París no se acaba nunca

Paris Never Ends | Anagrama, 2004; Seix Barral, 2013; PRH/DeBolsillo, 2014

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París no se acaba nunca is an ironic review of the literary apprenticeship of the narrator in the Paris of the seventies. A masterly fusion of autobiography, fiction and essay, it recounts the adventures he found himself in when, in a Parisian chambre de bonne he wrote his first book. And he also reveals, for example, how the books was partly written thanks to the encouragement to write that he received, on a scrap of paper, from his atypical landlady, Marguerite Duras.

París no se acaba nunca  is also the story of how, in his youth, the narrator travelled to the city literarally to imitate the Bohemian life of another who was just beginning to write – Hemingway, who told him that Paris was a party, and that there he was “very poor and very happy”; and how, on the other hand, the narrator was very poor and very unhappy. However he did manage to write his first novel and he also discovered that, as John Ashbery said, after living in Paris, one is incapable of living anywhere else, even in Paris.

In París no se acaba nunca, which is also the title of the last chapter of Paris is a Party, Enrique Vila-Matas offers us a portrait of the young debutant in life and in art, who signs up with surprisingly renewed nuances, to the already classical tradition of stories that revolve around the sentimental education of someone who in escaping an atmosphere of mediocrity, seeks to triumph in the centre of art itself.

After such resounding successes as El viaje vertical, Bartleby y compañía o El mal de Montano, the author manages in this novel to achieve a harmonious and accomplished synthesis of many facets of his own unique narrative style.