Dublinesque by Enrique Vila-Matas


Plot : « Samuel Riba is about to turn 60. A successful publisher in Barcelona, he is increasingly prone to attacks of anxiety and, looking for distraction, he concocts a spur-of-the-moment trip to Dublin, a city he has never visited but once dreamed about.

He sets off for Dublin on the pretext of honouring James Joyce’s Ulysses on Bloomsday. But as he and his friends gather in the cemetery to give their orations, a mysterious figure in a mackintosh resembling Joyce’s protégé Samuel Beckett hovers in the background. Is it Beckett, or is it the writer of genius that Riba has spent his whole career trying, and failing, to find? » (source : amazon.co.uk)

I’m maybe more “touched” by this one (comparing to The Fall of the Stone City – I read both for the Independant Foreign fiction Prize 2013, with my Cardiff base Book club) because this character, Riba, is a publisher and a literary person, I love the way that he just lives in function of literature. I think the painting of this old former-alcoholic is true, you really feel in from of a human being.

There is not much of a story. It’s the difficult time of a retired man who doesn’t know what to do now with his life, all the more because of his inner life which forces him to ask himself a lot of question. He wants a change, and wants something foreign. So what is more foreign to a Spanish man than Ireland ?

Even if the “Spanish” and “Irish” atmospheres are really strong, it’s international, because everybody (I think) as experienced this need of being a foreigner, detached and a witness more than an actor.

Everybody as also too much interrogations in mind, doesn’t understand its friends & acquaintances on some occasions…

And for me, an author who uses a publisher as a main character is quite interesting (personal remark: I want to do it, but he’ll be the victim, not the main character :p ). I think it’s less main street than the Kadare because there is lot of literary & art references.  And in the same time, it’s a testimony of the exact opposite of Kadare: the testimony of A life opposite to the life of a city (I expect you get what I mean…)

En Français (French) : Ici

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