Snippet: Marc Pastor’s “Farishta”


Marc Pastor, Farishta, 2017, 466 p.

publisher’s summary:

With an exciting starting point, unforeseeable turns of the plot and the imagination of the masters of the fantastic thriller,  Marc Pastor’s novel combines intrigue and adventure to catch the readers and hold them tight relentlessly along its pages.

Farishta [a woman], recently turned 18 years old, uninhibited and courageous, has already found the job of her life. It’s the year 1993 and the Russian company Iefremov-Strugatski has hired her to attend the rich families that live in a complex of private islands in French Polynesia, where it was guaranteed to them that they could educate their children without any risk. In this apparent paradise she will find love quickly. But she will also find herself slowly trapped in a series of disturbing events that will question the true nature of her work and the dark business of the powerful people that have hired her. What is the inconfessable mission of these families? Why are they isolated from the world? Have they really sacrificed everything for their kids? In a climate of rising tension, with the certainty of not being able to trust anybody, and with the fear of her life being at stake, there is only one question left for Farishta to answer: is it too late to escape?

The publisher offers this booksite with a map, a Spotify playlist, etc.

publisher’s author information:

Marc Pastor (Barcelona, 1977) is a criminologist and a culturally dispersed explorer. He fought the Nazis in Montecristo and drew the criminal profile of the vampiress of Barcelona in La Mala Dona [The bad woman], for which he was awarded the crime novel prize Crims de Tinta. With L’any de la plaga [The year of the plague] he warned of the imminent invasion by “ultra-bodies”, and with Bioko he showed us a way to travel in time. He has published short stories in various anthologies, and even though they can be read separately, his fictions complement each other and build a unique universe of their own. His work has been translated to around a dozen languages, among them English, German, Korean, Turkish, Czech or Hungarian. He currently works at the forensics department of the Mossos d’Esquadra [Catalan autonomous region’s police].

@DoctorMoriarty lists Pastor’s Barcelona Shadows as available in English.

This book has come up constantly in different news articles throughout the past year, so this blogger has been reminded to present it here, though he is not a fan of fantastic thrillers…

SOURCE: Amsterdam (Ara Llibres, publisher)


Snippet: Esty Quesada’s “Freak”

portada web

Esty Quesada, Freak, 2017, 130 p.

publisher’s summary:

“The more I tried to fit in, the less I did; and the only thing I got from these attempts were memories that later on I had to suppress and store in the file of unwanted pain.

The less I mixed with society, the more more hatred I kept against it. I was something like a species ‘if today I don’t manage to talk to the girls of my class in a normal fashion, tomorrow I will bring a rifle and shoot them.’ A relationship of ego-hate-world-hate-ego.”

The first book by “Soy una Pringada,” one of the most influential and unique youtubers of today’s panorama, in which she talks about her childhood, bullying and how these experiences made her into what she is today.

The author Estibaliz Quesada (Barakaldo, Basque Country, 1994 (?)), a.k.a. “Soy una pringada” [I’m a chump], has made herself a name as a youtuber who greets her 200k+ followers with the words “Hola, cachos de mierda” [Hi, shit chunks]. She has contributed to TV and radio shows, starred in movies, and is currently preparing a series for the platform flooxer.

Quesada represents a form of “culture” that this blogger doesn’t appreciate at all, though he is glad she found with her videos on youtube a nonviolent form to deal with her frustrations, maybe using offensive language but not physical violence.

SOURCE: Ed. Hidroavión (publisher); “Qui,” La Vanguardia, March 17, 2018, p. 5 [printed edition]

Snippet: D. Diniz prize to Hélder Macedo

Casa de Mateus

The Fundação Casa de Mateus [foundation] awarded its 2018 D. Diniz prize to Hélder Macedo for the essay collection Camões e Outros Contemporâneos [Camões and other contemporaries].

Excerpts from Público‘s article:

The book contains 25 texts dedicated to authors from different times, starting with the namegiver of the prize, D. Dinis, and continuing to more contemporary authors such as  Mário Cesariny, Herberto Helder or Manuel de Castro.

“A recognized poet and novelist, Hélder Macedo offers to us in this book as an essayist a route of the Portuguese literature, from the Middle Ages to the present, familiarizing us with the great authors of the past and of the present and bringing their universe nearer to us by crossing their works and their lives,” according to the jury minutes. The jury was impressed by the way how Macedo “assumes the boldness of his findings, and he does so with an erudition that, far from driving away the readers, fascinates through the new horizons that will open.”

Starting with medieval literature and passing by authors such as Manuel Teixeira-Gomes, Eça de Queirós, Cesário Verde or his colleagues of the times of the discussions at Café Gelo, Macedo finishes the book with an attempt to inventory the main authors of Portuguese literature from the medieval songbooks to the present, but always trying to fit them into their respective historical and cultural contexts.

The prize was created in 1980 for works of poetry, fiction or essays. During the worst years of the recent financial crisis it was not awarded.

It will be formally awarded to Helder Macedo on October 6, 2018, at Casa de Mateus [website], in the presence of the President of the Republic of Portugal.

The Wikipedia has got this exhaustive article on the Farmer and Poet King Denis of Portugal, after whom this literary prize is named.
King’s College London offer this short biography on Hélder Macedo (Krugersdorp, South Africa, 1935) who studied and taught there for many years. - Camões e Outros Contemporâneos


SOURCE: Público, March 12, 2018; Bertrand (publisher; cover picture)

Snippet: Carme Riera’s second “crime” novel

Carme Riera, Venjaré la teva mort [I will avenge your death], 2018, 320 p.

publisher’s summary:

Martyred by the sense of guilt, the former detective Elena Martínez remembers an old case in which she contributed to the condemnation of two innocent people.

