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The Empty Book

by Josefina Vicens

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45None572,121 (3.31)16
". . . wonderful, a true novel: simple, refined, and full of a secret pity but, at the same time, solid and forceful. -from the preface by Octavio Paz "It's a lot easier just not to write." So argues Josefina Vicens' alter ego, Jose García, in The Empty Book. Yet his need to write exists independently of his perception that an "ordinary" person has "nothing to say." In the very act of writing about "nothing," Garcia paradoxically tells a story that does have meaning and significance-the story of his own attempt to transcend the limits of mundane existence through creative work. Winner of the prestigious Xavier Villaurrutia prize, The Empty Book was first published in Mexico as El libro vacío in 1958. A novel about the writing process, it stands as a forerunner of the metafiction boom of the 1960s that included the works of such writers as Cortazar, Pacheco, and Elizondo. The accessibility of its language and themes makes this novel highly democratic and empowering, rescuing literature from the realm of high art and opening it to participation by "ordinary" people. A novel for everyone interested in the process of writing-and not writing-The Empty Book presents a novelist who deserves to be much better known by English-language readers.… (more)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Josefina Vicensprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lauer, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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To those who live in silence, I dedicate these pages, silently.
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I never wanted to do it.
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". . . wonderful, a true novel: simple, refined, and full of a secret pity but, at the same time, solid and forceful. -from the preface by Octavio Paz "It's a lot easier just not to write." So argues Josefina Vicens' alter ego, Jose García, in The Empty Book. Yet his need to write exists independently of his perception that an "ordinary" person has "nothing to say." In the very act of writing about "nothing," Garcia paradoxically tells a story that does have meaning and significance-the story of his own attempt to transcend the limits of mundane existence through creative work. Winner of the prestigious Xavier Villaurrutia prize, The Empty Book was first published in Mexico as El libro vacío in 1958. A novel about the writing process, it stands as a forerunner of the metafiction boom of the 1960s that included the works of such writers as Cortazar, Pacheco, and Elizondo. The accessibility of its language and themes makes this novel highly democratic and empowering, rescuing literature from the realm of high art and opening it to participation by "ordinary" people. A novel for everyone interested in the process of writing-and not writing-The Empty Book presents a novelist who deserves to be much better known by English-language readers.

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