LONGLISTED FOR THE 2020 INTERNATIONAL BOOKER PRIZE
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 - delighted by themes of repetition and falsification, and humbly armed with an encyclopaedic knowledge of literature. Mac's wife, Carmen, thinks he is wasting his time. But Mac persists, diligently recording his daily walks through the neighbourhood. It is the hottest summer Barcelona has seen in over a hundred years.
Soon Mac begins to notice that life is exhibiting strange literary overtones. 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.
'So deeply comical on the one hand, and so deeply poignant on the other, that you just have to give yourself up to it because you're in the hands of a master' Paul Auster
'[Vila-Matas] chooses humour in a way that allows him to have big ideas while relentlessly making fun of them' Sunday Telegraph
'One of the most original and celebrated writers in the Spanish language' Adam Thirlwell, Paris Review
In this lively and inquisitive work of metafiction, a story about stories, Vila-Matas is as deliberate as he is playful, and induces the not altogether unpleasant sensation of getting lost ever deeper in a literary hall of mirrors
A writer who has no equal in the contemporary landscape of the Spanish novel
Arguably Spain’s most significant contemporary figure
The tremendously touching characters in Enrique Vila-Matas’s novels who stumble from one place to the next, not really sure where they are going, but always on a quest are so deeply comical on the one hand, and so deeply poignant on the other, that you just have to give yourself up to it because you’re in the hands of a master.
Playful and funny and among the best Spanish novelists