September 19, 2020

A year of books against the established | Culture


When everything is in question, from democracy to the current wasteful way of life or inequality between men and women, literature also questions it. Hence, the fiction and nonfiction of these new and maybe not so happy 20s wonder how they got here and how they should go their way. The novel takes autofiction courses increasingly aware. Women writers claim their voice, and analyzes of the beginning of the end proliferate, the climate crisis and the new and hyperconnected consumer society. Here is a review of the most interesting literary news of the year that begins.

Feminist demonstration in Madrid on March 8, 2019.


Feminist demonstration in Madrid on March 8, 2019.

Extension of the battlefield. The uncovering decade passed, the reflection came. As Loola Pérez says in the impending Damn feminist (Seix Barral), we have got feminism everywhere, but at what price? His essay, critical of the scope of the movement, which politics and brands use opportunistically, invites us to rethink what is intended and where we are. In the same line points the controversial Three women, by Lisa Taddeo (Principal of the Books), who follows three women for eight years and confronts them with their desire in relationships. To the reflection, which also makes the Mexican Alma Guillermoprieto in Could it be that I am a feminist?, in Random House Literature (LRH), the deepening inequality that studies such as The invisible woman, from Caroline Criado Pérez (Seix Barral), in which he demonstrates how data shapes a world by and for men. In that universe, the literary strives to restore order, with initiatives such as Seix Barral’s, which he plans to publish during the first months of 2020 works by George Sand (Indiana) and Rafael Luna (Sunset and dawn) as they should have been published at the time, that is, signed by the women who wrote them: Amantine Aurore Dupin and Matilde Cherner. Ursula K. Le Guin get your voice back on Conversations about writing (Alpha Decay) and just under a decade after almost unleashing neofeminism, Caitlin Moran counterattacks with How to be famous (Anagram). The limits of motherhood are redrawn by Eva Baltasar in the highly anticipated second installment of the trilogy that began with Permafrost, Boulder (LRH). Maryse Condé also talks about her motherhood in Life without makeup (Impediment). Emilie Pine takes the witness from Sally Rooney as far as Irish revelation is concerned with All i can’t say (LRH) and Margaret Atwood gives voice to Penelope de Homero in Penelope and the twelve maids (Salamander).

The flagship But if there is an editorial that has contributed, since its re-foundation in 1960, to the normalization of what was edited and written by women is Lumen, which this year celebrates six decades. Under the baton of Maria Fasce, the editor who discovered Lucia Berlin for the Spanish public, faces her anniversary with a look at the past, the memoir from its founder, Esther Tusquets, Confessions of a little liar editor, and an inevitable exploration of the present in a year that will stop at the last (and posthumous) of Toni Morrison, The source of self-esteem, the unpublished stories of Marcel Proust and María Kodama and the next of the mysterious Elena Ferrante. His ephemeris rules in 2020 in which the anniversary distinguishes Benito Pérez Galdós – 100 years after his death – Emil Cioran – who passed away 25 – and Miguel Delibes – in the centenary of his birth. Tusquets inaugurates with its Notebooks 1957-1972 a Cioran library, while Nordic edits the illustrated Delibes by bicycle, by Jesús Marchamalo and Antonio Santos.

Square autofiction. The non fiction novel, that genre that reinvented Truman Capote, has adopted, at the beginning of this 21st century and especially at the beginning of this decade that we premiered, tired of fake news and not true stories, the shape of a true story personnel who face the past in order to get rid of a burden. In part, it is the culture of hater virtual what’s behind the first non-fiction book by Bret Easton Ellis, the highly anticipated and autobiographical White (LRH), an essay essay in which the author of American Pyscho face until the last controversy in which he has been immersed, to purify his image. If yours is a reconstructive autofiction, those of Ricardo Menéndez Salmón (Do not enter meekly on that quiet night) and Galder Reguera (Family Book) They intend to act as a filial paternal compass. And that of David Sedaris? Just warn that things are sometimes not as expected. Calypso, his first book in Blackie Books, is what they could have been and were not the perfect vacation. And as in the world after Twitter there are no middle terms, the Vietnamese Ocean Vuongse disassembles (literally and literaryly) in his first novel, the confessional On Earth we are fleetingly great (Anagram).

