Snippet: Patricio Pron’s latest short story collection

megustaleer - Lo que está y no se usa nos fulminará - Patricio Pron

Patricio Pron, Lo que está y no se usa nos fulminará [That which exists and is not used will fulminate us], 2018, 176 p.

publisher’s summary:

Patricio Pron returns to the short story to give another lecture in sobriety, irony, originality and elegance. Lo que está y no se usa nos fulminará does what every book should do (but hardly ever achieves): take you to a place from where you would wish never to return.

Two writers agree to write the “autobiography” of the other, and a female reader becomes obsessed with both or with only one of them. A man draws up mentally his Tinder profile while a girl talks to him about death and the horrible secrets that things tell each other. The “great Chilean poet” destroys a hotel room in Germany and offers his conversation partner a lesson in life.  A writer called “Patricio Pron” hires a bunch of actors to “act as Patricio Pron”, with the catastrophic results that could be expected.

The characters of Lo que está y no se usa nos fulminará have a glimpse at what a better life could be like, and its intensity dazzles them. Vulnerable, puzzled, ridiculous, wise, all of them return one time and another to the intuited possibilities of this vision, convinced that if they don’t take advantage of them they will be lost: what they find doing it is hazard, the writers’ lives as deforming mirrors, the chance to make a work of art of their life, the necessity to disappear, to leave it all behind to become one with literature.

Pron’s official website contains a link to the recent interview on RTVE’s Página 2 literary program (in Spanish).

Patricio Pron (Rosario, Argentina, 1975) has got a PhD from Göttingen University (Germany) and lives in Madrid, Spain.

His 2011 novel El espíritu de mis padres sigue subiendo en la lluvia is available in English as My Fathers’ Ghost Is Climbing in the Rain: A Novel (2014), in the translation by Mara Faye Lethem.

SOURCE: Literatura Random House (publisher)


Snippet: a Spaniard’s contribution to the American revolution (children’s lit)

Cover Get to Know Bernardo de Gálvez

Guillermo Fesser, Get to know Bernardo de Gálvez Conoce a Bernardo de Gálvez, 2017, 32 p.

More information on the book from the publisher. It is used as study material in bi-lingual schools in the States and in Spain.

More information on the author Guillermo Fesser (Madrid, 1960), who lives in Rhinebeck, NY, from the Wikipedia.

Snippet: Forges, a Graphic Humorist, Dies at 76

(c) Forges @Twitter, April 23, 2017: “Reading is Growing!” (Int’l Book and Intellectual Property Rights’ Day)

A person who reminded newspaper readers of the comic sides and the many contradictions of dire Spanish politics… His real name was Antonio Fraguas de Pablo and he died on Feb. 22, 2018. There is a Wikipedia article (that needs some grammar corrections) and a personal website (in Spanish) with many examples of his work.

SOURCE: El País, Feb. 22, 2018

Snippet: Around the world in 80 cemeteries

Fernando Gómez Hernández, La vuelta al mundo en 80 cementerios [Around the world in 80 cemeteries], 2018, 480 p.

Publisher’s summary:

Let yourself be surprised by the most important cemeteries in the world, discovering the most curious anecdotes and stories that happened there.

La vuelta al mundo en 80 cementerios is a walk around the most important cemeteries in the world. [… (repetitive)…] Written in an enjoyable, simple and agile manner, in this book you will explore, among others, the La Madeleine cemetery in France, the Hólavallagarður in Reykjavik, the Jewish Cemetery in Prague, or the Vatican grottos.

This blogger mentions it because it appeared in Llucia Ramis’ weekly article on Feb. 17, 2018. Putting its name into google, there appeared a lot of blogs that talk about it. Hopefully it is not written as repetitively as the publisher’s summary…


SOURCE: Ed. Luciérnaga (Planeta, publisher)

Snippet: 1st Edhasa prize for historical narrative

The publisher Edhasa has created the Premio Edhasa Narrativas Históricas [Edhasa Historical Narrative Prize], endowed with 10,000 EUR, for which it received 415 entries, and the winner of the first edition is Francisco Narla (Lugo, Galicia, 1978) for Laín. El bastardo [Laín, the bastard].

