Sunday, May 30, 2010

Santiago Roncagliolo: Red April

Maya Jaggi reviews Santiago Roncagliolo's Red April.
Mario Vargas Llosa's most despairing novel is a whodunit set amid the blood-steeped Maoist insurgency of Peru's Shining Path. Santiago Roncagliolo's Red April returns to the aftermath of that guerrilla war and counter-insurgency of the 1980s and 90s, when 70,000 people were killed. And like Vargas Llosa's Death in the Andes, it uses the crime thriller genre – notably the spectre of the serial killer – to riveting effect. Yet this novel of the post-boom generation also reveals how insidiously the investigator from Lima becomes part of the problem, as the moral line dissolves between terrorist and counter-terrorist.
Click to read the full article

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Roberto Bolaño: Antwerp

José Teodoro reviews Roberto Bolaño's Antwerp.
Antwerp was written in 1980, when Roberto Bolaño was 27, but left unpublished until 2002, the year before the author’s death at the age of 50. Now available from New Directions in a typically intelligent translation by Natasha Wimmer, this slim volume, bound in an austere cover of gold over dark brown, resembling a motel Bible, contains 56 prose poems that collectively constitute a very loose novel. (Perhaps, as the blurb suggests, an experimental crime novel.)

It offers readers a glimpse of the artist as a young man, living in Spain, far from his Chilean home, alone, without documents. At this time he was still uncertain with regards to form, coherence and sustainability, yet conjured captivating images, sensations and atmospheres. In his later novels, such as The Skating Rink and 2666, many of those early images begin to bloom into shadow-strewn, fully developed tales.
Click to read the full article

Related Posts:
Roberto Bolaño: El Tercer Reich
Roberto Bolaño: By Night in Chile
Roberto Bolaño: The Last Interview & Other Conversations
Roberto Bolaño: Monsieur Pain
Roberto Bolaño: Nazi Literature in the Americas
Roberto Bolaño: 2666
Roberto Bolaño: The Savage Detectives

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

La Revolución de Mayo

La Revolución de Mayo is a Argentine silent movie, directed by Mario Gallo in 1909.

The film was premiered in 1910 during the centenary celebrations of La Revolución de Mayo

Premio José Donoso

The Premio José Donoso was awarded this year to Jorge Volpi.

Related Posts:
The Last Latin American Writer
Jorge Volpi: El insomnio de Bolívar
Interview with Jorge Volpi

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Interview with Natasha Wimmer

Ollie Brock interviews Natasha Wimmer for Granta 110: Sex on translating Roberto Bolaño.
I’ve always assumed you would need a lot of empathy as a translator. Or perhaps it’s more purely technical than that – just a matter of understanding the words and putting them through the grinder? I know that you spent some time in Mexico City when working on The Savage Detectives, Bolaño’s debut novel – in what way did this affect your interpretation of the book?

I think you do need empathy, but I resist the familiar notion that the translator somehow becomes the author, or has some sort of special telepathic relationship with the author. Frankly, I think that’s a bit presumptuous and grandiose, and it obscures the delicate process by which the translator adjusts his or her own voice to the author’s voice. It requires a kind of harmonizing, by which I mean that the translator must find a tone in her own register that somehow suits the author’s. It is easier, at least for me, to translate an author or a character for whom I have a natural affinity.

As for Mexico City, the time I spent there completely transformed my understanding of the book. The Savage Detectives is a love song to Mexico City, and to walk the same streets that Bolaño and his characters walked gave me a very intimate, visceral sense of the city and the novel. There’s something about Mexico City at night, in particular, that’s distinctive. For one thing, it’s darker than most other cities I know, which means that things seem to loom out at you as you walk, and you have the sense that you’re on the verge of the kind of bizarre encounter that Bolaño’s characters have all the time. I also spent time at Café La Habana (the original of Café Quito in the novel), which hasn’t changed much since Bolaño hung out there, and I stumbled over all kinds of cultural details that saved me from translation pitfalls (‘El Santo’??? for example, was one of the notes scribbled on my first draft of the translation; he is, of course, Mexico’s most famous masked wrestler, as I soon discovered).
Click to read the full article

The printed issue of Granta 110: Sex also includes Roberto Bolaño's text The Redhead.

