Snippet: an Angolan movie on fashion

Bangaologia - The science of style Poster

My apologies to those looking for literary articles. This snippet is on a 2016 documentary movie by an Angolan director, Coréon Dú (Luanda, 1984), entitled Bangaologia. It was recently shown in Barcelona during the Moritz Feed Dog festival of fashion documentaries. It is in Portuguese and English and was filmed in Angola, the US, and Portugal. You can read more on the movie here, and watch it on youtube.

SOURCE: ICON no. 39, El País, May 2017, p. 36 [printed edition]

Latin America: 39 promising authors under 40

Hay Festival announced on May 5 the “Bogotá 39-2017”: a selection of the best fiction writers under 40 from across Latin America.

The latest in the Hay Festival 39s series supporting the next generation of great writers around the world, the Bogotá39-2017 selection will be showcased in a new anthology of work, published in Colombia by independent editorials and translated and published in the UK by Oneworld in January 2018, and celebrated in live events at Hay Festival Cartagena de Indias, 25-28 January 2018.

Writers were selected by an expert jury comprised of Darío Jaramillo (Colombia), Leila Guerriero (Argentina) and Carmen Boullosa (Mexico), following a process of open submissions, which saw over 200 writers put forward for the list. Highlighting the diversity and talent of the region’s literature, fifteen countries are represented on the list (see below): Argentina, Bolivia, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala, México, Perú, Puerto Rico, República Dominicana, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The announcement comes ten years after the first Bogotá 39 selection was made to mark Bogotá as World Book Capital 2007. A marker for a generation of Latin American literature, writers from that list went on to become renowned names of Hispanic literature, including Juan Gabriel Vásquez, Daniel Alarcón, Guadalupe Nettel and Alejandro Zambra. The list was revealed at the 30th International Book Fair of Bogota (FILBO) featuring two of the jurors Darío Jaramillo and Carmeen Boullos, editor Margarita Valencía, project coordinator Camilo Hoyos, and International Director of Hay Festival Cristina Fuentes La Roche. Cristina Fuentes La Roche, International Director of Hay Festival, said: “Ten years on from our first Bogotá39 selection in 2007, we are delighted to reveal a new list of writers to mark a new generation of Latin American writing talent. With events now running annually in Colombia, Peru and Mexico, we are proud to use this platform to celebrate the continent’s emerging literary stars. We hope the Bogotá39-2017 are as warmly received as their predecessors.”

The selected authors: Carlos Manuel Álvarez (Cuba) Frank Báez (Dominican Republic) Natalia Borges Polesso (Brasil) Giuseppe Caputo (Colombia) Juan Cárdenas (Colombia) Mauro Javier Cárdenas (Ecuador) María José Caro (Perú) Martín Felipe Castagnet (Argentina) Liliana Colanzi (Bolivia) Juan Esteban Constaín (Colombia) Lola Copacabana (Argentina) Gonzalo Eltesch (Chile) Diego Erlan (Argentina) Daniel Ferreira (Colombia) Carlos Fonseca (Costa Rica) Damián González Bertolino (Uruguay) Sergio Gutiérrez Negrón (Puerto Rico) Gabriela Jauregui (Mexico) Laia Jufresa (Mexico) Mauro Libertella (Argentina) Brenda Lozano (Mexico) Valeria Luiselli (Mexico) Alan Mills (Guatemala) Emiliano Monge (Mexico) Mónica Ojeda (Ecuador) Eduardo Plaza (Chile) Eduardo Rabasa (Mexico) Felipe Restrepo Pombo (Colombia) Juan Manuel Robles (Peru) Cristian Romero (Colombia) Juan Pablo Ronconce (Chile) Daniel Saldaña París (Mexico) Samanta Schweblin (Argentina) Jesús Miguel Soto (Venezuela) Luciana Sousa (Argentina) Mariana torres (Brasil) Valentín Trujillo (Uruguay) Claudia Ulloa Donoso (Peru) Diego Zúñiga (Chile).

You can find more information on the individual authors on the Hay Festival’s website or on the BBC (in Spanish).

As to their work in general, Francesco Manetto remarks in El País that even though many of them come from conflict-ridden countries, the social dimension passes into the background. What they are interested in are personal links, between couples or parents and children. And although Latin America might appear as a “rural” continent, most of the stories are set in urban environments; e.g. of the country with most authors on the list, Mexico, all seven are from the capital, Mexico City.

SOURCE: Hay Festival; El País, May 6, 2017

A quote on contemporary politics

“Our civilization’s destiny depends on climate change, migrations, inequality and globalization, four forces that escape the logic of frontiers and that can only be controlled in a collective effort, without fanatism or demagogy.”

Xavier Mas de Xaxàs in an op-ed piece on the French presidential elections, La Vanguardia, May 6, 2017


Xavier Mas de Xaxàs (Barcelona, 1964) is a graduate in Information Science of Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and in Contemporary History of Universitat de Barcelona. He started as an intern at Europa Press [news agency], from where he transferred to La Vanguardia [newspaper].  During his career he has covered mainly international news: the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification, the Balkans conflicts, the first Gulf War in Kurdistan as well as Russia and Chechnya are part of his journalistic baggage. He was La Vanguardia’s US correspondent between 1996 and 2002, a period during which he covered stories such as the Lewinsky scandal, the 2000 Presidential Elections that were decided by the Supreme Court, and the 9/11 attacks. Nowadays he works as a reporter on local news and an analysts for La Vanguardia and other media. The outcome of his US experience is the essay La sonrisa americana [The American smile] (Mondador, 2003).

