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Dublinesca

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  1,279 ratings  ·  158 reviews
Samuel Riba se considera el último editor literario y se siente hundido desde que se retiró. Un día tiene un sueño premonitorio que le indica claramente que el sentido de su vida pasa por Dublín. Convence entonces a unos amigos para acudir al Bloomsday y recorrer juntos el corazón mismo del Ulises de James Joyce.

Riba oculta a sus compañeros dos cuestiones que le obsesionan
...more
Paperback, 328 pages
Published March 2010 by Seix Barral (first published 2010)
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Average rating 3.62  · 
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 ·  1,279 ratings  ·  158 reviews


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Fionnuala
Down stucco sidestreets,
Where light is pewter
And afternoon mist
Brings lights on in shops
Above race-guides and rosaries,
A funeral passes.


So goes the first verse of Philip Larkin's Dublinesque, a poem set in Dublin in the early years of the 20th century. The images Larkin uses evoke perfectly the Dublin of Leopold Bloom from James Joyce's Ulysses. The poem therefore provides a very apt title for Enrique Vila-Matas's requiem for the age of print in which he nominates Joyce's writing as the pi
...more
Jonfaith
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dublinesque is a wonderful portrait of sorrow, escapist dreams and sinister returns. Vila-Matas'
novel is bitterly human, riddled with loss and solitude. It reveres Literature, but then knocks it to the floor as vanity. It offers dreams and travels as hope. Loneliness always follows. Addiction and ageing haunt relentlessly.

The narrative follows Riba, or rather it chases him, a retired publisher who is sober for two years after near-death indulgence. His publishing house is defunct, his vocation
...more
Lee Klein
Jun 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Transmigration of souls through time and space via intertextuality transport. Vila-Matas is his own deal but he's also maybe like Markson meets Auster meets a careful dedicated craftsman who juggles thematic balls almost to the point of whirlwind (not necessarily a good thing toward the end since it maybe seems too managed and thereby loses a sense of the noble natural looseness of life?). You don't need to know Joyce or Larkin or Beckett or Borges, but it probably helps to have some familarity ...more
jeremy
May 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, translation
"the funeral march has begun, and it is futile for those of us who remain loyal to the printed page to protest and rage in the midst of our despair." samuel riba, dublinesque's depressive and narcissistic protagonist, stumbles upon this and other similarly prophetic sentiments in an online article proclaiming the death of print and the ensuing "disappearance of literary authors." in the early pages of dublinesque (dublinesca), enrique vila-matas's most recent novel to be translated into english, ...more
Jim Elkins
Jul 30, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spanish
Poor Portraits of a Country's Literature

I've never felt such disappointment with any new novel by any writer. "Bartleby & Co." is a wonderful novel with a poignant and convincing theme. "Montano's Malady" is a quirky elaboration on the same theme of a writer's hobbled imagination. Together, I thought, they made Vila-Matas one of the most memorable voices in contemporary fiction.

This book is hugely, irremediably disappointing, and I do not think I will read another of his books.

There are two re
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Makis Dionis
Jan 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: flamenco
Even if this is a weekend celebrating Scottish tradition and poet Robert Burns i will pay a visit to an Irish pub due to Mr Matas
Will
Sep 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recommended
The best book about reading I've read...maybe ever. Deeply intertextual: in constant dialogue with the entire history of the written word; in constant dialogue with the reader: both You as the Reader and the Ideal Reader; the story of the power of the Word over us: the importance of Literature as ART and the way to analyze, understand, and withstand the human condition.

A profoundly humane book. A book that should be read as a book.

Vila-Matas uses the plot of Dublinesque to present a new form of
...more
Ellie
Dublinesque by Enrique Vila-Matas is the story of a Spanish retired publisher, Riba, whose marriage and newly-sober life is not-so-slowly crumbling as he sits endlessly before his computer screen, reminding himself of the Japanese youth who become recluses hidden with their computers. After a near-fatal collapse caused by drinking, he has quit both alcohol and social life. His wife Celia is converting to Buddhism and his elderly parents lovingly oppress him-or so he feels-with his love. In a des ...more
Olivia
Sep 05, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nyt
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Edward
Feb 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“. . .A voice is heard singing
Of Katy or Kitty,
As if the name meant once
All love, all beauty.