Crime Fiction in Ibero-American Literature

Based on the preface by Leonardo Padura to the crime fiction anthology Variaciones en negro, Carlos Calderón Fajardo asks himself why crime fiction has never quite developed in Peru.
En Variaciones…, esta antología del cuento policial latinoamericano, figuran Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, Mempo Giardinelli, Paco Ignacio Taibo II, Ricardo Piglia, Leonardo Padura, el chileno Ramón Díaz, Rubem Fonseca y seis cuentistas más. Autores de siete países –Argentina, Brasil, México, Chile, Colombia, Cuba y España. Es decir ningún peruano–. ¿Por qué no aparecen escritores peruanos en esta antología bastante completa, algo incompleta? Por una de dos razones: o porque la narrativa policial peruana no es conocida por los cultores de este género, que son una especie de secta –se reúnen en eventos internacionales de novela negra–, figuran en premios como el “Semana negra de Guijón” o el “Premio Dashiell Hammett”, o no somos considerados porque no existen cuentos y novelas en la narrativa policial peruana con méritos como para ser considerada dentro de una antología continental. Pienso que la razón es la primera, la literatura peruana, salvo los nombres consagrados de Vargas Llosa y de Bryce, el resto de escritores no recibe la atención que merece, y menos en subgéneros como es el de la novela policial, habiendo escritores con méritos para tener mayor figuración en la llamada “narrativa negra”.
Click to read the full article

Interview with Alonso Cueto

An interview with Peruvian novelist Alonso Cueto about his new book La venganza del silencio (The Revenge of Silence).
Correo: El principio de la novela aborda el tema de la infancia, pero enfocado en relación a la pérdida, a la muerte...
Alonso Cueto: Claro, al inicio de la novela el personaje afronta la pérdida, la muerte de sus padres, y éste es un momento crucial en la existencia del personaje, porque cada vida comienza cuando se descubre el mal, la temporalidad, la naturaleza efímera, y se asume la mortalidad del ser humano.
Click to read the full article

Related Posts:
Peruvian writer Alonso Cueto presents, in Colombia, his new novel "El susurro de la mujer ballena"

Monday, May 24, 2010

Roberto Bolaño: El Tercer Reich

Lorena Valera Villalba Roberto Bolaño's El Tercer Reich.
La alegría y la luz que todo lo inundan en la primera parte de la novela, dan paso a la sombra, al misterio y a la violencia a medida que avanza el relato. El contacto con otra pareja de turistas alemanes y, a través de ellos, con enigmáticos personajes como “Cordero”, “Lobo” o “Quemado”, supone el inicio de una serie de descubrimientos, desapariciones y enigmas que guardan relación con el Tercer Reich. El juego se convierte en el eje de la novela, las estrategias sobre el tablero marcan la evolución de los personajes y descubren las facetas más ocultas de algunos de ellos. Las anotaciones de Udo Berger, el “Fausto de los Juegos de Guerra”, integran una enigmática obra en la que Bolaño vuelca sus obsesiones y aficiones primigenias, entre ellas la II Guerra Mundial y los wargames.
Click to read the full article


José Saramago prescribed in bibliotherapy.
As I made my way through my reading prescription I realised that all the novels were fundamentally optimistic. In Blindness by José Saramago, for example, the world descends into chaos but there’s light and love at the end of the tunnel.

I started to feel more positive. When faced with moving house, I viewed it as an exciting step rather than a massive chore. Bibliotherapy isn’t a miracle cure but it has shown me that a novel can literally change your life.
Click to read the full article

Interview with Santiago Gamboa

Mónica Quintero Restrepo interviews Colombian writer Santiago Gamboa.

Precisamente, ¿cómo ve la literatura colombiana? ¿Tenemos presente?
"Creo que hay gran actividad en todos los frentes y en todas las generaciones. Hay una literatura que está en activo, de autores mayores como García Márquez y Álvaro Mutis. Luego está una donde está Fernando Vallejo y Laura Restrepo. Hay otra donde está William Ospina, Roberto Burgos y después está mi generación, donde está Héctor Abad, Mario Mendoza, Enrique Serrano, pero nosotros que hace diez años éramos los jóvenes, ya no lo somos. Ahora son autores como Antonio García, Antonio Húngaro, Carolina Sanín. Todavía hay inclusive más jóvenes como Andrés Felipe Solano. Y ya son todos autores que tienen unos recorridos muy interesantes. Pienso que la literatura colombiana ha sido muy rica y pues que sigue dando muestras de movimiento. Ahora, no sé si entre alguno de nosotros haya un gran genio de la literatura como lo es García Márquez o Fernando Vallejo, pero el tiempo lo dirá".
Click to read the full interview

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Fernando Pessoa: The Book of Disquiet

