- Paperback: 197 pages
- Publisher: New Directions; 1 edition (May 24, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0811218139
- ISBN-13: 978-0811218139
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,113,904 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Never Any End to Paris 1st Edition
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“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
“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
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.
Top customer reviews
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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.
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. This is also a book about authors the writer met or did not meet and about what it means to be a young writer possessing questions, energy, and hope in about equal proportion as told by the older writer now filled with irony.
Like A Moveable Feast, worked on by Hemingway late in life and published only after his death, the story is that of a well-read author taking a backward look. Vila-Matas however loves to toss in his own brand of referential game. For example, the young writer is invited to hear the famous author Georges Perec at a secret event. He shows up, gives the password, and watches an imposter (he'd already met Perec and so he knew what he looked like) relate a story about a scrivener who sits behind a folding screen refusing to do anything. The author leaves stating, "I didn't understand a thing." In a novel such a statement is always a sort of Nabokovian tip off. The scrivener story is the Herman Melville short story Bartleby the Scrivener who when asked to do his job always replies, "I would prefer not to." But it spins deeper. Vila-Matas' first book to be published in English was Bartleby & Co., a novel about writers who stop writing, often for years, which poses the question: can not-writing be as artistic and as productive as writing? What if a writer simple prefers not to write? Vila-Matas style is similar to that of Javier Marias or Roberto Bolano meaning expect less plot and more literary fun. Here one reads to jump into the maze, to get lost the winding streets of a remembered Left Bank, Hemingway territory. Vila-Matas is a significant and exceptional writer who thankfully, for those of use who do not speak Spanish, is now being published in English. This is novel two in English; another is projected to come out this fall, then we can hopefully look forward to the remaining eighteen. Willard is also a reviewer for BookPleasures.
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.
The book is beautifully built, beginning with a disqualification from a Hemingway lookalike contest and ending with an anecdote about Marguerite Duras and an unpaid electric bill that sums up everything Vila-Matas's work is about. This is maybe his most pleasurable book, and certainly a welcoming entry point to a body of work that deserves much wider recognition in this country.