In the midst of a period of personal and literary transformation, the narrator of this novel begins to observe signs on the doors and in the adjoining rooms, symbols which communicate Paris with Cascais, Montevideo, Reykjavik, Saint-Gall and Bogota, and which stealthily bring him back to writing, to the desire to transform into sheets of life certain experiences which, at the very least, are just waiting to be told.
“Lately, you’ve become a writer who really does have things happening. I hope you understand that your destiny is that of a man who should want to rise, to be reborn, to be again. I repeat: rise. hands is your destiny, the key to the new door.”
Halfway between fiction and reality, the Barcelona writer Enrique Vila-Matas (“Dublinesque”, “Bartleby and Co”) returns with “Montevideo”, an autofiction novel that deals with the ambiguity of the world as a characteristic feature From our era.
According to the author in a recent interview with La Vanguardia, the story of this novel dates back twenty years, when an Argentinian writer friend told him that Bioy Casares and Julio Cortázar had each written a very similar story. In both cases, the protagonist takes the ferry from Buenos Aires to Montevideo and stays at Hotel Cervantes and hears things through the bedroom door. In Casares’ story, the protagonist hears a couple having sex. In Cortázar, the cry of a child.
Vila-Matas became obsessed with knowing this hotel in Montevideo, where the two Latin American writers mixed reality and fiction, and this is the origin of this novel with accents of detective novel and horror.
From the hotel room, Vila-Matas becomes a diary, as he begins to observe the signs that communicate him with Paris, Reykjavik, Bogota and even Montevideo. The whole leads him irrepressibly to rebuke writing, which he had abandoned. “I wanted to try to discover the usual. If reality and fiction are the same, or almost,” Vila-Matas said during the presentation of his novel in Barcelona.
Born in 1948 in Barcelona, Vila-Matas is one of the most internationally acclaimed Spanish authors and many of his novels have been translated into English and are available on the American market. Among them are Bartleby y compañía (Bartleby And Company), El mal de Montano (Montano’s Malady), París no se acaba nunca (Never Any End to Paris), Dublinesca (Dublinesque) or ‘La Modestia’ (‘Vampire in Love’) .
He has received, among others, the Rómulo Gallegos, Médicis and FIL prizes for literature in Romance languages, is a Knight of the French Legion of Honor, belongs to the convulsive Order of the Knights of Finnegans and is a prominent member of the Society Refractory to General Imbecility (based in Nantes).