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Things they read in Spain | Manuals
Had one fictional book dealer, hiding between bales of papers and inks, supplied Don Quixote with the thousand of titles that Spanish publishing houses send to the reader (and to the journalist and critic - at the moment I cannot move for the dozen parcels on my desktop and on the bookshelves in my office), the whole wide globe would have been swamped with knight's literature.
It is not exactly at the forefront of Europe's book-reading countries. It is still "fraternally" split between supporters of the search for the body of one of its greatest characters - García Lorca, who was murdered by Nazi shooters in 1936 - and supporters of leaving it behind (among them the poet's own family).
But despite the steaming presences of these businesses, it is not only small publishing houses that are surviving, but new ones are constantly being added and - even in this recession-induced year 2011 - it is these small actors who are keeping the blaze of independency and surprises alive: Speaking of newcomers: Juan Marsé's new Caligrafía de los soños ( "Lumen"), an retrospective study of post-war Barcelona.
Authors of memorable Spanish landscapes with a very insecure past, such as Ronda del Guinardó, Si te que di que cai and Rabos de lagartiya, return to the old material: everything is tragic in Marsé, a melancholy that also contains malignity, humor and, of course, remember. However, in Spain the most anticipated novel of the year is without doubt the new novel by Javier Marías, Los ENAMORAMENTOS (Alfaguara).
Spain's never-ending Nobel laureate and writer of classic films such as Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me and A Heart So White has given the printer a creepy tale about the ups and downs of our wretched world. Same goes for the Peroan writer (or is it the other way around?), a man from Arequipa with his homeland in the most typical Madrileño Madrid, the man who was nominated for the Nobel Award forever, until he won last year.
Llosa Mario Vargas still holds a place of honor in bookstores throughout the whole land, not only thanks to his latest novel, El suño del Celtta - about Roger Casement, one of the first Europeans to cover the Belgian Congo and Amazonian Colonies - but also thanks to the release of his complete works, on which the editor Alfaguara worked, once it became known that the Nobel Peace Price had gone to the writer of the Goat Festival.
A little further back, Anatomía de un instante (Mondadori) by Javier Cercas is one of those essay/fiction novels that is so closely connected to a reality - and brutality - that not only did he manage to hypnotize the Spanish reader at the moment of its publication many month ago, but he is still doing it today.
Cercas' novel was the subject of the most recent commemoration of the thirty years of the putsch of a group of soldiers on February 23, 1981 (the actual excuse for this pseudofiction work). One of the most interesting writers of the young Spanish literature community, he is a particularly clear and keen scholar.
Spaniards still use the 23-F, as they call it. It' a spirit that has never completely vanished, a shared remembrance that Cercas translates masterly into the pages of a bestselling work. When that' s the case, the Spaniards, who are always so fond of remembering the murkiest moments in their lives, will stream into the theaters.
This is the most obscure part of the past..... or the present, such as the urban development corrupt along the Spanish coasts and especially on the eastern coasts (Valencia and Alicante). Rafael Chirbes, one of the most notable writers on the Spanish stage, was inspired by this Spanish Mahafia paradise with a shot of Spanish Picarese in his novel Crematorio (Anagrama), which has come back into the spotlight thanks to a new TV show about Canal Plus.
One of the most beloved writers in Spain, Roberto Bolaño, although he was Chilean, is another powerful force, thanks to Anagrama, who saved his novel La literaturea Nazi en América. This is the range of what is going on in a foreign land, Spain, where e-books have recently become the new fixture of intellectuals.