Fernando Pessoa by Almada Negreiros (1954)
Nicholas Lezard reviews Fernando Pessoa's The Book of Disquiet.
There will never be a definitive edition of The Book of Disquiet, however hard anyone tries. Apart from a few fragments he suffered to be published in his lifetime, Pessoa's greatest work took the form of 350 fragments shoved into an envelope found in a trunk after his death. (The trunk also contained another 25,000 pieces, 150 of which literary scholars have tacked on for some editions.) The best English-language version is translated by Richard Zenith and published by Penguin, but that comes in at more than 500 pages. This one publishes 259 of the fragments and is much more wieldy; a pocket edition rather than a bedside one.
You may want to get the Zenith as well, for Pessoa speaks to insomniacs, being one himself; but this edition is a very good book to keep by your side during those encounters with the mundane that can vex the sensitive soul. For it is all about the mundane: the reactions of a sensibility who walks through early 20th-century Lisbon, looking at pedestrians, co-workers, grocers, the seasons, the times of day, unsure, in a kind of existential insomnia, whether he is dreaming or not, whether he exists or not. And alongside the shimmering "reality" runs the flickering existence of the author himself, who is not only the man named on the title page, but one of the 70-odd "heteronyms" he invented for himself: in this case one Bernardo Soares, an insignificant clerk working for the firm run by the charming, avuncular Senhor Vasques. "Senhor Vasques. I remember him now as I will in the future for the nostalgia I know I will feel for him then. I'll be living quietly in a little house somewhere in the suburbs, enjoying a peaceful existence not writing the book I'm not writing now and, so as to continue not doing so, I will come up with different excuses from the ones I use now to avoid actually confronting myself."
Click to read the full article

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Interview with Rodrigo Garcia

Patrick McDonald interviews Colombian director Rodrigo Garcia, Gabriel García Márquez' son.
HC: We as a culture and society owe a great debt of gratitude to your father for his remarkable and essential perspective. As his son, what was your initial reaction when you first discovered his works and how do you apply it to your own writing sensibility?

RG: I’ve always liked his books, obviously. I started reading his stuff in my late teens. With respect to the influence, I feel the real influence comes from growing up in that literary world and living in the literary environment, more than the books themselves. I don’t see much of an overlap, thematically, between his books and my movies, and that is probably better. You’re always revealing something about yourself when you write, not particulars about facts usually or necessarily, but you get to know a person by absorbing their work.
Click to read the full article

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Roque Dalton

Homage to Roque Dalton in El Salvador (in Spanish)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ojos Rojos (Red Eyes)

 This documentary directed by Juan Pablo Sallato, Ismael Larraín and Juan Ignacio Sabatini, his beating all box office records in Chile.

Here's the official Ojos Rojos site for more information.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Roberto Bolaño: By Night in Chile

Michael Tyson Murphy reviews Roberto Bolaño's "By Night in Chile"
For me in our reading so far, “A Night in Chile” is most resonant with Azuela’s “The Underdogs” in its overt and complex statements about a particular historical situation and its participants, real and fictional (though certainly, Borges’ “Deutsches Requiem” and Carpentier’s “The Chase” must be included).
Click to read the full post

Edith Grossman: Why Translation Matters

Why Translation Matters (Why X Matters Series)Anne Chudobiak reviews Edith Grossman's Why Translation Matters.
Grossman illustrates the power of this phenomenon, which she calls "multilingual fertilization," with a timeline of the modern novel. Four hundred years ago, Cervantes wrote Don Quixote, creating "the form and shape of modern fiction." It was almost immediately translated into English, where it changed the course of English literature, influencing writers, directly or indirectly, all the way to Faulkner, whose "sonorous, eloquent baroque style" is described as having "Cervantean resonances." These resonances apparently "felt familiar to Spanish-speaking readers," easing Faulkner's passage into Latin America during the post-Second-World-War era, where he was very popular in translation. García Márquez, who was such a big fan that he and his young family travelled through the American South by Greyhound in 1961 as a kind of artistic pilgrimage, incorporated some of Faulkner's techniques - Cervantean and otherwise - into his own writing. His novels were, in turn, translated into English, exerting a major influence on such big-name English-language authors as "Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie, Don DeLillo, and Michael Chabon."
Click to read the full article

Edith Grossman is a distinguished, prize-winning translator of major works by leading contemporary writers, including Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa and Álvaro Mutis.

Interview with Isabel Allende

John Timpane interviews Isabel Allende.
Isabel Allende, as the world knows, writes her novels in Spanish. She looks translations over, but has "total faith in my translators."

So what, asks the unsuspecting, defenseless interviewer, can she do in Spanish that she can't do in English?

"Love!" she cries. "My husband would find me ridiculous if I tried to pant in English." Then she unleashes a big laugh in all languages.

A jest like that, against type, pointed, seasoned with good humor, holds the key to Allende, 67, one of the most popular writers in the world.

Her new novel, "Island Beneath the Sea" (Harper, $26.99), manages, like many Allende books, to frustrate easy classification.

It begins on the island that became home to Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Its main figure, Zarite, is born to an African slave who tries to kill her baby (to save her from a terrible life) and does kill herself. Known as Tete, the girl grows up as the slave of French sugarcane magnate Toulouse Valmorain.
Click to read the full article

Piedra de Sol

Reed Johnson reviews the theatrical production of Octavio Paz's "Piedra de Sol"(Sunstone).
In addition to writing poetry, Paz, who died in 1998, was a tireless essayist, launched a leading literary journal, and served as Mexico's ambassador to India. He's perhaps best known for his 1950 philosophical treatise about Mexican identity, "The Labyrinth of Solitude."

"I would say that this is the greatest poem of Paz," Morett said in her ebulliently accented English. "So it's going to be an encounter with the figure of a man who was a poet, but at the same time he was a traveler of cultures, of worlds. So in this poem, or also in this production, we are trying to connect with those moments, with that culture."

That culture, Morett said, is centered on the massive circular Aztec sculpture that has come to be known as the Piedra de Sol. Unearthed from the ruins of the former Aztec capital that became present-day Mexico City, it was initially construed by archaeologists to be a calendar, but actually may have functioned as part of a sacrificial altar.

Sacrifice, including self-sacrifice, is a key image in Paz's poem. But the metaphor suggests not merely physical violence but rather the opening-up of the self, the shedding of old identities and the adoption of new ones.
Click to read the full article

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Carmen Laforet

RBA (Spain) has just published a biography of Carmen Laforet, "Una mujer en fuga" (A woman on the run).
El “enigma Laforet”. Una mujer en fuga ¿hacia dónde? Anna Caballé e Israel Rolón se preguntan qué le llevó al silencio de Bartleby y la huida perpetua. En 1987, Rolón conoció a la escritora en la universidad de Georgetown. La vio rechazar el atril de la conferencia ex cátedra. Carmen Laforet, 66 años: “Con el pelo gris y abundante manchas oscuras en la piel, sin asomo de maquillaje, y un sencillo conjunto de falda y suéter de punto, también gris…” Le intrigó aquella mujer lacónica, “mostrando una actitud indiferente, y al mismo tiempo agotada, hacia sus propias novelas”. La profesora Caballé, la recuerda en la Menéndez Pelayo, agosto del 82; la misma impresión. Una mujer tímida que habla de su obra con un hilo de voz como si no fuera con ella… El manuscrito de “Nada” y la relación epistolar con Ramón J. Sender (el hombre que la amó sinceramente desde la distancia sin ser correspondido) fueron los primeros documentos de esa “mujer en fuga” que dejó como rastro más de seiscientas cartas que sus biógrafos han estudiado durante una década. Entre sus amistades, la tenista Lilí Álvarez que ejerció sobre ella una influencia religiosa y una ambigüedad sexual que Laforet mantuvo siempre oculta; o la autora de “Celia”, Elena Fortún. “Laforet buscó siempre, a lo largo de su vida, la figura materna que no tuvo”, apunta Caballé.
Click to read the full article

Interview with Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Breandain O'Shea interviews Spanish author Carlo Ruiz Zafón.
Deutsche Welle: How have Spanish and Catalan literature influenced your writing?
Carlos Ruiz Zafon: I look at literature as one big thing. I never think of it as coming from the English tradition, or the French tradition, or the Catalan tradition, or the Russian tradition. To me, literature itself is a country, and that's what I am interested in. So, I never thought of myself as being influenced by one side or the other.
I am interested in specific authors; in good writing in general, wherever it may come from. And in that sense, I am very interested in writers from (different) countries. I know that there are people who tend to be very political about that, or tend to see schools of thought - but it's not the way I think.
For me, there's good writing and bad writing. And I am interested in good writing.
Click to read the full interview

Juan Carlos Onetti

Jonathan Blitzer on Juan Carlos Onetti.
Born in 1909 in Montevideo, Uruguay, Onetti was one of the most idiosyncratic and virtuosic Latin American writers of the twentieth century. His readers in Spanish know this. In his later decades, after years of writing in relative obscurity, he earned a reputation as a quirky, cosmopolitan Modernist--a South American Faulkner who also enjoyed an aesthetic kinship with Borges and Céline (an unlikely pairing that only Onetti could provoke). In 1980 Onetti won the Premio Cervantes. He also became known as a writer's writer. Mario Vargas Llosa, Roberto Bolaño, Juan Rulfo, Julio Cortázar and Antonio Muñoz Molina are among his admirers, all of them better-known (and very different) masters who have acknowledged, always in intensely personal terms, the debt they owe Onetti. Bolaño, who attempted to interview Onetti in Mexico in 1975, once joked that he was himself a terrible writer by comparison. Vargas Llosa, for his part, said no other modern writer has grasped the human need for fiction "with more force or originality" than Onetti.
Click to read the full article

Reading the spanish originals

Josef Braun on passing the language barrier, reading in Spanish.
Part of my motivation for reading in Spanish, besides not wanting to feel like a moron, stems from my interest in authors whose works haven't been translated into English. Books in English translation are pathetically rare these days, with only a handful of Spanish-language authors winning the literary sweepstakes that allows them to have their work reach an English readership. It seems just more salt in the wound that the latest author to be regarded as a hot property in English-reading countries is a dead guy. Roberto Bolaño has been receiving generous and totally justified attention by English-readers, thanks in large part to New Directions and the recommendations of certain members of the cross-cultural literati, such as Francisco Goldman. But he's still only one great writer among many, and it will take a long time to get all of his work into English. If you're impatient and really want to delve into Bolaño—or Horacio Castellanos Moya, or Cesar Aira, to name but the most recent benefactors of New Directions' persistence—you need to find this stuff in Spanish, and Mexico is one book-loving country, a place where you can find people selling Borges, or Gabriel García Márquez, or Julio Cortázar or at least Isabel Allende, outside of every subway station. If only Canadian booksellers were so discerning!

