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Never Any End To Paris by Enrique Vila-Matas

Never Any End To Paris (edition 2011)

by Enrique Vila-Matas

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214954,496 (3.9)9
Title:Never Any End To Paris
Authors:Enrique Vila-Matas
Info:New Directions (2011), Edition: 1, Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Read in 2013, Your library
Tags:home, r2013

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Never Any End to Paris by Enrique Vila-Matas



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In Never Any End to Paris Enrique Vila-Matas has given us a novel about a lecture about his time as a young in Paris trying to write a novel while living in a garret owned by Marguerite Duras. He manages to be at once formally interesting, funny, and penetrating about living in Paris in particular, and living as an expatriate in general, about the Parisian literary and bohemian demimonde, and about what writing is and can be. He is an avant-garde writer for those who like to smile while they are amazed.
  dcozy | Sep 11, 2014 |
Much to do with Ernest Hemingway. Fun read, but very serious and well-written. I wrote a review which you can read here:

http://mewlhouse.hubpages.com/hub/Never-Any-End-To-Paris-Enrique-Vila-Matas ( )
  MSarki | Mar 29, 2013 |
Ostensibly presented as an ironic homage to Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, Enrique Vila-Matas’ quixotic Never Any End to Paris flits between an inverted Roman à clef, bildungsroman, situationist non-happening, and self-help manual on how (not) to write a novel. If that sounds jumbled, enervating, or distracting, you’ll probably also think, at times, that there’s just never any end to Never Any End to Paris. But if serious play is the kind of thing that turns your literary crank, then this may be an excellent introduction to the very serious play of Enrique Vila-Matas.

The narrator supposedly has written a lecture that will be presented over three days at a literary festival in which he looks back on the two years he spent in Paris as a young man. Why Paris? Because Hemingway’s late rose-tinted memoir described it as the place where he was poor and happy. What could be more enticing for a young wannabe writer? Except that the narrator, looking back on his own time in Paris, describes himself as very poor and very unhappy. It was ever thus as we seek to emulate and overcome our literary forebears (not so much the anxiety of influence, but more the influenza of anxiety).

The narrator’s time in Paris is not entirely wasted. He has connections, after all. He lives in a garret owned by Marguerite Duras (which once hid François Mitterand for two nights during the French Resistance). He parties with Paloma Picasso. He sees Samuel Beckett in the Jardin du Luxembourg. And of course the cafés, of which there definitely seems to be no end in Paris. All the while he is struggling to write his first novel, The Lettered Assassin. (It would take someone more knowledgeable than me to determine whether that is a play on the emergence of situationist theory from lettrism.)

The writing is playful and pointed, sometimes insightful, often repetitive (though presumably to a point), ironic to an almost uncomfortable degree, and at times lovely. Its embrace of and flight from modernism might be considered challenging. But it rewards patience (if not effort). And I’m glad I read it. ( )
  RandyMetcalfe | Jan 27, 2013 |
It is very well translated, in the sense that it is fluent and one does not feel any obstacle between oneself and the author's thoughts : the style is limpid. Reading Vila-Matas reminds me of when I first plugged earphones into my ears and listened to someone speaking, the voice seemed to exist in my head as if nothing existed between my ears except the words passing through, like a beam of light in the dark.

I liked the cover and all that it hints at: this is the second time I've come across a cover by Semadar Megged, and I think she does it intelligently, it is a pleasure to think about what she has done, though I think the translator deserves a bigger font here.

I want to read this book a second time because it is so rich. I want to understand as much as possible what is in there. Vila-Matas mentions Hemingways' iceberg theory of the short story: never tell what is most important. He writes ironically about irony, and my feeling is that Hemingway - who is a major figure in the book - Hemingway took himself immensely seriously.

The book contains other strong presences: the city of Paris, with its cafes and grey streets, Marguerite Duras who lets Vila-Matas live in her garret, his best friend Raul Escari, and all the other famous people who lived in the garret before him.

All of this divided into 113 sections in lengths varying from several pages to short paragraphs. Why 113, I wonder? All I know is that it is a prime number the cifers of which can be permutated to form two other prime numbers, 131 and 311... ( )
  michalsuz | Nov 13, 2012 |
Un paseo por la mítica juventud parisiense, donde evoca a Hemingway, pero no tanto. Ameno.
  KymmAC | Dec 18, 2011 |
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With pitch-perfect, pitch-black humor, this saga refracts through one family's struggles a whole country's nightmare. The tyrant of the book is the actual pro-Nazi mystic Maximiliano Hernndez Martnez, known as the Warlock, who came to power in El Salvador in 1932. An attempted coup in April of 1944 failed, but a general strike in May finally forced him out of office. The book takes place during that tumultuous month between the coup and the strike. With her husband a political prisoner and her son fleeing for his life, wealthy Hayde Aragon takes matters into her own hands. Events ricochet from one near-disaster to the next.--Publisher's description.… (more)

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