- Last lines of “Dublinesque”, a poem by Philip Larkin

The title of Vila-Matas’s novel comes from this Larkin poem, and depicts the same feeling of uncertainty (was it “Katy” or “Kitty”?). Samuel Riba, a retired Spanish book publisher in his 60’s, is really a frustrated writer. True, he has published some very good writers, many of them English, but now he’s beginning to wonder what he’s really accompli
...more
Jill
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dublinesque should have a big banner on its cover stating, “Serious readers only.” Because this is, at its core, a book about literature and readers. Take this comment by Mr. Vila-Matas’ key character (and perhaps in some sense, alter ego): “The same skills needed for writing are needed or reading. Writers fail readers, but it also happens the other way around and readers fail writers when all they ask of them is confirmation that the world is how they see it…”

Well, Mr. Vila-Matas does not fail
...more
Eliza
Oct 29, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel, fomp-book-club
11/4/2012: This novel was our Book Club choice--probably because the question "Why read Joyce's Ulysses?" seems to run through many of our group discussions about literature. And this book, while it doesn't answer the question, does address many of Ulysses' thematic, rhetorical, and existential issues. Which leads me to ask: where are the Cliff Notes to THIS book?

Samuel Riba is a 60-ish, recently retired literary book publisher who lives in Barcelona. He had to stop drinking two years before the
...more
Alan
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
The title is from Larkin's poem of the same name, and its melancholic atmosphere (Down stucco sidestreets/ Where light is pewter) prevails in this marvellous account of a Barcelona publisher lamenting the demise of his own publishing house, his failure to find the writer of true genius, and the death of the printed word as we move into the digital age. He decides to hold a funeral for the Gutenberg age in Dublin, appropriately at the same cemetery that featured in Ulysses. Literary references, i ...more
John Wood
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this in Dublin on a recent trip to Ireland. The book's about a once celebrated publisher whose house is now out of business who's coming to terms (or not) with the end of his press, his own mortality, and the fading glory of the book, any book. This is not a feel-good story, more of a harsh comedy. It is wonderfully written, haunted by Joyce and Beckett. The central character seems determined to make a hash of what's left. If you love books, this is a book-lover's book. Take the leap.
Sarah
Apr 02, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It started out good, but I lost interest in the last half, i.e. my sympathy for the characters disappeared and a pleasure in the language of the book did not jump in to fill that gap.

Because we mustn't deceive ourselves: on the journey of reading we often travel through difficult terrains that demand a capacity for intelligent emotion, a desire to understand the other, and to approach a language distinct from the one of our daily tyrannies.
Michael
Jun 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Es ist der 25. Juni, mein zweiter Urlaubstag. Ich liege auf dem Sofa und lese „Dublinesque“. Zwischendurch schaue ich immer wieder aus dem Fenster und den Böen zu, die den Regen fast horizontal durch den Garten peitschen. Vor 30 oder 40 Seiten hat Riba, die Hauptfigur des Romans, berichtet, dass es in Barcelona erstaunlich viel regnet für Mai. Das gleiche ist wahr für Eutin und den Monat Juni. Wo kommen nur alle die Gewitter und Regengüsse her? Dass eine Bekannte Ribas in der Tate Modern eine Au ...more
Laura
The first part of this book was quite interesting but then the book becomes boring in some way.

4.5* Bartleby & Co.
3* Dublinesque
...more
James Murphy
Oct 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There's a poem of Philip Larkin's he called "Dublinesque." He said it arose from a dream of his, and he simply wrote it down upon awaking. About feelings of loss, it describes a funeral, and the poem and its idea of funeral become central elements in Dublinesque, the novel by Spain's Enrique Vila-Matas.

Samuel Riba, Villa-Matas' protagonist, is a retired publisher much concerned with the end of the Gutenberg age of print and its replacement by the burgeoning digital age. In a dream similar to Lar
...more
Anthony Ferner
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spanish-fiction
Samuel Riba, a retired publisher from Barcelona, has lapsed into lethargy and melancholy since selling up his business and forswearing alcohol two years before. He is saddened by the thought that he never found the writer of genius who could embody the age. He mourns the death of the Gutenberg Galaxy era, the passing from the epoch of the printed word to the digital age. (A confession: I read this book on a Kindle…) More by accident than design, Riba finds himself planning a trip to Dublin with ...more
Marco Díaz
Nov 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Catalonian writer Enrique Vila-Matas brings us a very dark-humored and post-modern novel about retired literary editor Samuel Riba, who after two years of sobriety and being deemed a hopeless "hikikomori" by his neophyte Buddhist wife, sets out to travel to Dublin (on June 16th, a.k.a. Bloomsday) with a group of writers to celebrate a requiem for the Gutenberg galaxy and in search of the true artistic genius. For fans of J. Joyce, S. Beckett and V. Nabokov, a lot of ideas and fragments of their ...more
Robert Rosen
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't put this one down. A retired publisher of “serious literature,” who’s a recovering alcoholic about to turn 60, travels from his home in Barcelona to Dublin on Bloomsday to hold a funeral for the “Guttenberg Galaxy,” as he calls the age of printed books. Well done and deeply troubling, especially if you happen to be a writer who, a month before his 60th birthday, threw a launch party called Bloomsday on Beaver Street for his latest book.
Lisa
Jun 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As soon as I started reading Dublinesque, (longlisted for the 2012 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize) I knew I was going to like it. The book’s main character is Riba Samuel, a publisher of literary books who fears the End of the World as we LitLovers know it, and I was On His Side straight away.

