The Barcelona Review. International Review of Contemporary Fiction

Barcelona World Book Day. Sant Jordi. April 23

Hey, hey, it’s The Barcelona Review’s 16th anniversary! As I like to point out, we began so far back that Google didn’t even exist; you had to use AltaVista or DogPile or some other dodgy search engine, and there were hardly any literary reviews on the Net.  I only remember WebdelSol in the US and The Richmond Review in England.  It was wild territory back then.  We jumped in with three separate reviews every issue—one in English, one in Spanish, and the other in Catalan.  All 3 are still going. WebdelSol  did an interview with us, which pretty well states our history and objectives. (And Spanish editor Ernesto Escobar spoke of the same on a local TV show, La Malla tendències). We went after the best short fiction writers we could find—well-known authors such as Irvine Welsh, George Saunders, A.M. Homes, Michel Faber, Helen Simpson, Kate Atkinson, Nicholas Royle and Niall Griffiths, among many others; as well as emerging writers like Marcy Dermansky, Rachel Resnick, and Jim Ruland, who have gone on to make names for themselves. 

In the tradition of presenting the best writing out there, we’re pleased to kick off our anniversary issue with  The Assault by Hanif Kureishi (The Buddha of Suburbia, The Black Album; screenwriter of My Beautiful Laundrette).  Have you ever been cornered by a talker and just couldn’t get away?  Sure, we all have, and it can feel like an assault. Kureishi’s short but potent piece takes you smack into the heart of just such an encounter.  
I’m the Guy Who Wrote The Wild Bunch by Julian Gough (Juno & Juliet and Jude) gives us the inside story of the making of Peckinpah’s classic.  Honestly, you have NO IDEA; while Simon Rich (ex-staff writer at Saturday Night Live, currently writing for Pixar; author of The Last Girlfriend on Earth), uses prison as a metaphor for men in full-time relationships with women in Scared Straight. (Yes, we women have plenty to say, too, but here we leave it to Rich.)

Emerging British writer James Matthews, who put in four years in the British army  and later turned to writing which took him to Iraq and Afghanistan, capitalizes on that experience in Riding Shotgun, which follows a journalist who finds himself a surprise when he infiltrates a mercenary outfit in Iraq. 

Scottish writer Dan Rhodes (Timoleon Vieta Come Home; Little White Car), named by Granta magazine as one of twenty 'Best of Young British Novelists,' recently wrote 80-odd, short-shorts related to marriage. Here are three; have fun:  News, Attributes, and Dress.

Lastly, a translation by Zoë O'Huiginn of Ecuadorian writer Solange Rodríguez Pappe’s Self-Diagnosis.  Author of 4 short-story collections as well as appearing in numerous renowned Hispanic anthologies, this is the first translation of her work into English.

Picks from back issues are two by George Saunders, who recently released his third short-story collection Tenth of December, reviewed in this issue.  From our archives, see Sea Oak, issue 20 (2000);  and from issue 60 (2007), Manifesto: A Press Release from PRKA

The quiz this issue is our second on 21st Century Lit, this time very recent fiction, from 2007 onwards.  All classics, nothing obscure.  Have a go and you may win a 30-euro gift certificate from Amazon.  Three correct responses to last issue’s quiz on Ian McEwan:  Liam Rodger, Jessica Sequeira, and Mireia Triguero. Names into a hat and the winner came out Liam Rodger. Click here for the answers.  

Local News:  austerity/ protests, austerity/protest; government corruption on all levels—I may as well just cut and paste for awhile.  But!  The summer is coming, the wine flows, the outdoor cafes are full; aliens have not yet invaded, jihadists have not won their war, the sky hasn’t fallen, and Lars von Trier has a wickedly decadent new film coming out in May.

Peace and love,


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