Thursday, December 17, 2015

"Because She Never Asked" by Enrique Vila-Matas (New Directions)

978-08112-2275-4 New Directions

"Because She Never Asked" by Enrique Vila-Matas (Translated from the Spanish by Valerie Miles)

Once every little awhile, I come upon a writer who has exactly the same concerns as yours truly.  In fact, I at times, feel like I wrote his books.  Enrique Vila-Matas is my favorite living author.  If he died, he would be my favorite dead writer.  I like him because he writes about writing.   Most, if not all (I haven't yet read everything by him) deals with the literary world - sometimes the by-products of writing, but also the social life of a writer.   This short novella "Because She Never Asked" deals with the author's relationship with the French conceptual artist Sophie Calle.  Throughout the narrative he tries to start-up a project with her, where reality springs out of literature.   

A writer pretty much works in their head, and then on the writing tool of their choice.  Here he has a chance to write literature and have it come to life.   This, becomes a major conflict in the narrator's life and work.   The beauty of this book is his commentary on the nature of writing, and how that in turn, becomes a piece of work.    For me, and with my writing, I fully understand Enrique Villa-Matas' concerns and worries.   The fact that the book's second character of interest is Calle is an additional plus, and a tribute to her own work, which is often obsessive, secretive, and a touch of danger.   A wonderful book.  

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