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The No World Concerto

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  84 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Hailed by Spain's Revista Quimera as one of the top ten Spanish-language novels of the decade, alongside Bolaño's 2666, Vila-Matas's Bartleby & Co., and Marías's Your Face Tomorrow, The No World Concerto is a many-layered puzzle concerning an old screenwriter who has holed up in a shabby hotel in a never-named but familiar city in order to write a script about his ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published April 2nd 2013 by Dalkey Archive Press (first published November 2005)
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Jul 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Garima and Ian
Recommended to s.penkevich by: jeremy
1. The No World is all that is the case.

Composer and expressionist artist Arnold Schoenberg revolutionized 20th-century music through his development of the twelve-tone technique, or dodecaphony, which gives equal treatment to each note in the chromatic scale as the music sways through a series of repeated motifs without allowing any of them to dominate the composition. The No World Concerto is a staggering accomplishment for author A.G. Porta, applying Schoenberg’s music theories to literature
Vit Babenco
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The No World Concerto is a very solipsistic novel… At times it echoes Project for a Revolution in New York by Alain Robbe-Grillet and sometimes Mulligan Stew by Gilbert Sorrentino
Then the girl – she’s probably tired by now, at the point of sleep, but still burning with ambition all the same, still determined to be a writer who’ll accomplish great things. He wonders about the voices in her head, always calling out to her, never silent, and about her persecution complex – like her ambition – ever
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, translation
antoni garcía porta is a spanish novelist with some half dozen novels to his name. the no world concerto (concierto del no mundo) is the first of his works to be translated into english (and hopefully not the last). he is best known to english-speaking readers (if, in fact, he is known to them at all) as roberto bolaño's early writing partner and long-time friend. in 1984, they published an as-yet untranslated short novel they coauthored together, consejos de un discípulo de morrison a un ...more
I found this to be a fascinating, highly literary, and ultimately disturbing book. It's advisable to suspend most normal sensibilities when reading this, i.e. toward the old screenwriter's exploitative passion for "the girl," a very young and unnamed piano prodigy. But that's not too hard to do since it's never easy to tell what is supposed to be real. He writes about her in an unnamed city, her unsavory relationships with her fellow musicians, her desire to give up music and become a writer. ...more
Nov 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Not nearly as clever or insightful as I would have hoped. The hype is lost on me.
Marc Nash
Mar 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
Interesting premise, two people in a relationship, both are writers penning stories involving the other, so that at any moment the narrative may be reflected in any one of several prisms, the reality of their relationship, his narrative about her, her narrative of him, them coming together to discuss each's narrative, or criticise the other's etc. The book reminded me of Robbe-Grillet's novels, in how they structure and mark the passage of time which almost becomes the highest value of the ...more
Peter Aronson
Jun 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
At first this book drew me in. Then it became something of a slog. Then it became a seriously slow slog through the unconvincing and uninteresting life of its characters. Then the book turned kind of disturbing, and finally there was a fairly neat ending. But by the time that ending came I had slogged through so much uninteresting stuff that it failed to redeem the book. The prose was OK, but not (in English) anything special, the characters mere caricatures, and the techniques (like never ...more
An aging professor leaves his post in disgrace, and takes up his former career as a screenwriter. Once he settles in and begins work on a new screenplay, he meets the girl who was at the center of his affair. She is a talented concert pianist, playing the experimental work of a brilliant composer, but she chafes at the demands of the composer, the young conductor, and her own business-minded mother. One night, she, the composer, the conductor, and the screenwriter visit a hypnotist who convinces ...more
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spain, favorites
I spent over a year reading you, dear book. I savored and savored.

This is good writing. This is twisted plot. This is sometimes more philosophy than plot. <3
Dec 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
Not overwritten, but definitely "over thought." The idea is ambitious, but I don't think he pulled it off- structurally. Porta tries to draw parallels between writing and music composition. 12 tones etc.

Another book I wish I would of quit half way through but soldiered on to the end.
Apr 01, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is intricate and masterful. It starts quietly and ends with a bit of a thud, though. It really got started for me around page 200, and, from there, held me captivated until the end. I have a feeling some of it was, as they say, lost in translation.
Sep 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
"Hailed as one of the top 10 Spanish-language book of the decade."
In the modernist spirit of James Joyce. A story within a story within itself. Absorbing.
Kept Attention: 5
Must Read: 5
Accessible: 3
Important: 5 (as literature)
Well-written: 5
Nov 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is crazy good. It slumps and sags a bit in the middle--and really demands a lot from the reader--but the ending and overall concept makes for a very rewarding read. Highly recommended if you enjoy Bolaño, Sebald, Ben Lerner's stuff, et al. Metafiction for the win.
Scott Morrison
Sep 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Definitely well written, not sure I entirely understood it...
Nov 02, 2013 rated it liked it
Form: Interesting
Content: Boring, cliche, sexist.
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Antoni García Porta (Barcelona, 1954) obtuvo el premio Ámbito Literario de Narrativa 1984 con el libro Consejos de un discípulo de Morrison a un fanático de Joyce, escrito en colaboración con Roberto Bolaño y publicado por Acantilado en 2006. Esta misma editorial ha publicado sus novelas Braudel por Braudel (1999), El peso del aire (2001), Singapur (2003), Concierto del No Mundo (2006), que ganó ...more