Natalia Carrero’s “I myself, I suppose”

jo mateixa, suposo-natalia carrero-9788494489105

Natàlia Carrero, Jo mateixa, suposo [I myself, I suppose], 2016

Publisher’s summary:

Valentina Cruz’ life has always been characterized by a feeling of not belonging to her environment. She didn’t fit into her Barcelona family that was dominated by a despotic father figure who made it impossible at all to establish the weakest affective link. She doesn’t fit into the Madrid neighbourhood where she lives now, superficial and empty, with a social life that doesn’t give her anything. She doesn’t fit into official culture, too concerned with easy literature and that underrates the subversive value of good literature. She hardly fits into her family, her husband and her daughters, but it is a fitting reached through blows of balancing, strategy, submission and renunciations.

Valentina Cruz searches in literature the authenticity that life negates to her, she addresses writing as a broken mirror that returns to her her wounds, she surrenders to difficult reading, which requires effort, that questions everything. It is here where she looks for her space; an uncomfortable place, but the only one to survive.

The publisher, :Rata_, part of Enciclopédia Catalana, doesn’t have a website yet or makes it very difficult to find it… The book was among La Vanguardia‘s recommendations for the fall. To this blogger it sounds too “difficult”…

Thank you for following this blog in 2016. All the best for 2017!

SOURCE: Casa del Libro (bookseller)

Snippet: Pablo Martín Sánchez’ “Yours is tomorrow”

Portada Tuyo es el mañana

Pablo Martín Sánchez, Tuyo es el mañana [Yours is tomorrow]

Pablo Martín Sánchez was born on 18 March 1977, the day covered by the present novel. His first novel was called “The anarchist who shared my name”, centered on the anarchist Pablo Martín Sánchez. The author has indicated that a future novel might center on Reus, his birthplace.

Publisher’s summary of Tuyo es el mañana:

«Today you are going to be born. You should not but you are going to. You should not because it’s hell out there. There are demonstrations every day. The people talk about elections. About attacks. About amnesties. […] But the history that is going to mark your life is going to happen a lot closer, at a few kilometres’ distance. It is going to happen in Barcelona, and there is going to be a girl and a dog, a man and a woman, an old man and a painting. You hear the bells of a nearby church. You feel a new contraction. Today you are going to be born. You should not but you are going to.» At midnight of 18 March 1977 the fate of a baby that slides through his mother’s cervix is linked to the lives of six individuals. Tuyo es el mañana is the work of an able demiurge who, by enrolling the characters’ different and colourful voices in the sequence of time and space, recreates the overlapping plot of hazards which life consists of, and who reveals to us a wonderful garden of converging paths.

 

Fellow writer Màrius Serra, in his weekly column in La Vanguardia newspaper, presented the writer and qualified his first novel as “brilliant” and “a prodigy of narrative force.” As to the present one, he wrote:

Tuyo es el mañana … puts into the form of a novel 24 hours of pre-Transition [to democracy] Barcelona that has just begun ‘post-Franco-ism’ and still struggles in an ocean of uncertainties. A current topic as you can see. We follow this from the movements of six narrators that represent [society] from the old guard of the regime to the young students, via a persecuted Chilean and my favourite, the galgo Solitario VI, who wants to flee the Meridiana greyhound track.

A presentation on Spanish TV stressed Martín Sanchez’ concentration on detail when bringing back to life the Barcelona of 1977, and that the novel contains a kind of soundtrack with music of that age. A Spanish Knausgaard?

This blog contains a post on Martín Sánchez’ first novel dating from 2013.

The Wikipedia article (Spanish) informs on the writer Pablo Martín Sanchez’ diversified advanced studies (a double PhD) and his bibliography. His personal homepage (Spanish) reveals his other activities, e.g. as a translator.

SOURCE: Acantilado (publisher); La Vanguardia, Dec. 3, 2016, p. 43 (printed edition)

Snippet: Miguel Hernández legacy online

La Vanguardia newspaper calls it “one of the most important heritages of Spanish literature of the 20th century.” The legacy of the poet Miguel Hernández (1910-1942; Wikipedia article), i.e. nearly 6,000 files -manuscripts, brochures, sheets, historical press clippings, sound recordings, and images- have been digitalized and put online (Spanish) by the Instituto de Estudios Giennenses [Institute of Jaén Studies, IEG], a body financed by the regional administration of Jaén province.

Among the documents that can be consulted are Hernández’ correspondence with other poets of his generation, such as Juan Ramón Jiménez, and the manuscripts of works such as Cancionero y romancero de ausencias [Poetry of absences], Dos cuentos para Manolillo [Two stories for Manolillo], El niño yuntero [The yoke boy] and Canción del esposo soldado [Song of the husband soldier], among others.

One can also have a look at the suitcase with which Hernández travelled to Madrid in 1931 to become part of the literary scene there, and his Underwood  No. 5 typewriter.

The town of Quesada in Jaén province also houses a museum dedicated to Miguel Hernández and his wife Josefina Manresa, who was born there (website, Spanish).