In any case, I found myself on the hunt for writers who haven't been translated into English at all, as far as I know. I picked up Sergio González Rodríguez's Huesos en el desierto (Bones in the Desert), a highly caustic work of investigative journalism of enormous importance, concerning the infernal epidemic of female slayings in Ciudad Juarez—González Rodríguez was a friend and advisor to Bolaño, who by his own admission couldn't have written 2666 without González Rodríguez's assistance. It's a book I'm both desperate and kind of dreading to read but, fairly dense in its prose, I'll need to save for later. I picked up a volume of Francisco Tario's stories entitled Algunas Noches, Algunos Fantasmas (Certain Nights, Certain Phantoms), which seemed promising in its concision and simplicity, yet nonetheless frustrated me with its allusive turns of phrase and occasional use of antiquated terms. Strangely, the book's biographical introduction was a breeze. This struck me as an interesting development. Could it be that non-fiction, or at least non-fiction of a more digestible sort than Huesos en el desierto, was the way to go for this impatient novice?
Click to read the full article.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Roque Dalton (El Salvador, 1935-1975)

Roque Dalton  was executed in El Salvador 35 years ago on may 10th 1975.

Dolor Antiguo

Sólo has visto dolor en tu llegada.

Dolor en los cañales explotados
sobre el dolor de tus hermanos;
dolor en las palabras en secreto,
en las lagunas y los pájaros;
dolor en la palabra incomprensible del caporal estraño,
dolor en sus patadas, en sus insultos, en sus manos ladronas.

Dolor en las mujeres y las piedras,
dolor en el crepúsculo, en el sol calcinante,
en la ficticia aurora cotidiana;
dolor en cada metro de nagüilla, en cada tecomate,
en cada par de caites abrumados;
dolor en cada rostro, en cada nueva música,
en cada cordillera de sucesos;
dolor entronizado en las aradas, en las milpas ajenas,
en los candentes pechos de tu pueblo
y en los ojos con lágrimas mirando
sus solitarias manos.

Sunday, May 09, 2010


Leonardo Padura, Pedro Cabiya, Mario Mendoza, Paco Ignacio Taibo II and Élmer Mendoza comment on the new boom in Latin American literature, where the heads of drug cartels replace the dictators.
Lo que para los autores del boom representaron el paraguayo José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia, el dominicano Rafael Leónidas Trujillo, el guatemalteco Estrada Cabrera o el chileno Augusto Pinochet lo representan hoy para sus herederos los jefes de las bandas mafiosas de Medellín o Ciudad Juárez. Los capos del narcotráfico han sustituido a los dictadores en la literatura latinoamericana. Los jeeps militares han dado paso a una flota de aparatosos cuatro por cuatro con cristales ahumados y la violencia ha dejado de moverse en sentido vertical para colonizar horizontalmente la sociedad entera.
Click to read the full article

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Festival de la Palabra

The Festival de la Palabra started yesterday in Puerto Rico.

Gabriela Mistral. Niña errante

"Gabriela Mistral. Niña errante" is a new book that compiles the letters of Gabriela Mistral to her personal assistant Doris Dana.
The book has been  published in Spain by Lumen and brings a new light on the relationship between these two women.

"Yo sé bien que nadie, ninguna persona en este mundo, puede saber qué cosa es nuestra vida sino (excepto) nosotros mismos" . Así escribe la poeta chilena Gabriela Mistral en una de sus cartas a su asistente personal y compañera sentimental Doris Dana, reunidas ahora en "Gabriela Mistral. Niña errante".

Un libro que se publica en España de la mano de Lumen y que muestra la apasionante relación entre la premio Nobel de Literatura (1945) y Doris Dana, secretaria y compañera de sus últimos años de vida y albacea de sus bienes materiales e intelectuales.

Un epistolario que tiene su origen a finales de los años cuarenta, en el verano de 1948, cuando Gabriela Mistral vivía en Santa Bárbara (California) y Doris en Nueva York, y que comenzó después de que ambas hubieran mantenido un fugaz encuentro personal en el Bernard College de Nueva York, donde la poeta dio una charla sobre "la industria del odio" , con eco internacional.
Click to read the full article.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Portuguese Language

Last flower of Latium, wild, uncultured beaty,
You are at once both splendor and the grave:
You're gold which, in the gang's impurity,
Doth veil a giant mine in graveled lave.

