Dublinesca, by Enrique Vila-Matas, is not by any means a novel about emigrants, although the protagonist falls under the spell of all things Irish or more precisely English in the widest sense of the word, in what effectively constitutes the adoption of a new culture and decides to go to Dublin and there enact a funeral for the age of print, the Gutenberg era, which he understands is in its death throes. Samuel Riba is a prestigious and recently retired editor, perhaps the last of the cultivated representatives of his trade, who wants to mourn the disappearance of the literary novel, eclipsed as it is by the emergence of Neo-Gothic artifacts and best-sellers. Choosing James Joyce's Ulysses as the pinnacle of glory of a fading epoch, Riba consequently decides to carry out the funeral rites in the capital of Ireland on 16 June, Bloomsday. There are personal reasons for running away from Spain. Since he stopped drinking two years before, when he had been taken to hospital suffering from a physical breakdown that almost killed him, he has become a grumpy old man and everything makes him angry. He is almost sixty, has no children, and lives in Barcelona with Celia, his wife, who has threatened to leave him if he returns to the bottle.

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Enrique Vila-Matas was born in Barcelona in He dreams of the day when the spell of the best-seller will be broken, making way for the reappearance of the talented reader, and for the terms of the moral contract between author and audience to be reconsidered.

He dreams of the day when literary publishers can breathe again, those who live for an active reader, for a reader open enough to buy a book and allow a conscience radically different from his own to appear in his mind. He believes that if talent is demanded of a literary publisher or a writer, it must also be demanded of a reader.

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Latest Review: "Dublinesque" by Enrique Vila-Matas

It is about a retired publisher, Samuel Riba, a former alcoholic, the alcoholism being one of the reasons for his retirement, who prided himself on publishing quality contemporary fiction in Spanish, with a fiction list which seems to match the taste of Vila-Matas. He is adapting badly to retirement. He spends far too much time browsing the Internet and chatting on the phone to friends. He goes to occasional conferences but feels removed from the publishing world. As the title tells us, he becomes interested in Dublin, though he has normally shied away from English-speaking countries, as he does not speak English, though does have a fascination for New York. Ther Dublin fascination is prompted by a dream he has of visiting a Dublin pub called the Coxwold, which turns out not to exist.


Written Off

T here is a kind of literary fiction that feeds on itself, like an introverted cannibal. In this self-reflective area of fiction, Vila-Matas has a province of his own. We are now down to the last shreds of literature and can wonder, once the last bone has been gnawed, what Vila-Matas will write about. Fortunately, the days of famine are not yet here, and from his latest raid into the literary jungle Vila-Matas has brought home a fine specimen of that most endangered of intellectual species, the literary publisher.


As engrenagens de Enrique Vila-Matas

Confira abaixo os melhores momentos da conversa. Ela coincide com uma teoria sua? Essa teoria de Riba eu mesmo escrevi, em , antes de saber que faria Dublinesca , iniciado no mesmo ano. E essa teoria foi escrita numa viagem a Lyon, como aconteceu com o personagem? Eu criei a teoria durante uma viagem a Lyon, da mesma forma como aconteceu com Samuel Riba. Esqueci por um tempo da teoria, mas depois vi que ela serviria para um romance.

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