Prize-winning novel from Spain - intellectual, contemporary, very funny and highly original - by one of the most admired of present-day Spanish writers.
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Published: 07 July 2005
Genre: General & literary fiction
Marcelo, a clerk in a Barcelona office who might himself have emerged from a novel by Kafka, inhabits a world peopled by characters in literature. He once wrote a novel about the impossibility of love, but since then he has written nothing. He has, in short, become a 'Bartleby', so named after the character in Herman Melville's short story who, when asked to do something, always replied: 'I would prefer not to.'One day Marcelo sets out to make a search through literature for all those other possible Bartlebys, and with this in mind he has the engagingly original notion of keeping a diary and writing footnotes to an invisible text. His references to authors, both real and invented, provide the reader with extravagant doses of humour that are at once hilarious, irreverent and stimulating.
Vila-Matas has had the brilliant idea of tracking down literature's slackers - Bartleby and Co proposes a shadowy history of literature
Ingenious... An Excellent book... A work of honesty and profound beauty
John Burnside, Scotland on Sunday
Bartleby and Co is set to become the book of the literary season... An enormously enjoyable and intelligent book, and if I am not mistaken, an important one
Told with considerable elegance and an admirable lack of melodrama
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Enrique Vila-Matas is widely considered to be one of Spain's most important contemporary novelists. His work has been translated into 30 languages and has won numerous international literary prizes, including ...