Snippet: Fall 2016 publications in Spanish

megustaleer - Los herederos de la tierra - Ildefonso Falcones

Expected to be the bestselling Spanish novel of the fall is Ildefonso Falconés’ sequel to Cathedral of the Sea called Los herederos de la tierra [The inheritors of the earth].

Other publications mentioned by Ayén, put in alphabetical order by the blogger:

Fernando ARAMBURU, Patria [Fatherland] – the Basque Country after ETA…

Roberto BOLAÑO (1953-2003), El espíritu de la ciencia-ficción [The spirit of science fiction] – situated in Mexico City in the 1970s; Ayén wonders why Bolaño didn’t publish it during his lifetime if he considered it finished as maintain the executors of his estate…

Paloma DÍAZ-MAS, Lo que olvidamos [What we forgot]

Julio FAJARDO HERRERO, Asamblea ordinaria [Regular (shareholder?) meeting] – set in a precarious labor market…

Rosa MONTERO, La carne [The flesh] – love with a gigolo; reminds one of last year’s Premio Planeta, Hombres desnudos [Naked men], by Alicia Giménez Bartlett…

Elvira NAVARRO, Los últimos días de Adelaida García Morales [The last days of A.G.M.] – study on an author who died in poverty and virtually unknown.

Marina PEREZAGUA, Don Quijote de Manhattan [Don Quixotte of Manhattan] – the title is quite explicit…

Ricardo PIGLIA, Los diarios de Emilio Renzi: los años felices (1968-1975) [The Emilio Renzi diaries: the happy years] – another example of autofiction?

Álvaro POMBO, La casa del reloj [The clock house] – an unexpected heir has to move into a rich man’s mansion…

Clara SÁNCHEZ, Cuando llega la luz [When the light comes] – sequel to a 2010 book on retired Nazis on the Costa Blanca.

José SANCLEMENTE, Ilusionarium – thriller around a young magician who plunges into the Seine river.

Pilar TENA, La embajadora [The ambassador] – on the new Indian ambassador to Spain, her first meeting with the king, …


SOURCE: Xavi Ayén, La Vanguardia, August 27, 2016, p. 31 f. [printed edition]; Penguin Random House [cover picture]


Snippet: Fall 2016 publications in Catalan

As the summer holidays come to an end, publishers in Spain present their new books for the fall. Massot writes they do it a little earlier than usual this year, with several titles on August 31, due to the fact that the Setmana del llibre en català [Catalan book week], with all kinds of promotional activities for books written in Catalan, will take place earlier than in other years, September 2 to 11.

Massot mentions the following titles (alphabetical order by the blogger):

Josep Maria ARGEMÍ, El somni de William Blake [William Blake’s dream] – on visionaries and hallucinated persons from history…

Rosa Maria ARQUIMBAU, ed. by Julià Guillamon, Cor lleuger i altres narracions de l’era del flirt [Light heart and other narrations of the flirtation era] – short stories and a play – and the novel Quaranta anys perduts [40 years lost].

Prudenci BERTRANA, L’hereu [The heir], the first novel of an autobiographic trilogy; also an 800 pages book with his complete short stories.

Natalia CARRERO, Jo mateixa, suposo [I myself, I suppose] – a woman in crisis who survives as a writer…

Jordi COCA, Califòrnia [California]

Johan CRUYFF, autobiography, published world-wide on Oct. 15.

Ferran GARCÍA, Recorda que morirás [Remember that you will die] – a first novel.

Carles HAC MOR, Escriptures alçurades [Rebellious writings] – an essay.

Jordi LARA, Mística conilla [Mystic rabbit] – short stories.

Joan-Lluís LLUÍS, El navegant [The navigator] – a young man in the 19th century with a special gift that brings him to the Paris commune and the French colonies…

Víctor NUBLA, Les investigacions del cap Pendergast [Chief Pendergast’s investigations] – five cases around a Canadian Mounted Police agent.

Marta ORRIOLS, Anatomia de les distàncies curtes [Anatomy of the short distances] – short stories.

Carme RIERA, Les darreres paraules [The last words] – the archduke Louis Salvador of Austria’s fictionalized memories (an interesting character who lived on Mallorca)…

Albert ROIG, Gos [Dog] – a book centered on Rilke.

