Esta bruma insensata

This Senseless Fog | Seix Barral, 2019

In this literary tour de force, Vila-Matas turns his unique philosophy about writing into something accessible, fascinating and completely original. Paradox abounds, because this is the story of a writer who feeds off others’ quotations yet Vila-Matas writes like no one else.

A novel about inexhaustible energy born out of absence and the tension between having faith in writing and rejecting it utterly.

From a cliff-top mansion on the outskirts of Cadaqués, Simon Schneider works for a successful writer who goes by the name of Gran Bros and has been living reclusively in New York for years. Simon is a hokusai, a supplier of quotations to other writers. Although he would never imagine it, one of these writers is none other than Robert Pynchon. On the afternoon of October 27, 2017, Simon is suffering from writer’s block and trying to recall a particular phrase about the infinite. In search of the elusive quotation, he sets out on a long walk.

When you skirt the edge of the abyss and certainties fall away one by one, escaping in just the nick of time can open the door to pure writing. This is a pursuit that goes beyond fiction, transcends personal and past experience, and conjures up a landscape so new it’s like something dreamed of by a soul set free from everything, even its own misfortune.