My support faltered only momentarily when I discovered that he was a Bit Odd. (To put it mildly).

But aren’t we all? The Rest of the World is triumphantly reading the silly vampire novels that Riba depl
...more
lucas spiro
The appeal of this book will be, for many people, the Joycean connection. Dublinesque follows a retired Spanish publisher who makes a literary pilgrimage to Dublin for Bloomsday, that highest of high holy days on the literary calendar.

Our protagonist, Samuel Riba, who has dedicated his life to publishing books that he believes in for their literary merit (and not their financial potential), is a sober alcoholic, estranged from his wife who constantly threatens to leave him, and helplessly noctur
...more
Sergio  Mori
Aug 30, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a wonderful read, I loved the intertextualities, some of them seem to speak directly to me: not only people like Duchamp, Auster, Beckett, Borges and Monterroso, but the film Spider, too. Tis movie seems to be considered something minor in Cronenberg's filmography, but it's one of my favourites. And Ribas, the main character in this book, is sort of obsessed by it. It was like, did you just go inside my head and picked all these references?

Nonetheless, you don't need to have read or seen th
...more
Olivia
Oct 28, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I feel terrible about not liking this book, because I wanted to like it very much: its protagonist has read too many books to function in reality, and is obsessed with Joyce. There was a hint of magical realism, or at least I hoped there was a hint. What's not to love about that? I initially stopped reading this book because of its pace, figuring that it was simply too rich for me to appreciate given my other reading and workload, and so I came back to it this fall. Then I suspected that the pac ...more
Ruta
Sep 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: apple-of-the-eye
Deceptively short - yet embraces the whole history of Western literature. A book haunted by Joyce, Beckett and Nabokov. And the title refers to a poem by Philip Larkin:

Dublinesque

Down stucco sidestreets,
Where light is pewter
And afternoon mist
Brings lights on in shops
Above race-guides and rosaries,
A funeral passes.

The hearse is ahead,
But after there follows
A troop of streetwalkers
In wide flowered hats,
Leg-of-mutton sleeves,
And ankle-length dresses.

There is an air of great friendliness,
As if they
...more
Tonymess
May 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I got to page 122 of “Dublinesque” I learned that the title comes from the name of a poem by Philip Larkin. “It’s a poem that talks of an old Dublin prostitute, who in her last hour is accompanied only by a few co-workers along the city streets.” The novel gives us the opening 6 lines of the poem. So what does any “normal” avid reader do? Goes straight to google and searches out the whole poem of course. Ah! But here’s the twist, this novel is all about the death of the Gutenberg age, the d ...more
Gill
Oct 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must-read for anyone with an interest in Irish literature and culture, I found myself stopping every 5 minutes to scribble down the name of yet another author, or to find a piece of music on YouTube, which really enhanced the experience. It is a wonderfully evocative exploration of ageing, depression and alcoholism, with a protagonist who becomes increasingly real as he unravels. But don't let that put you off, for the serious reader/literature geek this book is a lot of fun.
Cemre Mimoza
Oct 31, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps it's because I built my hopes and expectations far too up for this book and then it fell down and down till i found myself skimming and scanning the last ten pages. Not any sympathy for the character, not a flowing language, not a capturing story, at all. Disappointment is the best word to describe my experience with this work. I felt like I've been bombarded with random references, irrelevant images and andropausal attacks of Riba. Sorry to feel in that way, not sorry that it's over.
Charles  Beauregard
Always someone turns up you never dreamt of...
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En el 68 se fue a vivir a París, autoexiliado del gobierno de Franco y buscando mayor libertad creativa. El apartamento donde se instaló se lo alquiló la escritora Marguerite Duras. Durante estos años subsistió realizando pequeños trabajos como periodista para la revista "Fotogramas", e incluso colaboró como figurante en una película de James Bond.

Vila-Matas publicó su primer libro: "La asesina il
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“He believes that if talent is demanded of a literary publisher or a writer, it must also be demanded of a reader. Because we mustn’t deceive ourselves: on the journey of reading we often travel through difficult terrains that demand a capacity for intelligent emotion, a desire to understand the other, and to approach a language distinct from the one of our daily tyrannies… Writers fail readers, but it also happens the other way around and readers fail writers when all they ask of them is confirmation that the world is how they see it.” 11 likes
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