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Guadalajara

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3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  207 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
All the heroes of this collection—Ulysses and his minions trapped in the Trojan horse; the man who cannot escape his house; Gregor the cockroach, who wakes one day to discover he has become a human teenager—are faced with a world that is always changing, where time and space move in circles, where language has become meaningless.
Paperback, 129 pages
Published July 12th 2011 by Open Letter (first published January 1st 1996)
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(showing 1-30)
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karen
Mar 10, 2011 karen rated it really liked it
wow.

i suspect this book will do really well when it comes out in july, because just by putting it up here on goodreads.com, i have had three requests to borrow/have my copy, and i didn't even have to write an encouraging review for it or put up animal pictures to attract attention. but i will take care of that now, and my inbox will probably be flooded with "gimmies!!"

it's quite good.

i am feeling like a lazy reviewer today - long week. but this was a perfect book to read during a long week, bec
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Jacob
Jul 28, 2011 Jacob rated it really liked it
December 2011

"When the beetle emerged from his larval state one morning, he found he had been transformed into a fat boy." So begins "Gregor," Quim Monzó's tale of Metamorphosis-in-reverse. And in other times and in other places, the people of Troy refuse the gift of a wooden horse (much to the misfortune of the soldiers hidden--and trapped--inside), Robin Hood steals from the rich until they have nothing left, and the son and grandson of William Tell wonder at the old man's apple-shooting feat.
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jeremy
Apr 14, 2012 jeremy rated it really liked it
guadalajara is a strong, inventive collection of short stories from catalan journalist and fiction writer quim monzó. of the fourteen stories featured in guadalajara, there is not a single one lacking in intrigue, imagination, or charm. monzó's prose is alluring enough, but it is the quality of his overall storytelling that allows this work its radiance. while nearly all of the stories tend to be rather brief affairs, monzó manages to infuse them with an enduring, arousing effect. the range of s ...more
Storyheart
A small and enjoyable collection of stories. I particularly enjoyed the one about the beetle who wakes up one day to find himself transformed into Gregor Samsa.
Daniel
Aug 04, 2011 Daniel rated it really liked it
It is rare that I take to short stories. Often times, they leave me wanting more: more story, more time with the characters, more prose–more reason to care about what's going on and who's involved. Quiz Monzo's stories in "Guadalajara" side-stepped most of these issues by virtue of their humor, energy, and whimsy. Once I read a story about Odysseus and his Achaean soldiers sweating out a long wait in the belly of the Trojan horse, I was sold. Later stories that played off of Robin Hood, Kafka's ...more
Chad Post
Mar 06, 2011 Chad Post rated it it was amazing
DISCLAIMER: I am the publisher of the book and thus spent approximately two years reading and editing and working on it. So take my review with a grain of salt, or the understanding that I am deeply invested in this text and know it quite well. Also, I would really appreciate it if you would purchase this book, since it would benefit Open Letter directly.

Lots of highlights from this, but my favorite story (of the moment) is the final one, "Books," which is about a reader who can't decide which o
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Darryl
Jan 31, 2012 Darryl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quim Monzó (1952-) is an award winning Catalan novelist, short story writer and journalist who was born in Barcelona, where he continues to reside. This collection of short stories was originally published in 1996, and was subsequently translated into English by Peter Bush for Open Letter Books, who published it last year.

Guadalajara consists of a mixture of surreal, sometimes grotesque, and occasionally wickedly funny tales about the absurdities of everyday life and past and present customs. I
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Dewey
May 06, 2014 Dewey rated it it was amazing
An excellent bunch of short stories! A number of them take famous stories, or parts of them, and turn them upside down, which, in addition to being humorous, makes one wonder why somebody like me didn't think of those ideas first. The Lives of the Prophets is one of my personal favourites. An excellent first encounter with Quim Monzo, one of the most reputable authors writing in the Catalan language, a language whose authors have been writing, to my utter delight, the most interesting works of l ...more
Jim Elkins
Oct 09, 2012 Jim Elkins rated it did not like it
Shelves: spanish
These are short, almost aphoristic short stories, done with wry and faintly surrealistic humor. The publicity, and the author himself, speak of humor -- but what, exactly, is this kind of humor? Why is this sort of writing regarded to highly? It reveals superficial absurdities, it deflates commonplace pretensions, it undermines ordinary expectations, it reveals everyday conventions. In other words, it does almost no interesting work. If all it takes to create insight is this kind of low-level, e ...more
Paula
Feb 22, 2017 Paula rated it it was amazing
Excepcional. Monzó té un estil molt particular i diferent que no havia llegit pràcticament mai i que m'ha sorprés molt positivament. Aquests contes m'han tocat molt i m'han fet pensar més encara. I tot això sabent que és un llibre per a classe, encara així ha sigut molt estimulant.
Janay
Jun 14, 2011 Janay rated it really liked it
I had the privilege of winning this book through the Goodreads Giveaway. Unfortunately, my will to read is sparse and unpredictable, so I didn't get around to it until yesterday.

I truly enjoyed these short stories. The majority of them had the "oddity" vibe that I most enjoy. Specifically, "Gregor" and "Centripetal Force."

As a fan of "Metamorphosis" by Kafka, "Gregor" was a total delight. As sad as it was, I felt joy reading it. It came full circle while wonderfully paralleling the original.

It a
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David Rush
Jan 04, 2013 David Rush rated it it was ok
I have no idea why it is called Guadalajara. I may have missed something obvious, but I didn't spot anything when I flipped through after I finished reading it.

I suppose these stories might be called “high concept” in that most are premised on some clever what if core. Like what if there was story that is a reverse of Kafka's Metamorphosis where a beetle wakes up as a human? Or what if your apartment building acted like a MC Escher drawing and you could never get out?

Yep. They are all very, very
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Jack
May 31, 2013 Jack rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Teachers
Shelves: catalonia
The trouble with rating a book like this is that if you were to give it a technical evaluation it could probably stand its ground; that said, there's something really lacking in all of these short stories. Monzó's style reminds me of a student's in secondary (high) school. The teacher gives out exercises every week for the students to practise their creative writing skills. The majority of homework returned is going to be rubbish, but the odd story might catch the teacher's eye.

- Very good, Joaq
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Bob
Jul 04, 2012 Bob rated it really liked it
Apparently one of the leading Catalonian writers, not a realm in which I can claim a crumb of knowledge. The short stories, mostly very short, are fairly place-less and not too obviously tied to any particular culture. Each one tends to revolve around a quite precise sort of "high concept" (most cited is the opening story "Family Life" in which the younger generation rebels against the custom in one extended family of cutting off a single finger as a coming of age ritual); there are also brief i ...more
Lawrence
Mar 12, 2011 Lawrence rated it really liked it
These are stories built from and around ideas. Yes, there's action in the stories, but that's not the primary or even important aspect of the storytelling here. And, there's a straightforward, declarative, deadpan structure to the language in these stories. It's not a laugh out loud comedy routine, but rather an uncomfortable feeling behind the laugh style. From the first story about the boy who discovers the oddity about his family's tradition to the take on the myths of The Trojan Horse, Willi ...more
Simon
Jun 20, 2011 Simon rated it really liked it
A really interesting collection of stories. Monzo takes ordinary events or magical-realist speculations and pushes them to extremes, in a manner that reminded me strongly of Borges. I particularly liked the speculations on and extensions of classic stories - the Trojan horse, William Tell and the apple, Kafka's Metamorphosis, and Robin Hood, but most stories felt pretty much the right length. My only complaint is with the translation, which occasionally felt a bit flat and uninspired. I hadn't r ...more
Kim
Jun 15, 2011 Kim rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
I really didn't know what to rate this book. I understand that it was written in a different language and has been translated and maybe that was part of what bothered me with the stories. I felt that most began excellent: a great idea, an intriguing and inviting beginning, but I felt that all but 2 or 3 ended very abruptly with no real ending at all. If he was trying to leave it open ended so you would think for yourself how it may have ended, I felt he was just too extreme with it. Most of the ...more
Natalie Tyler
Aug 20, 2016 Natalie Tyler rated it liked it
Monzo is an absurdist writer from Spain and this slender collection of short stories is sometimes enchanting and sometimes exasperating. We begin with the family who has a tradition of cutting a finger off of each boy when he is about age 9. What happens when one of them protests? One story is a takeoff on Kafka's
"Metamorphosis" and begins with a beetle who awakes one day to find himself as a human teenager--named Gregor. There are delicious moments of dark humor, but I don't get along with too
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Joseph
Jul 01, 2011 Joseph rated it it was amazing
Shelves: translations, 2011
I won this book through First Reads. I came in to it having already read Gasoline, his other book published by Open Letter. I really enjoyed Gasoline when I read it, and I think it is a great book. But overall, I would say that I prefered the short stories in Guadalajara. I look forward to seeing more books by Monzo in English.
Donald Armfield
Jun 02, 2011 Donald Armfield rated it it was amazing
This is mixed bag of literature amazing, strange and out of the ordinary. There was only one story I did not care for.