I love you thus, unknown, obscure and hidden,
A blaring trumpet, lyre of singleness,
Tour fury's like the sea that's tempest ridden,
Your lullaby's of love and tenderness!

I love your lush green woods and perfumes, wrung
From virgin jungles and expansive sea!
I love you, rude and sorrowful native tongue,

In which my mother called: "Dear son of mine!"
In which Camões bemoaned, grieved exile he,
His luckless genius and love's tarnished shine!

Olavo Bilac (1865-1918)

100 Portuguese Books of the 20th Century

A selection of 20th Century Portuguese literary works by Fernando Pinto do Amaral.

Very few of the books in this list are available in English, even those of more known authors, Portuguese literature is still largelly unknown in the English speaking world.

A Cidade e As Serras, Eça de Queirós (1845-1900) (The City and the Mountains)
Gente Singular, Manuel Teixeira Gomes (1860-1941)
Marânus, Teixeira de Pascoaes (1877-1952)
Húmus, Raul Brandão (1867-1930)
Pedro o Cru, António Patrício (1878-1930)
Terras do Demo, Aquilino Ribeiro (1885-1963)
Clepsidra, Camilo Pessanha (1867-1926)
Ensaios, António Sérgio (1883-1968)
Canções, António Botto (1897-1959)
Poemas de Deus e do Diabo, José Régio (1901-1969)
A Selva, Ferreira de Castro (1898-1974) (Jungle. A Tale of the Amazon Rubber-Tapping)
Charneca em Flor, Florbela Espanca (1894-1930)
Gladiadores, Alfredo Cortês (1880-1946)
Mensagem, Fernando Pessoa (1888-1935) (Message)
A Criação do Mundo, Miguel Torga (1907-1995) (The Creation of the World)
Sedução, José Marmelo e Silva (1913-1991)
Nome de Guerra, Almada-Negreiros (1893-1970)
Contos Bárbaros, João de Araújo Correia (1899-1985)
Gaibéus, Alves Redol (1911-1969)
Solidão/Notas do Punho de Uma Mulher, Irene Lisboa (1892-1958)
Apenas Uma Narrativa, António Pedro (1909-1967)
O Barão, Branquinho da Fonseca (1905-1974) (The Baron)
Historiazinha de Portugal, Adolfo Simões Müller (1909-1989)
Noite Aberta Aos Quatro Ventos, Adolfo Casais Monteiro (1908-1972)
Mau Tempo No Canal, Vitorino Nemésio (1901-1978) (Stormy isles: An Azorean tale)
O Caminho da Culpa, Joaquim Paço D'Arcos (1908-1979)
O Dia Cinzento, Mário Dionísio (1916-1993)
Poesia, Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen (n.1919)
Poesias, Álvaro de Campos (The Collected Poems of Alvaro de Campos)
Odes, Ricardo Reis
Poemas, Alberto Caeiro (The Collected Poems of Alberto Caeiro)
Poesias, Mário de Sá-Carneiro (1890-1916)
A Toca do Lobo, Tomás de Figueiredo (1902-1970)
Ossadas, Afonso Duarte (1884-1958)
As Mãos e os Frutos, Eugénio de Andrade (n.1923)
Poesia I, José Gomes Ferreira (1900-1985)
Retalhos da Vida de Um Médico, Fernando Namora (1919-1989)
A Secreta Viagem, David Mourão-Ferreira (1927-1996)
O Fogo e As Cinzas, Manuel da Fonseca (1911-1993)
Pelo Sonho É Que Vamos, Sebastião da Gama (1924-1952)
A Sibila, Agustina Bessa-Luís (n. 1922)
História da Literatura Portuguesa, António José Saraiva (1917-1993) e Óscar Lopes (n. 1917)
Movimento Perpétuo, António Gedeão (1906-1997)
Dimensão Encontrada, Natália Correia (1923-1993)
Pena Capital, Mário Cesariny (n. 1923)
Teatro, Bernardo Santareno (1924-1980)
A Origem, Graça Pina de Morais (1929-1992)
Léah, José Rodrigues Miguéis (1901-1980)
No Reino da Dinamarca, Alexandre O'Neill (1924-1986)
A Cidade das Flores, Augusto Abelaira (n. 1926)
Bastardos do Sol, Urbano Tavares Rodrigues (n. 1923)
Tanta Gente, Mariana..., Maria Judite de Carvalho (1921-1998)
A Colher na Boca, Herberto Helder (n. 1933)
Felizmente Há Luar!, Luís de Sttau Monteiro (1926-1993)
O Palhaço Verde, Matilde Rosa Araújo (n. 1921)
Rumor Branco, Almeida Faria (n. 1943)
Xerazade e os Outros, Fernanda Botelho (n. 1926)
A Torre da Barbela, Ruben A. (1920-1975)
Praça da Canção, Manuel Alegre (n. 1936)
Estou Vivo e Escrevo Sol, António Ramos Rosa (n. 1924)
Teoria da Literatura, Vítor Manuel de Aguiar e Silva (n. 1939)
O Delfim, José Cardoso Pires (1925-1998)
A Noite e o Riso, Nuno Bragança (1929-1985)
As Aves, Gastão Cruz (n.1941)
Maina Mendes, Maria Velho da Costa (n. 1938)
Peregrinação Interior, António Alçada Baptista (n. 1927)
A Raiz Afectuosa, António Osório (n. 1933)
Novas Cartas Portuguesas, Maria I. Barreno (n.1938), Maria T. Horta (n. 1937) e Maria V. da Costa (The Three Marias - New Portuguese Letters)
Os Sítios Sitiados, Luiza Neto Jorge (1939-1989)
Paisagens Timorenses com Vultos, Ruy Cinatti (1915-1986)
Toda a Terra, Ruy Belo (1933-1978)
O Que Diz Molero, Dinis Machado (n. 1930)
Finisterra, Carlos de Oliveira (1921-1981)
O Labirinto da Saudade, Eduardo Lourenço (n.1923)
Rosa, Minha Irmã Rosa, Alice Vieira (n.1943)
Sinais de Fogo, Jorge de Sena (1919-1978)
Instrumentos Para a Melancolia, Vasco Graça Moura (n. 1942)
Uma Exposição, João M. F. Jorge (n. 1943), Joaquim M. Magalhães (n. 1945), Jorge Molder (n. 1947)
O Silêncio, Teolinda Gersão (n. 1940)
Livro do Desassossego, Fernando Pessoa-Bernardo Soares (The Book of Disquiet)
Memorial do Convento, José Saramago (n.1922) (Baltasar and Blimunda)
Os Universos da Crítica, Eduardo Prado Coelho (n.1944)
Para Sempre, Vergílio Ferreira (1916-1996)
Amadeo, Mário Cláudio (n. 1941)
Um Falcão no Punho - Diário I, Maria Gabriela Llansol (n. 1931)
Adeus, Princesa, Clara Pinto Correia (n.1960)
As Moradas 1 & 2, António Franco Alexandre (n. 1944)
O Medo, Al Berto (1948-1997)
Gente Feliz com Lágrimas, João de Melo (n. 1949)
O Pequeno Mundo, Luísa Costa Gomes (n. 1954)
A Ilha dos Mortos, Luís Filipe Castro Mendes (n. 1950)
A Musa Irregular, Fernando Assis Pacheco (1937-1995)
Um Canto na Espessura do Tempo, Nuno Júdice (n. 1949)
Um Deus Passeando pela Brisa da Tarde, Mário de Carvalho (n. 1944) (A God Strolling in the Cool of the Evening)
Vulcão, Luís Miguel Nava (1957-1995)
Guião de Caronte, Pedro Tamen (n. 1934)
Geórgicas, Fernando Echevarría (n. 1929)
O Vale da Paixão, Lídia Jorge (n. 1946)
Cenas Vivas, Fiama Hasse Pais Brandão (n. 1938)
Não Entres Tão Depressa Nessa Noite Escura, António Lobo Antunes (n. 1942)

