In many ways, Nada form perfect counterpart to last month’s selection, Ouředník’s Europeana. Whereas Ouředník presents the 20th ct seen through a kind of radically wide-angle lens, Laforet distills the troubling landscape of post Civil War Francoist Spain down to one claustrophobic house/family-in-decline on Aribau street in Barcelona’s Xiample neighborhood. Acutely observed, existentially heavy, shot through with incredibly vivid depictions of poverty’s ramifications… And it also doubles as a welcome alternative to the horrid Barcelona boosterism that has changed the city so much since the Olympics and the 2004 Forum and the SleazyJet Age. Bonus: one of the main characters is a twisted yet magnetic former violinist, which makes for some nice musical passages.
You can locate a copy in Laforet’s original Spanish (it’s a relatively easy read en Español) without too much trouble; the NYPL stocks a few, as does the Barco de Papel bookshop in Queens, etc. Edith Grossman’s lucid English translation is fine too.
So! On Sunday October 21st, we’ll gather to talk about ‘Nothing’ and drink some homemade sangria.
Patrik Ouředník, Europeana
Nalo Hopkinson, Midnight Robber
Michael Taussig, My Cocaine Museum
Tatyana Tolystaya, The Slynx
Augusto Moterroso, Mister Taylor
Vladimir Sorokin, Ice Trilogy
Lauren Beukes, Zoo City
Samuel R. Delany, Times Square Red, Times Square Blue
Juan Goytisolo, Exiled from Everywhere
Cesar Aira, How I Became a Nun
Maureen F. McHugh, Nekropolis