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Bartleby & Co.

Bartleby & Co.

"A novel, an essay, an obsession on the literature of refusal and writers who do not write. Like Borges, Vila-Matas is an unbound reader's writer, incorporating autofiction, biography, and reading lists to establish a new genre of literature. I am dumbfounded by Bartleby & Co., clumsily head over heels for its author, and quietly aware of some new range in the novel form."

Spencer R.

See all my recommendations »

This is a book about literary Bartlebys: writers who stop writing. It is comforting, droll and perversely inspiring.

Ann M.

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Author Enrique Vila-Matas
Publisher New Directions
Publication Date 2007-05-23
Section Fiction / All Staff Suggestions / Fiction Suggestions / Spencer R.
Type New
Format Paperback
ISBN 9780811216982

A marvelous novel by one of Spain's most important contemporary authors, in which a clerk in a Barcelona office takes us on a romping tour of world literature. In Bartleby & Co., an enormously enjoyable novel, Enrique Vila-Matas tackles the theme of silence in literature: the writers and non-writers who, like the scrivener Bartleby of the Herman Melville story, in answer to any question or demand, replies: "I would prefer not to." Addressing such "artists of refusal" as Robert Walser, Robert Musil, Arthur Rimbaud, Marcel Duchamp, Herman Melville, and J. D. Salinger, Bartleby & Co. could be described as a meditation: a walking tour through the annals of literature. Written as a series of footnotes (a non-work itself), Bartleby embarks on such questions as why do we write, why do we exist? The answer lies in the novel itself: told from the point of view of a hermetic hunchback who has no luck with women, and is himself unable to write, Bartleby is utterly engaging, a work of profound and philosophical beauty.

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