SOURCE: article by Adolfo S. Ruíz, La Vanguardia, December 3, 2016, p. 43 (printed edition)

Snippet: Jorge Galán’s “November” (1989, El Salvador)

Jorge Galán, Noviembre [November], 2016

The author is not a Spaniard and the story takes places in El Salvador, but the novel is published by a Spanish publisher and appears to be very important.

The publisher’s summary:

A moving history that stresses the necessity to speak up, as did the assassinated Jesuits, in defense of the most disadvantaged.

In 1989 the society of El Salvador lives under the horror of civil war. On a fateful early morning in November, a group of six armed men enters the facilities of the Catholic University and assessinates six Spanish Jesuits and two women in cold blood. During the days following the massacre only the new Jesuit rector, Father Tojeira, is making efforts and willing to find the assassins. The only witness who could help to solve the case is being silenced by government authorities. Who are the criminals and at whose’s orders do they act? Noviembre is an energetic and brave novel that investigates the tragic events that moved El Salvador and Latin America in 1989, and that also touches the history of other crimes, such as the one against Msg. Romero.

This blogger hasn’t read the novel yet, so he doesn’t know which conclusions the author has come to. He heard of the publication of Noviembre while reading parts of Noam Chomsky’s Chomsky on MisEducation, originally published in the year 2000. [Some of the essays in this book were published originally still earlier, such as “The craft of ‘historical engineering,'” Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies, 1989, 197-261.] There is a lot of talk about crimes committed in Latin America during the 1980s with either the active support of, or tolerated by, the Reagan administration with the excuse of fighting the expansion of Socialist regimes there (“Cold War”). Chomsky criticized the US mainstream media for not reporting fully on what was going on in reality – only news that supported the views of the Reagan administration made it to the American audience. On the case dealt with by Noviembre, Chomsky had this to say [translated back to English from the Spanish version of Chomsky on MisEducation]:

conclusions of the Truth Commission, United Nations:

3. Six Jesuit priests, the housekeeper and her 15-year-old daughter, assassinated in 1989; accused is General René Emilio Ponce, Defense Minister of El Salvador until 1993.

Appendix

There existed the frightening possibility that El Salvador would take the path towards a significative democracy, that would allow real popular participation in the political process…

The Carter administration reacted to these threats in El Salvador by supporting, in October 1979, a coup directed by reformist soldiers, while it assured on the other hand that the most reactionary military elements continued in predominant positions…

In February of 1980, Archbishop Romero asked Carter not to support the Junta militarily, as this, according to his own words, “would increase injustice and harden the repression begun against popular organizations that fought to defend the most basic human rights”…

But the marrow of United States policy consisted precisely in increasing repression, destroying the popular organizations and prevent independence; thus, Carter ignored the demand by Archbishop Romero and sent aid to “strengthen the key role of the military in the reforms”…

Archbishop Romero was assassinated in March 1980…

(“Unmasking a pedagogy of lies: a debate with John Silber,” edited by Donaldo Macedo, in La (des-)educación, p. 204, 215)

 

Amnesty International, as does Human Rights Watch, reports on the human rights situation of countries all over the world on a regular basis; in their 2015/16 report on El Salvador, they critize, among a lot of other issues, that

The 1993 Amnesty Law remained in place, denying access to justice and reparations to victims of the human rights violations committed during the armed conflict (1980-1992).

So, whatever the merits of Noviembre, by just appearing it has made a point in reminding us of the dark sides of the recent past and disturbing facts of the present in many countries that hardly ever make the news.

SOURCE: Tusquets – Planeta (publisher)

Snippet: Sanmao’s “Story of the Sahara”

Not a Spanish author but a kind of Spanish setting of its not too remote colonial past.

According to the press, with the parallel publication in Catalan and Spanish, this essay collection -describing Sanmao’s life between 1974 and 1975- has been translated to Western languages for the first time, though Asian readers have been able to read it for years in the original Chinese version, with “10 million copies sold during the last five years.”

El País has got this article in English on the book and its author.

Chen Ping [a.k.a. Sanmao; 1943-1991]’s biography can be found in the Wikipedia.

The publishing label responsible for the double edition, :Rata_ (“rat”), part of the publishing house Casa Catedral, Enciclopèdia Catalana group, doesn’t seem to have a website yet.

 

SOURCE: Llucia Ramis, weekly column, La Vanguardia, Nov. 12, 2016, p. 44 (printed edition); El País, Oct. 25, 2016

Snippet: Carmen Laforet’s “Nothing” (1944/45)

Nada

Thanks to some excerpts cited on Spanish state TV’s “Página 2” literature program, this blogger checked out Carmen Laforet’s novel Nada from the local library and has been impressed in a way hardly ever experienced by a Spanish book; it seemed like a successful combination of Charles Dickens in the description of the city surroundings, and J.D. Salinger in the narrative voice of the lone youngster – though this book was published six years before The Catcher in the Rye, and the protagonist, Andrea, is astonishingly mature for her age. It won the first Nadal [Christmas] prize ever awarded, in 1944, and was published in 1945.

You can find out more about the author Carmen Laforet (1921-2004) and her most famous novel from The Guardian‘s obituary, the book review, and the Wikipedia article dedicated to Nada.

Nada: A Novel is still available on amazon.com where it has received excellent reader critiques.

SOURCE: author website (cover picture)