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The Boys Paperback – November 10, 2015
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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An IndieBound Indie Next List selection for December 2015
"Toni Sala's short novel begins as a meditation on death, morphs into an interrogation of contemporary bankruptcies, and culminates in one the most profound and disturbing artistic visions ever written. This book stunned me in a way that I will recover from as a different person than I was when I picked it up." Elise Blackwell, author of Hunger and The Lower Quarter
"Translation-savvy readers might hear a little Rodoreda and Monzó in Sala’s prose, but the most significant comparison could be to Bolaño’s more Iberian-inflected worklight-footed, death-haunted sentences that tumble along at the shuddering speed of a car crash." BOMB magazine
"The Boys is a stark tale of confused people trapped in a wrinkle in time, rendered with painful sensitivity and gut-wrenching bleakness. No surprise that Toni Sala has been praised as one of Catalan’s most important writers." Counterpunch
"A compelling existential mystery . . . a sort of Catalan answer to Russell Banks' The Sweet Hereafter, with a closing as haunting as a tale by Poe. Altogether brilliant." Kirkus, starred review
"Sala is a master of meditation, and the excitement and intrigue are never sacrificed despite digressive passages on Internet alienation, art, violence, phrases of grief, the Spanish recession, and love. One hopes this tremendous novel, already an award-winner overseas, will receive the attention it deserves here." Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Beautifully composed, The Boys (winner of Catalonia's highest literary award) heralds a stirring, unique new voice in English translation. Sala's novel, set in an age of increasing detachment and anxiety, espies unflinchingly the tenuous connections and moral ambiguities of modern life. With vivid characters, confident prose, and a heady mix of style and substance, The Boys deserves major attention from devotees of international literature (and especially fans of António Lobo Antunes, Javier Marías, Gonçalo Tavares, and Roberto Bolaño)." Jeremy Garber, Powell's Books
Toni Sala creates an exercise in style that meditates on our most primal identity.” Time Out Barcelona
The Boys confirmed that what I believe to be literature is still possible. . . . A masterpiece.” Ara
The best he’s ever written: powerful prose packed with emotion and reflection and striking images.” El Punt Avui
During the last 15 years, Catalan literature has produced few voices of such strength.” La Vanguardia
A great novel that reflects the world we live in.” Catorze
About the Author
Mara Faye Lethem’s translations have appeared in The Best American Non-Required Reading, Granta, The Paris Review, Words Without Borders, and McSweeney’s. She is the translator of Papers in the Wind by Eduardo Sacheri, Wonderful World by Javier Calvo, and others. She lives in Barcelona.
Top customer reviews
Unfolding in the wake of a car accident that kills two brothers, the titular "Boys", this novel tells the story of a small-town tragedy in Catalonia through the eyes of four characters: A banker from a neighboring town, a cracked trucker, a young veterinary student who is engaged to one of the dead brothers, and an artist whose disturbing fixation with death will bring him to the brink. They face the accident, and the mortality it flings in their faces, in their own ways, and in the process their stories interlink.
Sala's prose spirals, doubles back, feints, makes tactical retreats, but he is always gaining momentum. Actually, hurtling toward the abyss. The set-piece of this novel, a few pages where Sala explodes the boys' final moments—precisely, the final half-second, and all it contains before the victims' car slams into a tree—is terrifying, frantic, awe-inspiring prose. Mara Faye Lethem's translation here, and throughout, is a stunning accomplishment.