Snippet: March 3 – 24, 2015 “Iberian Suite” @ The Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C.

“IBERIAN SUITE: global arts remix… a major festival highlighting the many cultures that comprise the Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking peoples…”

There will be literature panels with, among others, Alfonso Cruz, José Luís Peixoto, Carlos Ruiz Zafón, Antonio Muñoz Molina, Javier Cercas, etc. (program, p. 46, ff.)

More information @ The Kennedy Center’s homepage.

SOURCE: Diário de Notícias, Feb. 26, 2015


Snippet: Arturo Pérez-Reverte on dogs and sons of b******

In November 2014 there appeared Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s latest book on the Spanish market, Perros e hijos de perra [Dogs and sons of bitches], 152 pages.

From the publisher’s summary:

“I’ve had five dogs. There is no quieter and more pleasant company. There is no touching loyalty like that of his/her attentive eyes, his/her licks and his/her close and humid truffle. Nothing so amazing like the extreme insight of an intelligent dog. There is no better remedy for melancholy and loneliness than his/her faithful company, the security that he/she would die for you, sacrificing him-/herself for a pat or a word.”

Bloodhounds trained by people with no scruples, a one-eyed and worthy Mexican pooch, a Brazilian fila that wasn’t an assassin, Jemmy and Boxer who crossed Death Valley with the Light Brigade, the skinny bastard of the battle of Rocroi, or Sherlock, the dachshund of strong hair and solid silences; these are some of the protagonists of the [roughly 20] articles written by Arturo Pérez-Reverte between 1993 and 2014, that have been collected in this anthology, illustrated by the painter Augusto Ferrer-Dalmau.

“No human being equals the value of a good dog. When a nobel and valiant dog disappears, the world becomes darker. Sadder and dirtier.” A. P. R.

From the author’s official website:

Hard, unforgiving and often angry in his articles, in these “canine” texts emerges a more tender and affable Pérez-Reverte, who appreciates the animals he has lived with or gotten to know and returns to them the same loyalty and affection he received from them, but still gives fuel to some of their owners who don’t know the words “love, selflessness and loyalty.”

… passionate dog glosses which oscillate between admiration for the faithful animals to outrage about those who torture, abuse or neglect them. Stories that are either creepy or move to tears…

Pérez-Reverte is thundering with rage when he speaks of dogs abandoned in ditches, greyhounds hanging from a rope or animals eaten away by mange, terror and wounds after being abandoned, when they are no longer the puppies that entertained the little ones whom nobody taught responsibility for a pet. “Grandpa is put into a nursing home, and the dog is taken to a distant place, the door opens and he/she is told to run.” …

Not such light-hearted reading as one could imagine at first glance… and not to imagine what could happen if Pérez-Reverte put his formidable writing skills into the service of human rights, world hunger, or Syrian (Palestinian, Sudanese…) refugees.

Other posts on Pérez-Reverte can be found here and here.

SOURCE: Alfaguara,

Snippet: a new family history by Llamazares

Julio Llamazares is such a prolific writer that this blogger has got a hard time keeping up… nearly two years ago it was a novel set under the starry skies of Ibiza (cf. post). Then came another one not commented upon. Distintas formas de mirar el agua [Different ways of looking at the water] is about a family that visits the lake covering the valley where their recently deceased father (husband, etc.) was forced to leave nearly fifty years earlier, in 1968, when Franco had built a dam and created the huge Porma reservoir where before had been six villages. This story has got its roots in Llamazares’ personal childhood experiences, as his family lived in one of the villages and was forced to resettle elsewhere in a newly built community.

The critic José-Carlos Mainer writes: “With his long-standing marked interest for the long agony of Spain’s rural life, he doesn’t want to make a political statement, not even a sociological one; what he cares about more in these destinations of uprooting are the vital ties and the strength of the laborious resignation. On the shore of the reservoir that holds their past, everybody knows that ‘there are different ways of looking at the water’ and that ‘it depends on each individual and what they are looking for.’ […] moving, intense and mature novel.”

Llamazares already published a novel on the topic of reservoirs and the forced displacement of citizens in 1988 when there were plans to build new ones, La lluvia amarilla [The yellow rain].

This blogger has been reminded of Jesús Moncada’s (1941-2005; WikipediaCamí de Sirga [Towpath], also published in 1988, a memory of the village of Mequinensa that disappeared under the water.

SOURCE: El País, Feb. 13, 2015

Recommended weekend reading

The following reading suggestions have nothing to do with Iberian matters but two of them with translation and English…

This blogger has been sad to learn of Oliver Sacks’ terminal cancer. Sacks’ New York Times farewell op-ed piece can be found here.

A second matter close to his heart is “Why Americans don’t read foreign fiction” by Bill Morris @ The Daily Beast. (Only 0.7 percent of all the books published in the United States are first-time translations of fiction and poetry.)

Closely related to this is “How did science come to speak only English?” by Michael D. Gordin @ Aeon. (Among other factors another collateral result of the Great and the Cold Wars.)

Bologna Children’s Book Fair: one award and one honorable mention for Portuguese authors

The Bologna Children’s Book Fair (30 March – 02 April 2015; official website) has already published the winners’ list of this years BolognaRagazzi awards.

In the OPERA PRIMA category the prize goes to a team of Portuguese authors:

This section was established five years ago to shine a spotlight on young talent. Every year boasts an increasing number of entries of extraordinary quality thanks to the work of the world’s top schools of illustration and the careful eye of publishers on the lookout for new talent. The winner of the section Opera Prima 2015 is “Là Fora- Um Guia para Descobrir a Natureza” by Maria Ana Peixe Dias & Inês Teixeira do Rosário/Bernardo P. Carvalho, published by Planeta Tangerina, Portugal.

The daily Público offers this summary:

Lá Fora – um guia para descobrir a natureza [Out there – a guide to discovering nature], the first work of the biologists Maria Dias and Inês Rosário, is an informative book that invites parents and children, children and adults to leave home and enter the nature around them, be it in the city, or be it in the countryside.

Profusely illustrated by Bernardo Carvalho [Lisbon, 1973; more info], the book is divided into chapters devoted to birds and mammals, reptiles, to flowers, the sky or the sea, the beach and the tide pools, but also to little animals living in gardens and backyards.

In addition to the descriptions of the types of landscape that can be found in Portugal – forests, woods, mountains, cliffs, ponds, reservoirs – the guide provides detailed information about animals and plants, gives indications of what to wear and take when exploring nature and includes activities for young people.

Planeta Tangerina’s website offers an introductory video.

According to her publisher, an honorable mention for a book in the same category went to Madalena Moniz (homepage) for Hoje sento-me… [Today I feel …], an alphabet-book on feelings, sorted from A to Z. Each word is accompanied by illustrations which complement the interpretation of each of the choices of feelings (more information and examples can be found here and here).

SOURCE: Público, Feb. 17, 2015; Bologna Fiere; Planeta Tangerina (publisher)