Fiction

Original title – Tierra de Campos

Translator – Rahul Bery

Tonight I bring a bestselling Spanish novel from an acclaimed director and screenwriter David Trueba. He directed the film version of the book Soldiers of Salamis by Javier Cercas. He has also directed a dozen films and has also published a couple of novels. This is his first to be translated into English. In looking up about this book I found on his Spanish publisher there was a spotify playlist the book is formed of two chapters side a and side b. Here is a link to the spotify list. It was also translated by a first-time translator.

We’re normal people. That was absurd way my father used to define us. I fought against it, quietly wishing not be normal, to be special. But I could never shake off the stigma of being normal.

“We’re just regular, normal people, Dani, my boy”

Because in my profession the exact opposite is what’s required. It’s only job where trashing your Cv increases your chances of getting to the top. We once meet Antonio Floresat the fiest in Peniscola, where we played just before him. He was so friendly that we instantly became confidents, despite not knowing him at all.

I like the last line a sort of music story yoiu net someone becomes you are best pals !!

The framing of the book is around a son driving his father’s corpse in a Hearst to his home village across the farming lands of Spain. Dani Masca is forty and is following his father’s last wish. He travels with him and the chatty Ecuadorian driver. But as they head off his thoughts drifts into his own life from a small village a humble town. He grew to be a singer/musician with his two school friends Gus and Animal f=they form a band but they all get caught up in the dark side of the music industry with there first manager and early recording career till they start to take off. Then add to this the loss of his mother at an early age a weird silence about his birth from his family, which later is revealed ! and as the road rolls out the mind of Dani flicks through all these events as well as his wife and two kids. Sex drugs rock and roll as he writes his love song. The memories of the early years the summers with his bandmates and growing up are great. This is a mid-life book that isn’t about a crisis but about a life that has been lived and coping with life.

We soon discovered that our ame belonged to a company owned by The Champo, along wioth the publishing rights for the songs and the sole rights to our forst two albums, as dictated by the contest’s one-sided regulations. This incident inoculated us against futher disappointments of the music world: the enitre advance from the label was spent on buying our freedom and we never got back the rights for those two songs, We also had to pay The Champ compensation in order to keep our name, Las Moscas.

This remind me of the stone rose early sings row with there first record label years ago.

This is a page-turner a good summer read I like it as it has a gentle mix of the family story in the relationship with Dani his parents also later with his wife and kids. Music the spotify list has a number if not most of the songs mention in the book. The band is a sort wart and all look at the music industry with the pitfalls that all bands find whether in Spain or Here the pitfalls of managers’ labels and friends that become bandmates all are of a type. Then the loves of Danis in his Friends, family, and music is at the heart of the book. There is a feeling that this is written by someone in the film industry I’ve read a few novels by filmmakers it is well-paced and you can feel it has a feeling of a film in the way it is paced. An interesting debut in English from a filmmaker and writer. A book for those who do like a fun read It says David Mitchell fans but for me, if Woody Allen had been born in Spain and been a singer in a band this is in his comic vain a mix of what makes life for us all. Have you read a book or seen his films at all?

Previous Older Entries

September 2021
M T W T F S S
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
27282930  

Archives

%d bloggers like this: