jeremy's Reviews > The House of Paper

The House of Paper by Carlos María Domínguez
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's review
Jan 26, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: translation, fiction
Read in January, 2012

a charming little novella from carlos maría domínguez, uruguayan journalist and fiction writer, about the joys and hazards of bibliophilia. the house of paper is a slim work that celebrates the love of (and, for some, borderline obsession with) the bound and printed word. wrapped in a delightful tale about an enigmatic volume that must be traced back to its original owner, domínguez offers an exaggerated glimpse into the lives of characters for whom books represent more than mere diversionary aside. this playful story affirms the essence of the bibliophile in as engaging a way as hrabal's too loud a solitude, hanff's 84, charing cross road or even calvino's if on a winter's night a traveler. with a nod to joseph conrad (as well as some of the finest latin american writers), domínguez's the house of paper is an entertaining and sprightly book that conveys the jubilance of a life inclined towards the literary.
i've been buying books here and there ever since i can remember. to build a library is to create a life. it's never just a random collection of books... you go on adding them to the shelves, and they seem to constitute a collection, but i would say that's an illusion. we pursue some topics, and at the end of a certain length of time we find ourselves defining worlds, or if you prefer, we are tracing the steps of a journey, the advantage being that we can conserve its traces.
with illustrations by the always remarkable peter sis and a translation by nick caistor (onetti, neuman, aira, saramago).
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