The explosive family chemistry. Perhaps the lack of anchorage in this drifting world causes the issue to cling to the family, however destructive it may be. Not surprisingly, in 2020 the unique match is recovered Desperate characters by Paula Fox (Sixth Floor), and Jane Smiley, the author of The age of grief, continue to delve into what children do with parents in Any love (Sixth floor).

Along the same lines, but adding some religious fanaticism, notes the new Nickolas Butler, A bit of faith (Books of the Asteroid), and the recovery of the enormous What happened to the Mulvaney, from Joyce Carol Oates (Lumen) Dennis Lehane faces two families again, this time, in the Boston of the end of World War I, in Any other day (Salamander), and the great Antonio Manzini invents a family of lies to the hilarious inspector Rocco Schiavone in Dust and shadow (also in Salamandra). Hernán Migoya revisits, in his return to the narrative, his family history in Barycentre (Reservoir Books), Keith Gessen approaches what the family did to you in the Soviet Union in A terrible country (Gutenberg galaxy) and Bernardo Atxaga he does the same, during the last years of Franco in the Basque Country, in Houses and graves (Alfaguara).

Fable (or not) against the end of the world. From the couple’s watchtower, surrendering to an idea of ​​literature understood as a refuge from the real, Alejandro Zambra explores the formation and disenchantment of the creator in Chilean poet (Anagram). Other watchtowers safe from whatever happens in the world are the ones that draw Mircea Cartarescu in its The body: Blinding, 2(Impedimentation); Salman Rushdie, in his peculiar Quixote of the 21st century (Seix Barral), in love with a television star and with an imaginary son named Sancho; a Jon Bilbao delivered to the wéstern in the stories of Basilisk (Impedimenta), and a Juan Pablo Villalobos conspiranoico, the one of The invasion of the spirit people (Anagram). But if something worries about this new principle, it is the epilogue, and hence, perhaps, that Martín Caparrós imagines death as an intolerable failure that must end in the dystopian Endless (LRH), or that Frédéric Beigbeder is launched, from the trial, to make immortality possible in A life without end (Anagram). More sarcastic with his own ending (that of an Englishman within Europe) shows Ian McEwan in The cucarache has (Anagrama), a review of the Kafka classic in which a cockroach transforms, overnight, into the British prime minister. And apocalyptic since his peasant retirement, Wendell Berry anticipates The fire of the end of the world (Errata Naturae).

Free verse. In the poetic, the first shot comes in the voice of a pulitzer, the fierce Anne Sexton. It joins the reborn portable poetry initiative that Random House Literature has been carrying out since 2019. Other names of the 20th century for this second decade of the 21st? Geoffrey Hill, the most ambitious English poet of the second half of the last century, which is presented Poetry gathered (Lumen), and the titanic Edna St. Vincent Millay, whose overwhelming personality, they say, invented a new way of being a woman. Of her, also in Lumen, a Definitive poetic anthology. It is not an anthology, but it is a poetic literary event that arrives, at the beginning of this 2020, the second installment of Cervantes’s memoirs Antonio Gamoneda. Under the title Poverty (Galaxia Gutenberg), builds at the same time a portrait of the old artist and a period chronicle that gives continuity to the devastating and vibrant A closet full of shadow. Finally, the verse chapter is closed by the only unpublished poems of Wislawa Szymborska, Black song, that will see the light in Nordic.

Another new beginning (graphic). Finally, Alpha Decay adds this year to the already huge number of publishers who bet on the graphic with a comic collection simply called Alpha Comic, which will open Devastation, by Julia Gfrörer, a medieval apocalypse. His work will compete with the new, autobiographical and dazzling of Adrian Tomine, The loneliness of the long distance cartoonist (Sapristi), and with at least another pair of jewels: My hundred demons, of the classic still to be discovered Lynda Barry (Reservoir Books) and the huge (in every way) Cassandra Darke, by Posy Simmonds (Salamandra Graphic), or how can a very rich art dealer end up being misunderstood.

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