Ferran SÁEZ MATEU, La nit contra tu [The night against you] – set in the 1980s, pre-Olympic Barcelona, where strange, supernatural things happen…

Gemma SARDÀ, La veu del Cyrano [Cyrano’s voice] – how the wife and daughter live after the sudden death of a great actor and dubbing voice, a first novel.

Ramon SOLSONA, Allò que va passar a Cardós [What happened in Cardós] – a plot around the building of a hydroelectric power plant in the 1960s (still operative today)…

Matthew TREE, De fora vingueren [They came from outside] – African immigration as the background, by a British author writing in Catalan.

VARIOUS authors, Gira Barcelona [Barcelona turns] – Barcelona from 4 a.m. to 4 a.m., 24 hours divided among twelve authors, comes in a pack with a reissue of Luis ROMERO, La noria [The wheel], the Barcelona version of Schnitzler’s La Ronde: A Play.

Emili VILANOVA, ed. by Enric Cassany, Escenes barcelonines [Barcelona scenes] – texts set in Barcelona.

Antoni VIVES, Passió, mort i resurrecció de Manel García [Passion, death and resurrection of M.G.] – muddy: murders and the Barcelona that doesn’t show on the surface…


This blogger will try to present some of the titles that interest him in individual posts.

SOURCE: Josep Massot, La Vanguardia, August 27, 2016, p. 30 f. [printed edition]

Snippet: William Egginton’s “The Man Who Invented Fiction”

The Man Who Invented Fiction

William Egginton, The Man Who Invented Fiction: How Cervantes Ushered in the Modern World, 2016, 272 p.

The publisher’s summary can be found here, where there are also some snippets of peer reviews; some reviews by the general press (gist: they like the book though they doubt its central thesis):

Kirkus Review, Oct. 4, 2015

The Times, June 11, 2016

The Spectator, June 18, 2016

The Guardian, July 23, 2016


While the blogger intended to read a review (cf. source) of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s fifth volume of the My struggle series of which he is a somewhat enthusiastic follower, he stumbled on this book on Cervantes – timely published in the Cervantes year… The Atlantic review by Nicholas Dames (Columbia U) turned out to be an interesting article on the modern novel in general.

SOURCE: The Atlantic, April 16, 2016; Bloomsbury (publisher)

Snippet: Anna Carreras’ “French shadows”

Portada llibre Ombres franceses, el cep i la nansa, la cram

Anna Carreras, Ombres franceses [French shadows], 2016, 118 p.

Publisher’s summary:

Young Juliette Lavelle’s life passes peacefully between her Montmartre apartment and the classes at Sorbonne university where she studies Eastern art and literature. Between the infuriating dialogues with her professor, the dazzle she feels for a crazy poet, and the phone conversations with her psychoanalyst, Juliette writes a short story to compete for the Epimenides prize of Logical Paradoxes.

The plot is no other than that of a story that is submitted for a prize and then wins it unanimously. All the characters in this choral work that develops as it unfolds have a shadow upon them. Everybody watches everybody else.

Nothing is what is seems. Everything has got a double face, a false bottom and two viewpoints. Nothing white or black: that which triumphs here is a scale of greys beneath the pink sky of a Paris sunset. An ingeniously brilliant woman, an obtuse professor with a recurring psoriasis, a trickster and womanizing poet, a well-matched jury, a semi-crazy psychoanalyst, and some essential supporting actors shape this aparently quiet nouvelle that transforms into a thriller where the living and the dead form part of the same game of chess.

Anna Carreras i Aubets (Barcelona, 1977). Author of the novels Camisa de foc [Shirt of fire; 2008], Tot serà blanc [Everything will be white; Alexandre Ballester prize 2008], and Unes ales cap a on [Wings where to; 2011], she now translates novels and writes poetic articles that are published weekly by the press. Of her essay work there stand out El cervell i les venes [The brain and the veins; 2005] and Altaió i Vinyoli in “Santa Follia de Sèr Càntic” [Holy Madness of Being Chant; 2014], centered on the poetics of postmodernism.


SOURCE: El cep i la nansa (publisher)

Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio, writer

Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio (Rome, 1927) is a Spanish writer with a short and somewhat “strange” list of works if it comes to novels. The Wikipedia (in English) has got this article.

