Enrique Vila-Matas

Mac and His Problem
  • Mac and His Problem

  • Enrique Vila-Matas’s new novel is perhaps his greatest: 'playful and funny and among the best Spanish novelists' (Colm Tóibín)

    Mac is not writing a novel. He is writing a diary, which no one will ever read. At over sixty, and recently unemployed, Mac is a beginner, a novice, an apprentice – delighted by the themes of repetition and falsification, and humbly armed with an encyclopaedic knowledge of literature. Mac's wife, Carmen, thinks he is simply wasting his time and in danger of sliding further into depression and idleness. But Mac persists, diligently recording his daily walks through the neighbourhood. It is the hottest summer Barcelona has seen in over one hundred years.

    Soon, despite his best intentions (not to write a novel), Mac begins to notice that life is exhibiting strange literary overtones and imitating fragments of plot. As he sizzles in the heatwave, he becomes ever more immersed in literature – a literature haunted by death but alive with the sheer pleasure of writing.

    Intricate, erudite and practically fizzing on the page, Mac and His Problem is a masterpiece of metafiction and a testament to the power and playfulness of great literature.

Born in Barcelona in 1948, Enrique Vila-Matas is widely considered to be one of Spain's most important contemporary novelists, and Dublinesque has been declared his masterpiece. His extraordinary oeuvre, translated into 30 languages, includes Bartleby & Co, Montano (longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize) and Never Any End to Paris (a finalist for the Best Translated Book Award).