Friday, May 16, 2014

Read Your Way Around the World - Spanish titles in translation

Read Your Way Around the World invites you to Spain.

Spanish literature has a long and rich history dating back to the beginning of the last millennium. Spain has produced a number of Nobel Prize winning writers like Camilo Jose Cela, Vicente Aleixandre, Juan Ramon Jimenez, Jacinto Benavente, and Jose Echegaray. For a taste of Spanish fiction translated into English you may wish to try some of these authors found in the library's collection.

Javier Marias is an award-winning novelist whose honours include the 1997 Impac Dublin Literary Award for A Heart So White. In The Infatuations Maria Dolz, over breakfast in a cafe every morning, watches Miguel and Luisa who appear to be a perfect couple. When Miguel is (apparently) pointlessly murdered, Maria strikes up a friendship with Luisa involving herself in unraveling the murder. Literary fiction both thought-provoking and complex.

In The Sound of One Hand Killing by Teresa Solana, ironically, the director of new age meditation centre is killed, having been bludgeoned by a Buddha statue. Barcelona detectives Eduard Martinez and Borja Masdeu are engaged by Teresa Solana (also a character in the book) to research new age healing for her novel. In the course of their research the pair discover another murder victim in their own apartment and the story progresses as the two murders are investigated.

The Summer of Dead Toys by Antonio Hill features detective Hector Salgado who loses his temper while investigating a human trafficking case and beats a suspect so badly that he finds himself put on leave. During his probation he investigates the murder of an upper class teenage in Barcelona, and in true murder mystery fashion, the two cases connect and threaten to cause great chaos.

The House of Impossible Loves by Cristina Lopez Barrio tells the story of the Leguna family whose women are cursed to have tragic love affairs and to only produce female offspring who will share their mothers' fate. Clara Leguna builds and runs a successful brothel which becomes home to the next generations. Eventually, with the appearance of a son, the curse appears to be broken. This multi-generational saga would appeal to fans of magic realism.

The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon is set in 1950s Barcelona and tells the story of antiquarian bookseller Daniel Sempere whose world is disturbed by a stranger who leaves a mysterious message for his friend Fermin. This literary thriller is the third in the intriguingly title series The Cemetery of Forgotten Books in which secrets threaten relationships and the reader is drawn into the horrors of a 1940s prison in this gothic tale.

This one is set in Spain but originally written in German. The Island of Second Sight: from the applied recollections of Vigoleis by Albert Vigeoleis Thelan features the author's alter ego, Vigoleis who moves with his wife Beatrice to Mallorca in the 1930s to help her brother who they believe to be dying. In reality, he is not dying but rather under the spell of a prostitute. As they are drawn into his depraved world and pursued by Nazis and other elements of the local underworld.

The Barcelona Brothers by Carlos Zanon tells the sotry of a man who murders his friend in a bar in Barcelona. His brother, in order by buy time, blames the murder on a Pakistani man while he tries to find a way to save his brother. A dark and brutal story that exposes the seedier (seediest?) side of Barcelona. Not for the faint of heart.

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