Down the street yesterday evening I came across a new book titled Dublinesca (Dublinesque) by Enrique Vila-Matas, an author of whom I have read nothing. His website tells me he will be participating in a couple of events in Dublin this weekend as part of the Franco-Irish literary festival.

Of the book, he says (I translate):

If I’m talking with a friend,  I feel freer and I don’t tell him about the plot and I speak to him, for example, about a melancholic gravitas, a uniform and sublime tone like that of the last quartets of Beethoven. I speak to him about an autumnal book (Gracián spoke of an autumn of the vigorous age, in which one could glimpse the frozen horrors of Vejecia [Vejecia is a pun: vejez in Spanish means old age, and the name is one letter removed from Venecia – Venice -HG]), of a consummate style, like the one analysed by Edward Said in On Late Style: Schonberg, Rothko, Picasso, surpassing himself, defeating his young self.

Dublinesque – I tell this friend- is a sort of private stroll the length of the bridge that links the Joyce’s world of near excess with the more laconic world of Beckett and which, in the end, is the main journey of the great literature of the last decades: the one that goes from the riches of one Irishman to the deliberate penury of the other; from the era of Gutenberg to Google, from the existence of the sacred (Joyce) to the sombre era of the disappearance of God (Beckett), from the epiphanic to aphonia.

If I’m speaking to the gentleman who has sat down beside me on the train from Dublin to Barcelona and simply wants to know what my novel is about, I tell him “It’s about someone who gets bored and who wants to celebrate a funeral for the world (for his own world too) and discovers that the ceremony gives him something to do. That is, he finds his future in the apocalyptic

Here’s the video that goes with it:

Seems promising enough. I shall read it sometime before 2025, all being well.


4 Responses to “Dublinesque”

  1. 1 Sean Baite April 16, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Read a couple of his in French translation : Paris Never Ends and Bartleby & Co.. Worth the detour if only to find out what it would’ve been like to have Marguerite Duras as your landlady.
    What was a Catalan writing in Castillan doing at a Franco-Irish literary festival btw ??

  2. 2 Hugh Green April 16, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Marguerite Duras was his landlady? That is pretty cool. I read Moderato Cantabile in college, liked it at the time, can’t remember a bit of it now.

    I guess that if yer man is well in with th’oul Parisian scene, and he seems to have seen a Dublin Bus, and he happens to have a book out about Dublin, then he has as much rights to be at the Franco-Irish literary festival as anyone else. Not that I can see too much point in a Franco-Irish literary festival, mind, but sure it’s all a bit of crack.

  3. 3 Sean Baite April 17, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Can’t understand a word of Spanish – Castillan/Catalan… but I hope what he’s saying in those couple of minutes justifies him spending most of his time pottering about on Dublin’s most appalling street.
    At least Derrida managed to make it as far as Moore St. to hear the Joycean idiom in its natural habitat…
    As for the Franco-Irish whindig – I also conclude he’s no great fan (no more than your good self) of yer man the Generalissimo from the bit I’ve managed to read by him.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

I on Twitter

April 2010
« Mar   May »

%d bloggers like this: