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Overview

Enrique Vila-Matas’s new novel is perhaps his greatest: “playful and funny and among the best Spanish novelists” (Colm Tóibín)


Mac is currently unemployed and lives on his wife’s earnings. An avid reader, he decides at the age of sixty to keep a diary. Mac’s wife, a dyslexic, thinks he is simply wasting his time and risking sliding further into depression—but Mac persists, and is determined that this diary won't turn into a novel. However, one day, he has a chance encounter with a neighbor, a successful author of a collection of enigmatic, willfully obscure stories. Mac decides that he will read, revise, and improve his neighbor’s stories, which are mostly narrated by a ventriloquist who has lost the ability to speak in different voices. As Mac embarks on this task, he finds that the stories have a strange way of imitating life. Or is life imitating the stories? As the novel progresses, Mac becomes more adrift from reality, and both he and we become ever more immersed in literature: a literature haunted by death, but alive with the sheer pleasure of writing.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780811227322
Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date: 04/30/2019
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 781,964
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

ENRIQUE VILA-MATAS was born in Barcelona. He has received countless prizes and written numerous award-winning novels, including Bartleby & Co., Montano’s Malady, Never Any End to Paris, and Dublinesque.

Award-winning translator Margaret Jull Costa lives in England.

SOPHIE HUGHES has translated numerous Spanish-language authors, including José Revueltas and Fernanda Melchor for New Directions.

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