Júlio Cortázar

Monday, May 03, 2010

Norberto Fuentes: The Autobiography of Fidel Castro

The Autobiography of Fidel Castro
Terry Eagleton reviews Norberto Fuentes' The Autobiography of Fidel Castro.
Revolutions, as Marx recognised, are inherently theatrical events, both more and less real than everyday life. The Cuban revolution, Castro comments here, was "a miracle of the imagination". In all such mighty upheavals, fact and fiction become hard to tell apart, just as they are in this book. It is part of Fuentes's achievement to make us more conscious of these ironies. Yet there is something disturbing as well as revealing about this blow-by-blow life history. Why invest so much energy in a portrait of your persecutor? How can this avoid paying him homage in the very act of cutting him down to size?

There is something curiously obsessive about Fuentes's fascination with Fidel. Stealing someone else's selfhood is a wickedly effective way of getting even with them; yet wanting to become someone else suggests admiration as much as antagonism. For all his imaginative ventriloquism, it is hard to feel that Fuentes is aware of these ambiguities, let alone that he has resolved them.
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Alberto Manguel: A Reader on Reading

A Reader on Reading
Ian Sansom reviews Alberto Manguel's A Reader on Reading.
It is very rare indeed for someone to have devoted their lifetime to making these complex and delightful reconstructions, to sharing and reporting on their experiences as a reader; much rarer, say, than the many who devote themselves simply to criticism, to judgment or to commentary. It's so rare, in fact, that it's difficult to know what to call it. Manguel might best be described not so much as a critic but rather as a devotee of reading; one thinks of Susan Sontag, or of Clive James – observers, admirers, enthusiasts. This enthusiasm leads to what one might perhaps describe as a sentimental strain in Manguel's writing, though it might also accurately be described as morality, the imaginative extension of oneself and one's sympathies to others. In his revealing essay on erotic literature, "The Gates of Paradise", he argues that in "reading or making love, we should be able to lose ourselves in the other, into whom – to borrow Saint John's image – we are transformed: reader into writer into reader, lover into lover into lover.
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Isabel Allende: Island Beneath the Sea

Island Beneath the Sea: A Novel
Gaiutra Bahadur reviews Isabel Allende's Island Beneath the Sea.
In literature as in art, the genre has been dominated by men. So critics devised the label “magical feminism” just for Isabel Allende’s multigenerational family chronicles featuring strong-willed women, usually entangled in steamy love affairs against a backdrop of war and political upheaval. These elements are all present in her latest novel, “Island Beneath the Sea,” which is set partly in late-18th-century Haiti. The protagonist, a mulatto slave named Zarité, is maid to a sugar planter’s wife who gradually goes mad. (The Caribbean seems to have had a reliably deranging effect on women in fiction, from “Jane Eyre” onward.) Even before her mistress’s death, Zarité becomes the concubine of her master, Valmorain, submitting to that role across decades and borders, even when he flees to New Orleans after the 1791 slave revolt.

The resulting canvas contains no less than the revolutionary history of the world’s first black republic as Allende portrays the island’s various factions: republicans versus monarchists, blacks versus mulattoes, abolitionists versus planters, slaves versus masters. She revels in period detail: ostrich-feathered hats, high-waisted gowns, meals featuring suckling pigs with cherries. Her cast is equally vibrant: a quadroon courtesan and the French officer who marries her; Valmorain’s second wife, a controlling Louisiana Creole; Zarité’s rebel lover, who joins Toussaint L’Ouverture in the hills. But for all its entertaining sweep, the story lacks complex characterization and originality. And its style is traditional. Where, you wonder, are the headless men — or, in ­Allende’s case, headless women? Where is the magical realism?
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An excerpt of the book is available at

Quim Monzó: Gasoline

Maria Campillo reviews Quim Monzó's Gasoline.
Benzina is the second novel and the fifth book by Quim Monzó, a writer who enjoys the unconditional admiration of many readers, thanks above all to the last two collections of short stories, Uf, va dir ell and Olivetti, Moulinex, Chaffoteaux et Maury (1978, 1980).

In the context of the Benzina, I would like to touch on two questions that seem important: the generic and what we might call the thematic. With regard to the first, it is worth noting that Monzó has come back to the novel marked, to some extent, by the experience of writing short stories during the last few years, and perhaps for this reason the book suffers from a kind of spinning-out of what we thought of (at one time) as the basic idea or single idea in the structuring of a short story. This technique (first adopted in Self-service and developed and rounded out in the last two collections) served to construct the narrative around a situation or gag 'initial, final or concentrically cumulative' that the author now resolves in the sum of situations less easily engaged than inside the structure 'concentrated and almost always rounded' of his short stories. We shall not take him to task for that, especially when we bear in mind that attempting this in a novel, from a far more mature literary position than he occupied when he wrote L'udol del griso al caire de les clavegueres, can only be to his advantage in terms of his acquisition of new forms and his manipulation of language, something I have always regarded as a particularly attractive feature of this writer.
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Javier Marías: Bad Nature, or With Elvis in Mexico

Eli S. Evans reviews  Javier Marías' Bad Nature, or With Elvis in Mexico.

At first glance, Javier Marías’ short novella (or long short story) Bad Nature, or With Elvis in Mexico—originally published serially in 1996 in Spain’s El País newspaper—appears little more than a put on, a dashed-off throwback by a Marías who had already reached literary maturity, if not yet the all but uncontested international reverence he enjoys today, to the pastiche of his early, adolescent novels: the absurdist tale of one Ruibérriz de Torres who, from an indeterminately contemporary present, recalls the trip he took to Mexico at the age of twenty-two (just past adolescence himself) to work as Spanish language consultant to Elvis Presley during shooting for the film Fun in Acapulco.

But what seems a mere literary inside joke initially, and perhaps even to the author himself—in the epigraph, Marías dedicates the short novella, or long short story, to “someone who’s laughing in my ear”—reveals itself, upon closer examination, to be a good deal more. Clocking in at fifty-seven rather diminutive pages in its recently released English translation, an elegant gold and white paperback the size of a folded napkin and nearly as slender, Bad Nature performs a virtually Borgesian distillation of, if not the entire literary universe—as is the case in some of the best of Borges’ stories—then at the very least the entirety of Marías’ personal literary universe: the “Yoknapatawpha of the mind,” as Wyatt Mason described it in 2005, that the Spanish novelist has been mapping, in a single voice, over years and across novels.
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