Review of Enrique Vila-Matas's Bartleby & Co
(...) Vila-Matas can, when he wishes, provide the satisfactions of orthodox narratives with ease. Generally, though, he prefers not to, constructing daisy-chains of literary allusion instead. The 19th footnote, for example, mentions Franz Kafka, Rosa Montero, Bernardo Atxaga, Leopolda Maria Panero, Albert Camus, Elias Canetti, Claudio Magris and Anthony Burgess. Only the brainiest bookworm will not feel woefully illiterate - but then that is part of the game. The long shadow of Georges Perec and OuLiPo falls across this ultimate subtext (which, naturally enough, also features Captain Nemo). Vila-Matas has produced a postmodern paradox, something out of nothing, a positive out of a negative. His non-novel is highly original, both lucid and ludic.
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Spanish writer Enrique Vila-Matas was born in Barcelona in 1948. His first book appeared in 1973 and his novels have been translated into eleven languages.