jeremy's Reviews > Guadalajara

Guadalajara by Quim Monzó
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's review
Apr 16, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: translation, shortstories, fiction
Read in April, 2012

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 subjects and themes in guadalajara's stories is impressive, demonstrating not only monzó's evident talent working within the form but also the deceptive ease with which he is able to craft an inherently interesting tale.

of particular note are the four stories in the collection's second section, each of which reimagines a classic tale in a particularly clever and distinctive way (ulysses/odysseus and the trojan horse, william tell, kafka's gregor samsa, and robin hood). other stories in guadalajara that stand out within this veritably accomplished collection are "family life," "life is so short," "strategies," and "the lives of the prophets." the fourth of his books to be translated into english, guadalajara is a fine collection of short stories that ably exemplifies quim monzó's ample literary ability.

the reader closes the book. the first sentence, the first paragraph, the first page. the possibilities are immense, as ever. everything still has to fan out, gradually, as the paths at the beginning fade until finally (that is, on the final page) only one remains, that is generally predictable. will the writer keep us entranced to the last page? won't there ever be a time, from here to the fifth, eighteenth, or one-hundred-and-sixty-seventh page when his spell will be broken.

*in fluid translation from the spanish by peter bush (goytisolo, et al)
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