Category Literature

Some Postcards, a Royal Wedding (no, not that one), and a Review

Wherever you are in the world, especially if you’re in an English-speaking country or Northern Europe, the great excitement over the upcoming British Royal Wedding probably won’t have escaped you. Prince William and Kate Middleton will be tying the knot in Westminster Abbey this Friday, 29th April, and the nation is rejoicing (largely, it must be […]

Dime quien soy Reading Marathon – Progress Report

At last! I’ve reached the final stretch of the Dime quien soy marathon – as of last night, I’m at p.655 and the last of four main sections. To be honest, since the book’s a little … ahem … hefty to carry around with me, the process is proving more like interval training than a […]

Announcement! Books on Spain Marathon: DIME QUIEN SOY

It’s true! After buying Julia Navarro’s bestselling monster novel Dime quién soy (Tell me who I am) on my last trip to Spain, and lugging all 1100 pages of the giant hardback across Spain and through the Pennines on my unscheduled diversion via Doncaster (blame the December snows), I have *finally* cracked it open today […]

Spanish literature in the Guardian, or, What have I been saying all these months?

¡Vaya! The UK’s Guardian newspaper is running a series on ‘the New Europe’ at the moment. It started two weeks ago with Germany, last week was France, and now we’re on to Spain, finishing up next week with Poland. This means lots of news stories focusing on Spain from the excellent Giles Tremlett, among others, […]

Review | The Olive Groves of Belchite | Elena Moya Pereira

 How are the reverberations of an event like the Spanish Civil War transformed as they travel down through the generations? How do they echo through people’s choices, actions, lives and loves, and what happens to those echoes when the walls they are bouncing off are far, far away from those that hold the first-hand memories? These […]

Gopegui in English at last – review roundup!

I’m still here! Just been reading some great reviews of Belén Gopegui’s first novel, from 1993: La escala de los mapas / The Scale of Maps, in its new English translation by Mark  Schafer, published by City Lights (I was at college with a Mark Schafer; I wonder if it’s the same one? He was studying […]

And a followup, or, stop moaning, start shouting: 10 contemporary Spanish women writers to watch

And so, to follow up on the previous post and take up Vida’s challenge to do something about the fact that ‘the numbers of articles and reviews simply don’t reflect how many women are actually writing‘, here are my suggestions for 10 contemporary Spanish women fiction writers to watch. I’m not claiming they’re the ‘best’ […]

An excuse, a tip, and a promise, or, head-first into the new semester and why I have been reading but not writing

This minipost is by way of an excuse, a tip, and a promise. First the excuse. Our new semester started this week, albeit with the old one still hanging around like a gentle whiff, in the shape of marking, moderation and mitigating circumstances. Last semester finished with a major exam on Friday afternoon, and the new one […]

Guest Blog! Mr Books-on-Spain on Domingo Villar’s Water-blue Eyes (Ojos de agua)

Today, for your delectation and delight, we have a guest blog from Mr Books-on-Spain, who normally writes over at In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel. I haven’t read this one yet myself, but when I do, I’ll post an update from my decidedly non-mystery-fan perspective. Over to you, Mr Books-on-Spain:   I promised myself […]

2011 Best Translated Book Awards Longlist (and yet another tiny little rant)

The folks over at Three Percent, the fabulous resource for international literature based at the University of Rochester in the US, have just released the longlist for the 2011 Best Translated Book Awards. There are 25 books, from 19 countries, written in 12 languages, and I’me excited to see several Spanish-language authors included (translator name […]

The pre-semester deluge and a new look, or, good intentions but little of substance

Is it really the 20th of January already? In my world, that means 11 days until the new semester, when I will be teaching a brand new module for final-year undergraduates. A module that has existed in my mind since last spring, but which now has to become reality aka a syllabus, handouts, worksheets and […]

Review: Eduardo Mendoza’s “Rina de gatos. Madrid, 1936” (2010)

The events and intrigues of the months leading up to Spain’s devastating Civil War of 1936-1939 have been chewed over, thoroughly digested and well … you know the rest … by historians of all hues during the last three quarters of a century. Nonetheless, Eduardo Mendoza (official webpage), one of Spain’s most established novelists, has managed […]

Happy thoughts for a lively and literary 2011!

Feliz aninovo, Feliz año nuevo, Bon any nou, Urte berri on, Feliz añu nuevu and Happy New Year to all of you! This blog has been going now for five whole months and has been more fun to research and write, and reached more readers, than I could ever have imagined when I started it back in […]

El Pais-Babelia’s top ten books of 2010 (a list, some links, and a minor rant)

It’s that time of year again – authors, critics, and (occasionally!) academics are asked to come up with their nominations for the year’s top books, according to various usually not terribly well-defined criteria. Pretty much every newspaper, magazine and cultural journal is in on the game, and Papeles Perdidos, the blog of the El Pais […]

Shameless self-promotion #1 | Advance edition

Writing Galicia into the World: New Cartographies, New Poetics by Kirsty Hooper | Liverpool University Press price: £ 65.00 | ISBN 9781846316678 Synopsis This book explores a part of Europe’s cultural and social landscape that has until now remained largely unmapped: the exciting body of creative work emerging since the 1970s from contact between the […]

Mini-review (and a spot of pedantry)| El sueno del celta, by Mario Vargas Llosa

 It’s amazing what you can achieve on an 8-hour train journey – in this case, reading almost the whole of the first Mario Vargas Llosa novel I have ever read of my own free will. Oh, it’s not the first one I’ve read – that honour goes to La ciudad y los perros (English trans: […]

Granta 113: The Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists

Nineteen seventy-five marked the end of the dictatorship in Spain. The repressive regimes in South American countries would hold out until the following decade, but other cultural changes were afoot. In Europe, the tradition of exiled South American writers living and working in Paris gradually came to an end. Instead of looking north for their […]

Christmas Book Suggestions from Papeles Perdidos (El Pais)

“El recuerdo que deja un libro es a veces más importante que el libro en sí”, dijo una vez Adolfo Bioy Casares. Y todos hemos tenido esa experiencia. El País Semanal Especial Navidad, del domingo pasado, publicó una serie de sugerencias de todo tipo para regalar en diciembre y ahí estaban los libros, claro. Ese […]

Review: Kirmen Uribe, “Bilbao-New York-Bilbao”

Which creative forms best allow us to capture the complex tapestries that bind together the stories of individuals, families, locations, and their relations with the world? This is the question that drives Kirmen Uribe’s debut novel Bilbao-New York-Bilbao, which as long-time readers might remember, has been on my ‘to read’ list since before the summer. Uribe, […]

Spanish Women Writers in the News

It’s been a good week for Spanish women writers of a certain generation (or two)! First of all, last Sunday the novelist Soledad Puértolas was inducted into the Real Academia Española (Spanish Royal Academy), only the 5th woman member out of a current total of 46. I have to confess I haven’t read any of […]