Samuel Riba, but known to everyone as Riba, is a retired publisher. Apart from age, there have been two reasons for his retirement. The first is that he feels that the quality of both authors and readers has dropped. He is particularly critical of what he calls the gothic style, which leads to passive readers. The second and, perhaps, main reason for his retirement is his health. Like many a good publisher, he had been an alcoholic.
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It is about a retired publisher, Samuel Riba, a former alcoholic, the alcoholism being one of the reasons for his retirement, who prided himself on publishing quality contemporary fiction in Spanish, with a fiction list which seems to match the taste of Vila-Matas.
He is adapting badly to retirement. He spends far too much time browsing the Internet and chatting on the phone to friends. He goes to occasional conferences but feels removed from the publishing world.
As the title tells us, he becomes interested in Dublin, though he has normally shied away from English-speaking countries, as he does not speak English, though does have a fascination for New York. Ther Dublin fascination is prompted by a dream he has of visiting a Dublin pub called the Coxwold, which turns out not to exist.
The title of this book comes not from Joyce, but from Philip Larkin though the Larkin poem equates with Chapter 6 of Ulysses , as both concern a funeral in Dublin. He decides to organise a trip to Dublin on Bloomsday , with the ostenible purpose of having a funeral for the Gutenberg era, which has been replaced by the digital era.
He invites three friends — two former drinking companions, one an expert on Irish literature, and Nietsky, the one writer he thought he had discovered who would be great. While I certainly enjoyed this book, I did not find it as enjoyable as some of this others, not least because of the disjointed ramblings of Riba, which, at times, seemed to be going all over the place. Your email address will not be published. The title of this book comes not from Joyce, but from Philip Larkin though the Larkin poem equates with Chapter 6 of Ulysses , as both concern a funeral in Dublin He decides to organise a trip to Dublin on Bloomsday , with the ostenible purpose of having a funeral for the Gutenberg era, which has been replaced by the digital era.
The Modern Novel
An Injection of Humility, by Vila-Matas. Los Angeles Review of Books. MAY 19, I remember that December 25th very well. Me with a scarf inside the house, listening to my mother say that for a city like Barcelona, so abandoned by the hand of God, it was a blessing that, even if it was only the once, He should have remembered us and brought us snow on the most appropriate day, Christmas Day, with divine punctuality.
Dublinesque by Enrique Vila-Matas - review
T here is a kind of literary fiction that feeds on itself, like an introverted cannibal. In this self-reflective area of fiction, Vila-Matas has a province of his own. We are now down to the last shreds of literature and can wonder, once the last bone has been gnawed, what Vila-Matas will write about. Fortunately, the days of famine are not yet here, and from his latest raid into the literary jungle Vila-Matas has brought home a fine specimen of that most endangered of intellectual species, the literary publisher. In Dublinesque , superbly translated by Rosalind Harvel and Anne McLean, Samuel Riba, a year-old Catalan alcoholic publisher and bibliophile, heeding the apocalyptic voices that trumpet the imminent end of the book in our digital dark age, decides to travel to Dublin with a group of friends and hold there, on Bloomsday, a funeral for the book.
Enrique Vila-Matas: Dublinesca (Dublinesque)