Snippet: Núria Pradas’ “Tailored Dreams”

Núria Pradas, Somnis a mida [Tailored Dreams], 2016, 464 p.

According to La Vanguardia newspaper this book did really well at the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair as the foreign rights for the publication in six languages were sold right there, even before the publication of the original Catalan version, announced for April 6, 2016.

This date will give the publishers enough time to promote the novel for Sant Jordi, the big book buying day (April 23).

The publisher’s summary:

Santa Eulàlia, from Ciutat Vella [district] to Passeig de Gràcia [Barcelona’s “Park Avenue”]:  the evolution of a young woman inside the universe of glamour and elegence of the mythical Barcelona fashion store.

“Barcelona, 1917. Laia Calvet has just started as an assistant at Santa Eulàlia of Pla de la Boqueria [street address], where she quickly becomes friends with the general manager’s daughter. Her life will go alongside the business’ evolution; and love will rise in the middle of female fashion collections created in the same store;  she will weep with a broken heart while her career advances until she becomes the store manager; she will live the Spanish Civil War’s uncertainty and pain and will discover new horizons with the opening of the mythical store on Passeig de Gràcia.”

More on Núria Pradas (Barcelona, 1954) can be read here.

Blogger’s comment: Sounds like material for a bestseller on the Iberian market – reading material for his mother-in-law but not for him.

SOURCE: La Vanguardia, Dec. 12, 2015, p. 48 [printed edition]; Columna (publisher)


Snippet: Biblioteca Breve prize to Menéndez Salmón


Ricardo Menéndez Salmón, El sistema [The system], 2016, 328 p.

Winner of the 2016 Biblioteca Breve [“short library”] prize

The Biblioteca Breve prize for a novel written in Spanish, of the originally independent publishing house Seix & Barral, has existed since 1958, though between 1972 and 1999 it was not awarded. The original mission statements were these:

“The principal mission of this prize is to stimulate young writers so that they will participate in the movement to renovate the current European literature.” (Victor Seix)

“The winning work has to be among those that show an authentic vocation for renovation or among those that are presumed to deal with strictly contemporary literary and human issues.” (Carlos Barral)

Planeta offers on their foreign rights pages a summary of the book, summaries of the previous books by the same author, and a biographical note on the author, all in English.


Other prices obtained by Ricardo Menéndez Salmón:

2003 Premio de la Crítica de Asturias por Los caballos azules
Premio Juan Rulfo de Relato por Los caballos azules
2005 Premio Internacional de Relatos Cortos «José Nogales» por Gritar
2006 Premio Casino de Mieres de Novela por La noche feroz
2007 Premio Librería Sintagma XXI por La ofensa
Premio Qwerty de Barcelona Televisión por La ofensa
2008 Premio de la Crítica de Asturias  por Derrumbe
2009 Premio de la Crítica de la Feria del Libro de Bilbao por El corrector
2010 Premio Cálamo «Otra mirada» por La luz es más antigua que el amor
Premio Llanes de Viajes por Asturias para Vera
2014 Premio a la Excelencia Artística del Gobierno de Baviera
2015 Premio Las Américas por Niños en el tiempo
2016 Premio Biblioteca Breve por El Sistema

Blogger’s comment: As in most of the cases of current Spanish literary prizes, the publisher awarded the prize to an author already published by them, though through a presumably independent jury. This leads to the suspicion that the prize is not awarded to foster new talent but to get relatively cheap publicity for an already established author.

SOURCE: Planeta (publisher)

Snippet: José María Guelbenzu, discovered

José María Guelbenzu, Los poderosos lo quieren todo [The mighty want it all], 2016, 320 p.

This blogger had never given any attention to this author until he read in El País that Guelbenzu (Madrid, 1944) was the author of more than 20 novels. And he became really astonished when he read in the Spanish Wikipedia that the author is known mainly for his crime novels that have the investigative magistrate Mariana de Marco as protagonist.

The publisher’s summary of the latest one:

«A crazy family, an esoteric journey, a story full of humor and a quiet moral tale. It reads without stopping and it leaves an acid and tender aftertaste».
Eduardo Mendoza

Hermógenes Arbusto, a tax counselor and successful businessman of all kinds of businesses, watches Death enter his office one day and, acting very quickly, he manages to escape the blow of the scythe, dashes to the door, runs out and locks the door twice, leaving the Reaper shut in. Shortly afterwards and while he tries to recuperate in Madrid’s main square, he arrives at a Faustian deal with the devil, the distinguished Forcas (on a permit to visit the Earth), whom he sells his soul with the aim of avoiding, at least temporarily, a new encounter with the Cold Lady [the reaper]. Meanwhile, Tomás Beovide, poet and teacher of literature at Juan García Hortelano High School, marks exams, laments that his girlfriend left him, thinks with melancholy about the love encounter with Maribel Arbusto that didn’t have a happy ending [?], and he consoles himself listening with joy to the suffered [?] love songs of his admired Julie London. And we won’t tell more as all that follows is pure folly, an improbable narrative where a wild and opinionated nonsense constructs its own logic until it riles up any reasonable expectation or argument.

Sounds crazy; this blogger will start with Guelbenzu’s crime novels:

  • No acosen al asesino (2001), [Don’t harass the assassin] (Mariana de Marco 01)
  • La muerte viene de lejos (2004), [Death comes from far away] (Mariana de Marco 02)
  • El cadáver arrepentido (2007), [The repentant corpse] (Mariana de Marco 03)
  • Un asesinato piadoso (2008), [The pious murder] (Mariana de Marco 04)
  • El hermano pequeño (2010), [The little brother] (Mariana de Marco 05)
  • Muerte en primera clase (2012), [Death in the First Class] (Mariana de Marco 06)
  • Nunca ayudes a una extraña (2014), [Never help a strange woman] (Mariana de Marco 07) doesn’t list any of Guelbenzu’s works [bibliography; Spanish] as available in English.

[Apologies for a long silence caused by childhood illnesses typical of winter, job hunting, preparations of a Spanish exam…]


SOURCE: review by Rut de las Heras Bretín, El País, March 5, 2016, p. 30 (printed edition); Siruela (publisher); Wikipedia (Spanish)