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Montano’s Malady

Montano’s Malady

"Continuing the work of his first novel Bartleby and Co. (a book I recommend reading immediately before Montano's Malady), Enrique Vila-Matas writes a multi-tiered inquiry into literature-sickness, an ailment that swallows up his narrator and prevents him from discerning the world of literature from the world of reality. Vila-Matas pushes the reader to the edge of a dark precipice, a void that can never be filled once this book has been read. Why live in literature? Why read at all? To quote Vila-Matas quoting Musil: 'To achieve the spirit's salvation.' Or, to paraphrase Vila-Matas himself, I would not wish this book on my worst enemy."

Spencer R.

See all my recommendations »

Author Enrique Vila-Matas
Publisher New Directions
Publication Date 2007-05-17
Section Fiction / All Staff Suggestions / Fiction Suggestions / Spencer R.
Type New
Format Paperback
ISBN 9780811216289

A quirky, cosmopolitan novel about life and literature by the prize-winning Spanish writer Enrique Vila-Matas, author of Bartleby & Co. The narrator of Montano’s Malady is a writer named Jose who is so obsessed with literature that he finds it impossible to distinguish between real life and fictional reality. Part picaresque novel, part intimate diary, part memoir and philosophical musings, Enrique Vila-Matas has created a labyrinth in which writers as various as Cervantes, Sterne, Kafka, Musil, Bolano, Coetzee, and Sebald cross endlessly surprising paths. Trying to piece together his life of loss and pain, Jose leads the reader on an unsettling journey from European cities such as Nantes, Barcelona, Lisbon, Prague and Budapest to the Azores and the Chilean port of Valparaiso. Exquisitely witty and erudite, it confirms the opinion of Bernardo Axtaga that Vila-Matas is "the most important living Spanish writer."

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