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Never Any End to Paris Paperback – May 24, 2011
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“Vila-Matas’s touch is light and whimsical, while his allusions encompass a rogue’s gallery of world literature.” (Time Out New York)
“I’m reading Vila-Matas’s book like a novel, a very good novel in which the narrator gives us exhaustive information about the protagonist who happens to be himself. I don’t know him personally, nor am I planning to meet him, I prefer to read him and let his literature pervade me.” (Pedro Almodóvar)
About the Author
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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Top Customer Reviews
Enrique Vila-Matas is one of those writers you have to know; to know him start with this novel. Sparkling with odd coincidences, layered remembrances, and referential passages, the book spins a tale with a sort of grounded uncanniness. It is simultaneously an homage to Hemingway and other writers, a remembrance of things passed and past, and a conference speech in progress. The author describes his days living in a Paris garrett and working on a book titled The Lettered Assassin, which must refer to Vila-Matas' book in Spanish titled La asesina ilustrade from 1977, that he hopes will cause the death of each reader as soon as the last page is reached. In fact once the book is written it's sort of the death of Paris because the writer moves back to Barcelona.Read more ›
The text presents itself as a memoir of artistic youth in 1970s Paris, delivered as an academic lecture on irony many years after the fact. In short, not a typical bildingsroman by any means, although the young and somewhat naive protagonist is clearly a version of Vila-Matas himself: on hiatius from a legal career in Barcelona, living in a bohemian garret run by Marguerite Duras, and working on a first novel called "The Lettered Assassin," which centers around a fictional text that will kill its readers.
"I suspected that by killing off my readers, I was never going to find anyone who would love me," the narrator comments at one point, and this is typical of the way Vila-Matas undercuts his younger self. At the same time, the novel genuinely evokes the ardor, mortification, and occasional joy of being a young writer in a greatness-haunted city: Perec, Burroughs, Beckett, and Barthes all have cameos here. In some ways this book is about the older, deskbound writer forging an ironic distance from his unruly young self. But traces of that early passion remain and nothing escapes scrutiny, not even irony.Read more ›
For those like me who had only read "Bartleby & Co" by Vila-Matas previously and enjoyed it, let me say that you will be quite pleased. As pleased as you will also be by diving into Rubem Fonseca and Luis Fernando Verissimo, to name a few.
For those who are only interested because Roberto Bolano said you should be, do not expect this to be Bolano-esque. "2666" was a beast in its own right; however, the shorter fiction of Vila-Matas is arguably as strong as that of Bolano.
Which is the most interesting one.
There are so many story and so many characters in this novel. Most of them are base on the true history.
Which makes feels a little confuse its a function or not. Any way, it's fun to read , also , I have learn lots of things in this novel. Just not sure it's realistic or just imagination.
What I find the most interesting about this book is how Vila-Matas (or the narrator) comes to like the idea of originality: through his liking of the literature of Georges Perec, through the eccentricities of his friend and tutor Marguerite Duras, or through discrete geniuses who live in the margins of society (for example, a transvestite named Vicky Vaporú who ends up being probably the only sane person in the book.)
Never Any End to Paris belongs to that literary genre of books that endlessly reference other books and authors. Metafiction, you would call it. Vila-Matas, I believe, takes the genre to another level. While constantly referencing Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, he creates a book of his own (Hemingway's sad Parisian years become Vila-Matas' happy years) and makes a confession about the uselessness of literary creation in a world that has lost its moral and metaphysical values.
Make no mistake. Vila-Matas is one of the best writers/essayists (whatever you want to call it) writing in the Spanish language today.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Name-dropping, witty narrator; fun read if you love Paris and French thought.Published 7 months ago by km
Ordered this book after reading Bartleby & Co. Never Any End to Paris has some of the same themes. Bittersweet in spots but Via-Matas brings a unique perspective to writing and... Read morePublished on August 16, 2013 by Shirley Musich