Núria Escur on the contents:

It’s the story of Rodrigo Sejías’ son, who dreams that his father, the lord of San Paio, feels proud of him. But Rodrigo doesn’t return from the crusades. “I was interested in talking about this epoch and the Spanish presence in the crusades, a fact that is little known,” says the author, who had as an initial aim the weaving of a double plot: “On the one hand the relationship between an illegitimate son and his father; and on the other hand that of a daughter and a father. …” The protagonist alternates experiences and landscapes: taken in by Guy de Tarba, he goes on adventures. From Galicia to the Pyrenees, Venice, Palestine, the Mongolian empire, the Silk Route… He is persecuted by Templars (“it is hardly known that they accumulated so much money with the illegal trade in relics”), betrayed, fooled, tortured, but finally a hero. Revenge nourishes him. Falconry plays a central role. […]

This blogger doesn’t like the cover’s aesthetics and is not a big fan of the genre in general, though he has come across quite impressive works such as Robert Harris’ Pompeii and Miguel Delibes’ The heretic

SOURCE: Edhasa (publisher); Núria Escur in La Vanguardia, Feb. 17, 2018, p. 35 [printed edition; accessible through a link on the Edhasa page]

Snippet: Biblioteca Breve prize to A. Fernández Mallo – and Luis Goytisolo republished

Agustín Fernández Mallo, Trilogía de la guerra [War trilogy], 2018, 496 p.

winner of the Biblioteca Breve prize 2018

publisher’s summary:

In these three scenarios there were fought battles: the Galician island of San Simón housed a concentration camp during the Spanish Civil War; Vietnam was the big wound of the 1960s United States; the coast of Normandy witnessed the end of the Second World War. Like the stars, that shine for us though they have expired, the dead soldiers of these battles are united to the protagonists of this story that, from the same places but today, interweave their destinies through surprising connections.

With a creative intensity that gives no respite to the readers, Trilogía de la guerra unfolds a kaleidoscope of narrations that crystalize in an unusual but certain portrait of the 20th and the baffling 21st century. As if W.G. Sebald and David Lynch had become allies to reveal the B side of our reality to us.

Agustín Fernández Mallo, one of the great renovators of our letters, gets here to unexplored heights and writes his most ambitious project, with his style that integrates disciplines such as science, pop culture and anthropology, in a novel that contains poetics of an enormous magnetism that achieves to draw a concrete and transcendental map of contemporaneity.

There is a 2017 post with more information on the author.

The winner of the first Biblioteca Breve prize, awarded in 1958, was Luis Goytisolo. He is still alive as he was only 23 at that time. His winning novel Las afueras [The outskirts] has been republished on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the prize.

publisher’s summary:

Las afueras is a daring and radical proposal that, among other things, poses the limits of what we can consider a novel. It’s made up of seven stories, seven episodes protagonized by different characters and apparently unconnected, but united by space and time: a city that with all probability is Barcelona and its surroundings, in an epoch that corresponds to the postwar period in which the book was written.

Through these stories there meet the working class and the comfortable bourgeoisie: a rich young man who participated in the war and passes his leisurely days on an estate; a retarded and sad child cared for by his grandparents; a well-off man who goes out partying with a friend and meets the one who was his assistant during the war; an old couple that lives on hardly any means in a small flat; a laborer and his wife from the South, and a young university student with the future before him… Through these characters and these stories, Goytisolo constructed a potent and innovative novelistic artifact that talks about the periphery, margination, solitude and social injustices, with which he started a literary career marked by the constant endeavour to expand the novelistic forms and to experiment with them.

Read today, Las afueras maintains all of the force that the critics of the time detected, who celebrated his ambition and his achievements.

The publisher gives this short piece of author information.

SOURCE: Seix Barral (Planeta, publisher); Anagrama (publisher Goytisolo)

Today: Frederick Douglass 200th birthday + #FreeDeniz (not Iberian)

Frederick Douglass portrait.jpg

SOURCE: Wikipedia

As he didn’t know the exact day, Frederick Douglass gave Saint Valentine’s day 1818 as his birthday; 200 years ago today.

The Wikipedia has got this article on Douglass, which is available in many other languages, too.

The New York Times‘ coverage can be found here.

The Washington Post has got a number of articles, e.g. an op-ed one on “a champion of American individualism” and another one on “Five myths about F.D.”.

The Guardian considers Frederick Douglass’ book on his own slavery as one of the 100 most important nonfiction books ever.


ALSO TODAY: the Turkish-German journalist Deniz Yücel has been imprisoned in pretrial detention for exactly one year on espionage charges in a Turkish jail. Cf. the Wikipedia article, and Deutsche Welle‘s articles in English: “one year in prison”, timeline, “the effect on German-Turkish relations”.

UPDATE (Feb. 16, 2018): Deniz Yücel is about to be released from jail, cf. DW’s piece