His first novel was Industrias y andanzas de Alfanhuí [translated into English as: The adventures of the ingenious Alfanhui] (1951)

Publisher’s summary:

Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio invented a child and walked with him on the paths of his new old country and wrote the most beautiful book of his time. A story full of true lies.

«Alfanhui wouldn’t have been able to say if in his eyes there was a gloomy solitude and in his ears a fathomless silence, because this music and these colours came from the other part, from where the knowledge of things never comes; transposed the first day, behind the last wall of memory, where the other memory begins: the huge memory of the unknown things.»

According to the Wikipedia it’s “the first Spanish story of magic realism”.


El Jarama [translated as: The River] (1955), Sánchez Ferlosio’s second novel, is considered his main work.

Publisher’s summary:

Nadal prize 1955

El Jarama starts a new epoch in Spanish narrative incorporating into a story of realistic appearance an absolutely realistic technique. Eleven friends from Madrid decide to spend a hot August Sunday on the shore of the Jarama [river]. From this point onwards the plot develops simultaneously in Mauricio’s tavern -where the regulars drink, discuss and play cards- and in a grove on the river shore where the excursionists settle down. During 16 hours there is a succession of baths, stinging from the sun, paellas, the first erotic dabblings, and the resentment in front of the time that is fleeting making imminent the threat of Monday. At the day’s end an unexpected event fills up the day with deep poetry and endows the novel with a strange greatness.

The Wikipedia (in Spanish) summarizes the plot as follows:

It tells the story of a group of eleven young people from Madrid who spend the day in the countryside on a hot summer Sunday. The action takes place near the Viveros bridge, on the Jarama river, where the protagonists go to take a bath and escape from the tedium of the city. On another level of the novel there develops the confrontation of two counterposed worlds, the urban working class and the rural one. As to the narrative there has been highlighted the author’s capacity to show the action in different places simultaneously, Viveros bridge and Mauricio’s tavern, as in a movie script. The narrative plot, as simple as in many examples of neorealism, breaks down at the novel’s end with the narration of a tragic event, which serves the author to strengthen his thesis on the opposition between human life’s fleetingness and the unchangeable nature of the river.


Afterwards came a long period of silence, i.e. without any publications, interpreted as a form of protest against the Franco regime, and after the dictator’s death an intense activity as an essay writer and columnist.

megustaleer - Altos Estudios Eclesiásticos (Ensayos 1) - Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio


Altos estudios eclesiásticos (Ensayos 1) [Advanced ecclesiastic studies, Essays 1], 2015, 800 p.

Publisher’s summary:

In 1955, after writing El Jarama, Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio retired from circulation to immerse himself during 15 years in grammar, what he called «advanced ecclesiastic studies». This epoch of solitary studies derived into abundant writing that came to light intermittently during many years, but probably resumes better than any other the fundamental concerns of Ferlosian reflection.

This volumen, the first of four that will make up the “Collected Essays”, gathers the writings that are most directly linked to these years of dedication to grammar: Las semanas del jardín [The garden’s weeks], «Guapo» y sus isótopos [“Handsome” and its isotopes], the Glosas castellanas [Castilian comments] and the translation and notes of  Victor de l’Aveyron by Jean Itard, that are recovered after more than twenty years, among others.

«First I incurred in “prose”, i.e. la bella página [the beautiful page] (Alfanhuí); afterwards I wanted to have fun with speech (El Jarama), and finally, after many years of grammar, I found language (represented not so much in my last novel but particularly in the non-literary writings).»   Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio in La forja de un plumífero [A hack’s forge]

This blogger hasn’t read any of Sánchez Ferlosio’s works so far, and he will probably start with his writings published on the newspaper El Paíswebsite.


SOURCE: Planeta, PlanetaPenguin Random House [publishers]

Snippet: Cervantes Institute opens its digital archive

The Instituto Cervantes [for the promotion of the Spanish language and culture] has recently opened its digital archive of nearly 10,000 documents (and growing) to the public. There are five different databases that among other purposes, document the cultural and institutional activities of the first 25 years of the institute’s existence (1991-2016); one of them gives access to all the translations of Cervantes’ Quixote.

To find your way around, some notions of Spanish would be useful, though there should be audio-visual material of bilingual events held in English-speaking (and other) countries…

SOURCE: La Vanguardia, August 13, 2016, p. 30 [printed edition]