This blogger is a keen follower of Mas de Xaxàs’ columns.

SOURCE: La Vanguardia, May 6, 2017, p. 10 [printed edition] (quote); Planeta (biographical information)

Snippet: Roberto Santiago’s “Ana”

Roberto Santiago, Ana [Anna], 2017, 864 p.

publisher’s summary:

Years ago, Ana Tramel was a brilliant criminal lawyer sought after by the best firms. A negative event in her past changed her life, and nowadays she spends her days in administrative resources in a mediocre firm, drowning in a glass of whisky. But her life is upset when her brother Alejandro, whom she hasn’t talked to in five years, calls her distressed. He has just been arrested for the murder of the director of the Casino Gran Castilla.
Ana asks her boss and old friend Concha for help. She needs the structure and the resources of the office to carry forward a defense in which she has got practically everything against her. Together with a peculiar team (an old investigator, a young female lawyer new to the job, and an intern addicted to gambling) she confronts the big gambling companies.

Ana, an absorbing thriller starring an intelligent but finished woman, brilliant but autodestructive, unique.

A dark murder
A protagonist who will leave her mark.
A battle that everybody considers lost.
A thriller that you will not be able to forget.

Roberto Santiago is a writer, playwright and movie director. He is the author of more than twenty novels for children and juvenile readers. Among others, the Futbolísimos series, that has become the most sold Spanish children’s literature saga during recent years, and that has been translated to various languages. He wrote and directed, among others, the movies El penalti más largo del mundo [The longest penalty in the world] (nominated for the Goya [Spanish Oscar] for best script), El club de los suicidas [The suicides’ club], Al final del camino [At the way’s end] and the international coproduction El sueño de Iván [Ivan’s dream]. In theatre, he wrote the adaptations of Ocho apellidos vascos [Eight Basque family names], El otro lado de la cama [The other side of the bed] and Perversiones sexuales en Chicago [Sexual perversity in Chicago], by David Mamet, among others. He contributed to various TV series; he is a profesor at the Escuela Oficial de Cine de la Comunidad de Madrid [Oficial movie academy of the Madrid region]; and his short film Ruleta [Roulette] was the first Spanish short film to compete in the official section of the Cannes film festival. Ana is his first novel for adults.

The presentation of the book on Spanish television’s Página 2 literature program sounded really interesting, though this blogger will wait until his public library makes the book available, or that in around two years there will be a cheaper paperback edition [ironically, most of the new and expensive Spanish novels are only paperbacks; it is hard to find nice, bound copies]. His ten year old daughter has already read a lot of Santiago’s children’s novels – their appeal probably lies to a great extent in the fact that they are richly illustrated.

SOURCE: Planeta (publisher)

Snippet: Sant Jordi’s Catalan bestseller

Xavier Bosch, Nosaltres dos [The two of us], 2017, 560 p.

Publisher’s summary:

«Friendship must be this: the invisible links to somone whom you haven’t seen in fifteen years and it’s like having talked to them the day before yesterday».

Kim and Laura get to know each other in college. They come from very different worlds. He, seductive and unconcerned, is the son of a hotel owner of Barcelona’s Passeig de Gràcia [“Park Avenue”]. She, from Banyoles [interior of Girona province, “Minnesota”], is plain, idealist and she knows that life is based on details. Together they laugh, have fun, and united by the bond of friendship they overcome destiny’s barriers. In spite of their diverging paths, they know that they are there to help each other.  Distance doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that they don’t meet in a long time. They are friends, as there aren’t many, resisting everything.

Is friendship possible between a man and a woman?

You can read more on the author and his work on Grup 62’s foreign rights page.

Bosch’s latest book was the one that sold best on Sant Jordi’s 2017 in the category of Catalan fiction. Your blogger has read some of Bosch’s crime novels, and they were quite intelligent and entertaining, but they are not Literature in a strict sense.

SOURCE: Columna (Grup 62 – Planeta)

Snippet: Antonio Di Benedetto’s “Zama”


Antonio Di Benedetto, Zama, 2016 (translation), 224 p.

You can find a summary on the NYRB Classics page.

Originally published in Buenos Aires in 1956, the English version published in 2016 made some waves on the literary horizon. J.M. Coetzee speculated that this might be the “great American novel” (cf. his review of the New York Review of Books). Benjamin Kunkel reviewed it for The New Yorker. The Paris Review had this note; and Publisher’s Weekly this review.

As to author information in English, there is a short article of the Wikipedia. The Spanish one is somewhat larger but not really extensive for an important author.

From 1977, after his release from prison and torture under the military dictatorship in Argentina, until 1983, Di Benedetto lived in Spain.

In Spanish, there recently appeared Antonio Di Benedetto, Escritos periodísticos (1943-1986) [Journalistic writings], edited by Liliana Reales, 2017, 602 p.

Jimena Néspolo, El País, summarizes it as follows:

Escritos periodísticos … contains very different texts by the author published between 1943 and 1986 –from a large article on the Mendoza Zoo written by a young guy hardly 21 years old, over the coverage of the San Juan earthquake in 1944, prestigious international film festivals or the military coup in Bolivia in the 1960s, until getting to the culture notes published shortly before he died–. 43 years of journalism where we see, above all, the presence of a singular style of writing put to the service of information.

The movie version of Zama, directed by Lucrecia Martel, starring Daniel Giménez Cacho, Lola Dueñas, Rafael Spregelburd and Daniel Veronese, produced by Pedro Almodóvar, will be released in Argentina on June 1, 2017.

SOURCE: NYRB; “Babelia”, El País, April 1, 2017, pp. 2-3 (printed edition)