Family Life: imagine having a family ritual that at age 8 you had to cut of your left ring finger. 5 stars

Gregor : The transformation of a beetle to a person 5 Stars

Centripetal Force is a must read just to name a few but remember all these stories are magnificent. definitely going to check out more from this author.
Suzanne
Aug 13, 2012 Suzanne rated it it was ok
Monzo's main theme is the labrynthine nature of human thought, and his short stories are admittedly quite creative variations on this theme. Although his descriptions of the machinations of the mind are unusually perceptive, there was nothing that about this collection that made me feel wiser for reading it, just mildly entertained.
Robert
Mar 20, 2014 Robert rated it it was ok
Twilight Zone for the clinically depressed. Clever but for the most part forgettable. "The Lives of the Prophets" was the standout for me.

There seemed to be a number of translation errors, such as using "in effect" a couple times where "in fact" seemed to be called for, babies sleeping in cots rather than cribs, and occasional bizarre syntax.
Rebecca
Jun 15, 2011 Rebecca rated it it was ok
Shelves: first-reads
I haven't read a collection of short stories since probably middle school so I wasn't sure what to expect. For me, it takes a few pages to really get into the story and by the time I did that it abruptly ended. There were a few stories that I did enjoy and I could see the deeper meaning in most of them, but I think I'll stick with novels.
Peter McCambridge
Dec 04, 2011 Peter McCambridge rated it it was amazing
A book I am glad to have to read. Genuinely Kafkaesque (in a wonderful, interesting, readable kind of way), it's one of those books that you want to recommend and go out and buy for all your friends. I'm off to see what else Quim Monzo has written but, like one of his characters, I'm almost scared to read more for fear of being disappointed.
Tom
Aug 19, 2011 Tom rated it really liked it
I liked it closer to 4-1/2 stars. Monzó is a good storyteller, a fabulist who sometimes comes across as a funny Rod Serling. This collection of stories has none titled "Guadalajara." I have no idea why, but it didn't affect my enjoyment of the book.
Gurldoggie
Oct 10, 2012 Gurldoggie rated it it was amazing
A book of odd and beautiful fantasies, dealing with the contradictions involved in every aspect of modern living, the hidden intricacies of family relationships, and the unknown fates of forgotten historical figures. Extremely thought provoking and unexpected.
Hannah
Jun 04, 2012 Hannah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: global-reading
Wonderful short stories.
Joshua
Sep 02, 2011 Joshua rated it really liked it
Nice collection of surreal short stories. I was also tickled by the fact that the last story was about someone trying to decide what book to read next.
Daniel
Dec 03, 2012 Daniel rated it really liked it
Quim Monzó always impresses me he has enormous skills to write. Maybe the best European author of tales and short stories!
Esperanza Writes Too
Nov 03, 2013 Esperanza Writes Too rated it liked it
Shelves: school-reading
3.5 en realidad.

Al final me ha gustado más de lo que pensaba. Ha sido una lectura bastante amena.
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Quim Monzó was born in Barcelona in 1952.
He has been awarded the National Award for fiction; the City of Barcelona Award for fiction; the Prudenci Bertrana Award for fiction; the El Temps Award for best novel; the Lletra d'Or Prize; the Catalan Writers' Award; the Maria Àngels Anglada; the Trajectòria; he has also been awarded Serra d'Or magazine's prestigious Critics' Award, four times.

In 2007 he
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