Long summer days are waning here in Barcelona and to usher in the autumn of 2013, we have some tasty fiction to ease the transition. First up are two stories by Toby Litt, nominated by Granta in 2003 as one of the 20 “Best of Young British Novelists,” whose writing never fails to surprise and delight. What will happen when an attractive 22-year-old nanny from the Czech Republic begins working for Paddy and Agatha (characters from his novel Ghost Story)? Paddy and Veronika answers that question; while Kavita and Dr Mehrotra takes us to Mombai and into Kavita’s personal world which often clashes with her modern-day sensibilities.
Jodi Angel from the U.S. made a splash this year with her debut collection You Only Get Letters from Jail, which pulls you into a tough world of teenage boys, muscle cars, alcohol, and struggling adults. Catch the Grey Dog is a shining example of her talent.
Another fine collection from the States this year is Spectacle by Susan Steinberg. As in the haunting story Underthings, Steinberg’s narrators are troubled young women who tell their stories in a rhythmic, hypnotic prose, which leave images—often looped throughout—you won’t soon forget.
And last of all, a fun, short piece by Glen Pourciau (U.S.), Leak, a one-paragraph monologue, which is sure to make you say—I know someone like that! Because, yes, we all know someone like this guy.
Picks from back issues are two superb stories: Alicia Gifford’s Surviving Darwin and Emily Carter’s WLUV
The quiz this issue is our second on 21st Century literature: 21st Century Lit 2, this time very recent fiction, from 2011 onwards. All classics, nothing obscure. Have a go and you may win a 30-euro gift certificate from Amazon. Six correct responses to last issue’s quiz on 21st Century Lit 1: Names into a hat and the winner came out Aalooran Rahman Bora. Click here for the answers.
Local News: It has been a lazy, fairly non-eventful summer which saw many French, Russian and Saudi Arabian visitors. It was a surprise to see the high-end stores on Passeig de Gràcia suddenly filled with the stunningly beautiful faces of Saudi women draped in their exquisite black, bead-covered abayas with the traditional shayla head covering, sporting Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses while making the rounds in August.
The festival of “La Mercè” is now upon us as Barcelona celebrates its patron saint, the Virgin de la Mercè. The on-going fireworks rattle windows at night, but I never mind. Live music springs up all over the city and the Correfoc (fire run) on Laietana pits a parade of scary, firework-spewing devils and dragons, dancing to the drums of a traditional gralla, against those brave enough to swaddle their heads in protection and face them.
Of course, the most urgent question, as we slide into this new season, that which gives us sleepless nights, brings rousing speculation in the bars, and leaves us with a fevered brow and white knuckles: WHAT WILL BE THE FINALE OF BREAKING BAD?
Love and peace,