2004: the mysterious disappearance of a businessman is only the tip of the iceberg of a dark plot that spreads out its tentacles all over Catalonia. At the request of the family, the young detective Elena Martínez takes over the case. The first clue: a valuable collection of “caganers” [typical Catalan Nativity figure] and a strange obituary.

In the line of Natura quasi morta [her first crime novel], this is a crime novel with a touch of humor in which the “who” is more important than the “how”.

excerpted from Carles Geli’s article in El País:

Instead of “black”, as in Spanish and Catalan crime novels are called “black” novels [novela negra], Riera says she painted this one a “dark gray”.

She says gray because there is a lot of white in the humor. Her protagonist is from L’Hospitalet de Llobregat [next to Barcelona], of Galician orgins, 35 years old, separated, with a Fox Terrier, and who has to investigate the disappearance of a businessman in the Catalonia of 2010 [sic!?]. Between tax evasion, corruption and pedophilia, the protagonist ends up tortured by a feeling of guilt and sunk between pain and vengeance because she contributes to the condemnation of two innocents.

The author says her protagonist has got nothing to do with herself, not even in her language. As to the corruption, Riera wanted to give “flashes of the reality that surrounds us”.
As happens regulary in Riera’s works, there is a patina of feminism in her protagonist: “The right to equality for women is a moral question.” She is also a strong supporter of the freedom of expression, even if that expression is not politically correct.

There exists this 2016 post on Carme Riera. This blogger liked the few works of hers that he has read so far.

SOURCE: Grup 62 (Planeta, publisher); El País, March 20, 2018

Snippet: Inês de Castro prize to Rosa Oliveira

Rosa Oliveira, Tardio [Late], 2017, 120 p.

This poetry collection won the Prémio Literário Fundação Inês de Castro 2017 [I.d.C. foundation literary prize].

Born in 1958 [in Viseu (Portugal)], Rosa Oliveira unveiled herself as a poet in 2013 with the book Cinza [“gray” or “ash”], which won the Pen Clube prize for debut works. Before that she had published a book for the Expo ’98, Paris 1937, and the essay Tragédias Sobrepostas: Sobre O Indesejado de Jorge de Sena [Overwhelming tragedies: on The Unwanted by Jorge de Sena] (2001), her revised master’s thesis.

In 2016 she published in Granta magazine “the first story of a series on which she works at the moment.”


The Inês de Castro foundation, headquartered in Coimbra, promotes the investigation and promulgation of the history, culture and art that is related to Inês de Castro (cf. the Wikipedia for a short summary of her fate).

In Spanish there is available this biography:

 M. P. Queralt del Hierro, Inés de Castro: la leyenda de la mujer que reinó después de la muerte [I.d.C.: the legend of the woman who reigned after death]


Happy World Poetry Day (Unesco)!


SOURCE: Público, March 13, 2018; Tinta da China (publisher, cover picture); Planeta (publisher, biography, cover picture)

Snippet: Mario Vargas Llosa in the press

The New York Times offers this article (March 13, 2018) on two recently translated works by Mario Vargas Llosa, Cinco Esquinas / The Neighborhood (fiction) and Sabers and Utopias (non-fiction). And this apparently more critical one (Feb. 19, 2018) on the same books: “A Pulpy New Novel and Juiceless Old Essays.”

The publisher’s information for The Neighborhood, and a review from Kirkus.

The Neighborhood

El País Semanal in English offers this interview (March 2, 2018) on the occasion of the publication of Mario Vargas Llosa’s latest essay, La llamada de la tribu [The tribe’s call], considered his intellectual autobiography.

megustaleer - La llamada de la tribu - Mario Vargas Llosa

The Wikipedia offers this article on the Peruvian-Spanish author.

SOURCE: Penguin Random House Spain (publisher, cover picture La llamada…)


Snippet: “14 glasses of water” (a novel)

Resultat d'imatges de 14 vasos de agua

Ana Rodríguez de Almeida Montero, 14 vasos de agua [14 glasses of water], 2018, 302 p.

publisher’s summary:

How to write a life’s summary? Náyade isn’t born into the seat of a normal family; she doesn’t have normal parents. She doesn’t have a normal childhood, neither normal sisters. She doesn’t go to a normal school with normal friends. She doesn’t turn into a normal woman who does normal things. Or does she? Náyade loves, suffers, hurts, dies, resurfaces, destroys, hates, laughs, kills. She feels, feels, feels, always, feels. Will you accompany her?

publisher’s author information:

Born in Donostia/San Sebastián in 1980, she studied Advertising and PR at Universidad de Navarra, but she discovered that she didn’t really like Marketing; so she preferred to spend her time writing her first novel: Lluvia en la ciudad [Rain in the city], finalist of the III Concurso de Novela [novel competition]. After spending a few years travelling somewhat, working in bars and restaurants, she decided to open her own bar with a friend (the Koh Tao in San Sebastián) with the intention to be able to manage her time and devote herself to her real passion, writing. She published her second novel, Solo los perros me saludan [Only the dogs greet me]. While working on this, her third novel, she opened together with her partners two more bars in the city, La Cochinita Pibil and Belgrado. Right now she is writing her fourth novel, whose title can’t be revealed yet.

Sounds really strange. The novel was recommended in El País men’s style supplement ICON. This blogger likes the titles the author chooses for her novels.

SOURCE: Ed. Círculo Rojo (publisher)