The Barcelona Review. International Review of Contemporary Fiction

As we upload Issue 99, we’re all focused on getting the jab and harboring in herd immunity. Spain may possibly usher in a “vaccine passport” sometime soon which will allow the border to begin to open up again. I hope we never see the crushing wave of tourists from before the virus, but just enough to revive struggling businesses, especially restaurants and bars/cafes.  I look forward to returning to Barcelona from my long lockdown in the U.S. and parting with some hard-earned cash at all the local haunts, which I hope are well stocked with Estrella Galicia.

Important to note that this April 23rd, the day of Sant Jordi (Catalonia’s, as well as the UK's, patron saint) and World Book Day, marks The Barcelona Review’s 24th anniversary. We began in 1997 when there were hardly any literary reviews online (Web del Sol slid in just before us), and Google was not yet available. Such rough terrain it was to navigate!  Kudos to our tech whiz, Michael Garry Smout, whose layout, design and images have graced the pages since day one.

TBR’s offerings this issue begin with an American icon: Walter Mosley. If you like urban crime, then you have probably already read his Easy Rawlins novels.  But Mosley is also an extraordinary short-story writer. In Otis, we follow a young Black boy, Crash, who doesn’t think like other people—until in a chance encounter he meets Otis. I love the freshness and unpredictability of this story which leads to an ending of pure satisfaction.

Next up, is Denise S. Robbin’s That One Night.  Here we follow a tormented young man on a camping trip, who is accompanied by an old geezer who serves as a reflection of sorts of the younger man’s mental state.  But just how reliable is our narrator?  The sharp prose pops off the page.

And from Katherine Vaz comes The Gray Elephant From Denmark, a delightful epistolary tale of adults looking back at their youthful fascination with the secrets of Sóror Maria Lúcia of the Discalced Carmelites and recounting where that led them. Charming in the very best sense of the word.

We’re also pleased to have Going Back to Ghana, Mm-Hmm, a personal essay by Dona E. Bowens, in which she tells of a rollicking trip she took to Paris with her ride-or-die travel partner, “the coolest sista I have ever met.” Full of good humor, it also comes with a pleasant revelation.  
In our picks from back issues we have WLUV by Emily Carter (issue 37), and Naked With Boys (issue 41) by G. K. Wuori.  Two superb stories.

Our quiz this issue is Contemporary Black LBGTQ Writers. Test your knowledge and you’re in the running to win a 30-euro gift certificate from Amazon. For answers to last issue’s quiz, Literature of Contemporary Black Crime Writers, click here. We had several correct answers; the name drawn was Laura Hird from Scotland.

Our book review this issue is on Walter Mosley’s Blood Grove, his latest Easy Rawlins novel. Highly recommended.

Our next issue is due out in August 2021. 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.

Jill Adams

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