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Dublinesque (New Directions Paperbook) Paperback – June 27, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: New Directions Paperbook
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions (June 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780811219617
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811219617
  • ASIN: 0811219615
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 0.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #722,534 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Mr. Vila-Matas shows that the reasons for (and the consequences of) not writing fiction can, in a funny way, be almost as rich and complicated as fiction itself.” (The Economist)

“Perfect. Beautiful. Wistful. There is no hint of irony in these words of praise for Bartleby & Co.” (The Los Angeles Times)

“A touching account of facing down mortality with a passion and an obsession for literature.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“The accent of Vila-Matas's project falls on an accomplished romanticism conscious of its historicity, an artist-worship taken to maturity that concurrently absents and introduces itself into the work at every moment.” (Los Angeles Review of Books)

“Vila-Matas's wildly original novels are all investigations of whether or not originality in fiction is still possible; every nook and cranny of literary history is explored and interrogated, the margin of every great novel frantically scribbled in.” (Morten Høi Jensen - Dublin Review of Books)

“Dublinesque is a pleasure to read...hugely entertaining.” (The Irish Times)

“Enrique Vila-Matas is a great writer, and his new book Dublinesque is what great readers have been searching for. It is Vila-Matas' style of writing that distinguishes him as one of the best living authors today, and what makes Dublinesque a must read book.” (The Coffin Factory)

“[Dublinesque] is enjoyable for its madcap energy, and its ability to relish its own absurdity and make well-worn literary references feel new.” (Bookforum)

“The Spanish novelist is a master of that problematic enterprise of literature: the death-defying highwire act of telling the truth through lies, of invoking reality through fiction.” (The Millions)

“The novel is about the death of the author in more senses than one. Funerals make a kind of art out of death, and so does Dublinesque. ” (London Review Bookshop)

“One of the most pleasurable and joyous novels of the year.” (The Independent)

“Vila-Matas has brought home a fine specimen of that most endangered of intellectual species, the literary publisher.” (The Guardian)

“It is both shocking and gratifying for the reader. Dublinesque offers the reader layer upon layer of secrets that only she is privy to, and the effect (as it often is, when one is the sole owner of a secret) is thrilling.” (Full Stop)

About the Author

Enrique Vila-Matas was born in Barcelona in 1948. His novels have been translated into eleven languages and honored by many prestigious literary awards including the Prix Médicis Etranger. Author of Bartleby & Co., Montano’s Malady, and Never Any End to Paris, he has received Europe’s most prestigious awards and been translated into twenty-seven languages.

Rosalind Harvey is translator in residence at London's Free Word Centre. Her translation of Juan Villalobo's Down the Rabbit Hole was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award.

Anne McLean has won the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize twice, as well as the Premio Valle Inclán. She has translated the works of Javier Cercas, Julio Cortázar, Carmen Martín Gaite, Ignacio Padilla, and Evelio Rosero.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jesse on July 28, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Enrique Vila-Matas's funeral novel, Dublinesque, is bright, energetic, funny, impassioned, and so forth. It concerns itself with a number of things, like: the state of the publishing industry; the transition from the print age to the digital age; James Joyce; the Irish Sea; a Samuel Beckett look-a-like; death; aging; alcoholism; camraderie; male bonding; marriage; the Austers; and Dublin, of course. Among many other things. Dublinesque is a novel to be read for equal parts enjoyment and edification. It is a work of art by an exceptional storyteller, bibliophilic in content, eternal and wide-reaching in heart. If you are a literate human being between the ages of twelve and 112, I point you to Dublinesque for a very fine evening or two.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jill I. Shtulman TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 13, 2012
Format: Paperback
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 his reader. This is an ambitious book, on its surface about a retired and ailing Barcelona publisher named Samuel Riba, who decides to journey with three friends to Dublin during Bloomsday on June sixteenth, where he can retrace the path of James Joyce's Bloom (from Ulysses). While there, he wishes to say a requiem for the culture of the Gutenberg age (that has now morphed into the Google age) and at the same time, say a requiem for himself, a literary publisher very much in decline.

It helps to have at least a familiarity with Ulysses; Riba (and by extension, his creator) provide fascinating interpretative snippets as the book propels forward. It also helps to know Philip Larkin, who wrote the poem Dublinesque, about an old Dublin prostitute who, in her last hour, is accompanied by a few co-workers along city streets. And if the reader happens to know Samuel Beckett, Paul Auster, John Banville, David Cronenberg (cinema's last real director, according to Riba), William Yeats, and other artistic luminaries, so much the better.

There are many golden nuggets about the craft and purpose of writing (Riba kept striving to find a writer "truly able to dream in spite of the world: to structure the world in a different way. A great writer: at once anarchist and architect.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By G. Bodmer on September 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This newly translated post-modern novel from one of Spain's leading writers is compelling, well-written, and certainly a tour through the fiction of the last century, centering on Joyce's Ulysses, but bringing in Beckett, Borges, and a throng of contemporary fiction writers. Is fiction in print dead? The main character, a retired publisher, tries to hold a funeral for it on Bloomsday in Dublin, but gets caught up on the quirks and gifts of imagination (with maybe a bit of drinking). With an international, albeit Western, scope, this novel is a profound afterword on all the novels we've been reading for the past decades.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lloyd S. Thomas on March 20, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Since I don't read Spanish, I'm at the mercy of the English translator of Vila-Matas' novel. I'm a big, big fan of Joyce and Beckett, and I'm afraid the book's allusions to Ulysses and Beckett were the only thing that kept me going through this rather disappointing work, where, after a lot of desultory and portentous conversation, the protagonist and his friends decide to spend Bloomsday, June 16, in Dublin. One thing I did get out of the book is that I ordered --and enjoyed reading -- a hardbound copy of Brendan Behan in New York, to which Vila-Matas refers several times. I wish I could give it a better review.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Robert Rosen on August 30, 2012
Format: Paperback
Dublinesque is a novel I couldn't put 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 book-launch party called Bloomsday on Beaver Street.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 19, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Literary fiction of the highest order. That's true in two senses: it's a serious book, and it's actually about the rise of modernist fiction and the collapse of the serious publishing business. I found this book through a top 10 of 2012 review and tried it even though the author's work has not gotten a lot of US renown (most are still not transalted at all). My advice: translate and publish the rest.
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