The Barcelona Review. International Review of Contemporary Fiction

sandcastles in Barcelona? I don't think so!!!

It’s a glorious high summer in Barcelona as we go online with issue 76.  To kick off we have Alan Heathcock’s Volt, set in back country, featuring a female sheriff who must confront a rough family who “ain’t right.”  In a strong, straightforward prose with poetic riffs bringing to mind Cormac McCarthy and Pinckney Benedict, Heathcock lays bare his characters, with all their faults, and manages to evoke a keen compassion in the process.

Seth Fried’s The Frenchman has you laughing as a man looks back at his 7th grade experience in a junior high school play (not quite like any other), and then seamlessly takes a wee turn which, although gentle, leaves you feeling awesomely sucker punched.

Have you ever seen Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1975 classic film, The Passenger, set partly in Barcelona, starring Jack Nicholson and Maria Schneider?  It may enhance your reading pleasure of Tom Gething’s Sabotage if you have, but is by no means necessary.  Have fun learning about a bit of behind-the-scenes intrigue that went on during the making of the film.

Next up is Julienne Busic’s The Chipmunk, set in a women’s prison and showing what its inmates cling to in order to survive. She should know; she did 13 years behind bars herself.  The Guardian has recommended her memoir, Lovers and Madmen, as summer reading if you’re heading to Croatia, but it’s a powerful read even if you’re nowhere near.

Last of all, two short shorts, Sky and Graceland, from the inimitable Steve Aylett. We offer a tiny taste here, but if you haven’t read his novels, you are missing one of the most creative minds penning fiction today. Part stand-up schtick (think Steven Wright), part looney-toon, and wholly no-holds-barred absurdist noir with a cyber twist, Aylett pushes the bounds of prose to an entirely different dimension.  See TBR’s book review of Atom - which links you to an extract of the first chapter.  And look for a review in our next issue of his latest Beerlight novel, Novahead.

In our picks from back issues, we offer up Scottish writer Michel Faber’s Some Rain Must Fall, which is exactly what it’s doing in the U.K. this summer, although this disturbing story is looking at something else altogether, deep and dark; and for another story from Scotland, don’t miss Laura Hird’s Of Cats and Women , which has proved disturbing to cat lovers although I’m a cat lover myself and I only want to laugh every time I read it.

The book review this issue is on Scottish writer Alan Warners newly released The Deadman’s Pedal, which I wholeheartedly recommend.  Apart from telling a good story, the exquisite prose will leave you in awe of his talent. If his name is new to you in the States and elsewhere outside Europe, you won’t want to miss Morvern Callar and The Sopranos.

The winner of our Patricia Highsmith quiz is Hadley Thomson from Bristol, England. Answers here.  Our quiz this issue is Basic Bradbury, in honor of the late, great Ray Bradbury.

Local News: As before: Austerity cuts. Austerity cuts. Austerity cuts. Protests and marches. And oh yes, the Eurozone finance ministers just approved the terms of a bailout for Spanish banks, unanimously agreeing to provide up to €100 billion in financial assistance for Spain. For which, there will be further austerity cuts and a hike in taxes.  But everyone was briefly distracted by the Spanish football team’s historic third successive major international trophy with a 4-0 rout of Italy in the Euro 2012 final in Kiev.  And the king has not shot any more elephants nor have aliens invaded or jihadists blown anything up, so that is the good news along with the fact that the Rioja still flows and the sun still shines.  
Our next issue is due out in late September.  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

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

©2008 The Barcelona Review