The Barcelona Review. International Review of Contemporary Fiction


15 years

Issue 75    15th Anniversary Issue

This day, April 23, 2012, marks the 15th anniversary of The Barcelona Review (with our test sites actually going up in 1996).  It is especially nice when one’s anniversary coincides with this date as it is also World Book Day. In addition, the patron saint of Catalunya (and England) is Sant Jordi (Saint George) and the 23rd marks his saint’s day. (It is also, in 1616, the day both Cervantes and Shakespeare shed their mortal coil.) Here in Barcelona, the city explodes with book stalls and rose stands as lovers young and old exchange books and roses. (See photos from back in 2000, which capture it exactly and could be from any year.)    

Of course we chose this date deliberately to officially kick off the review.  Google didn’t exist back then; it was all wild and woolly, and nothing about putting up an online review, especially with agonizingly slow phone connections, was easy. Only a very few literary sites even existed.  Now, each month seems to bring something new and exciting, and literary blogs abound, often with the boundaries blurred between mag and blog, or combined such as on our Spanish site.  It has been a special pleasure for me to see so many of our new and emerging writers back in the 90s and the early part of this century go on to make it big while also watching known writers in our review continue to grow in strength. (Exciting debut novels by Marcy Dermansky, Adam Haslett and Donald Ray Pollock are 3 of the more recent successes.) This issue offers a diverse array of talent. If some of the names are unfamiliar, they probably won’t be for long.

I Said One is an English translation from French writer, Claire Castillon (winner of the Grand Prix Thyde Monnier 2004 for Vous parler d'elle; and the highly acclaimed Insecte / My Mother Never Dies, 2009).  It shows, in the narrator’s unflinching candor and dry delivery, how a woman with a lack of maternal instinct deals with her situation.

From Ireland, Colm Berrills Chair reads like a modern day tale in the fun and slightly raunchy tradition of Chaucer.  You can listen to the story as well, read by Colm Cross.

Two emerging writers from the U.S.: For a sophisticated narrative voice taking us to transgressive realms of haute couture, we have PD Mallamo’s Floyd-Eyes; while Tracy Gonzalez pulls us to the other end of the spectrum in the voice of a poor girl from a troubled home with a curious ‘nutjob’ for a father. Two dazzling voices from two talented new writers.

Lastly, translated from Spanish, is The Family, a piece of haunting, dreamlike flash fiction from Cuban writer Raúl Ortega Alfonso, who is now a naturalized citizen of Mexico.

In our picks from back issues, we offer up a divine bit of grit-lit in the story Pills by Donald Ray Pollock, whose novel, The Devil All the Time (see review), is due out in paperback this July in the U.S. and already available in the U.K. And for some fun and low-down bawdy humor: Coming of Age by Welsh writer Niall Griffiths.

Two winners for our quiz on Lit Crit 101 – John Stone and Jim Miele.  Congrats to both on knowing their Northrop from their Leavis.  Click here for the answers.  And congrats, also, to Niranjana Iyer, winner of  the Anglo-Asian Literature quiz. Answers here.  Our quiz this issue is on Patricia Highsmith, author of those luscious Ripley novels.

Local News:  Austerity cuts.  Austerity cuts. Austerity cuts. Protests and marches.  And still, the Spanish know how to enjoy life and a good bottle of affordable wine in the meantime. I hear buskers playing in the plaza in front of my building and happy voices from the café tables.  People are angered at the politics and vocal about it, but all is  holding for now. In other news, King Juan Carlos fell into disgrace when it was discovered after an accident (a bad fall requiring hip surgery) that he was on a hush-hush, all-expenses paid hunting trip at an exclusive safari camp in Botswana, blasting away at elephants, water buffaloes, and other exotic animals.  A Syrian businessman close to the Saudi royal family was said to be picking up the tab.  Hardly the kind of thing Spaniards want to hear during a time of deep economic crisis, having been told by the king, “We all have to tighten our belts.”  But no one has forgotten the important role Juan Carlos played during the transition to democracy at the time of Franco’s death nor his role in quashing a 1981 coup, so after giving him a tongue lashing and hearing his apology, Spain seems to be forgiving of his misjudgment. Oh, and that mistress that was with him on the safari—no one much bothered by that and hardly news anyway.  

Our next issue is due out in mid-July.  To be notified when new issues are available, just ‘LIKE’ The Barcelona Review on Facebook (for the Spanish, LIKE Barcelona Review without the THE); or email us to subscribe (gratis, of course), though often our bulk email is blocked from servers so we cannot guarantee a notification.

Until then, we hope you enjoy our new line-up. 

All the best from Barcelona,

Jill Adams

Barcelona Review is a registered non-profit organization


español | català | français | book reviews | TBR archives | submission info | TBR info | links |

©2008 The Barcelona Review