Review of the Granta Young Spanish Novelists at Guardian-There’re Not Like Their Predecesors

The Guardian has a review of the Grant 113 Young Spanish Language Novelists. Surprisingly , the reviewer found that they are not as bold as the previous generations. I haven’t had a chance to read the edition yet since my Spanish copy has gotten lost in the mail, but it seems a given that these kind of criticisms come along. I’m still holding out for some good things, and the Samanta Schweblin has been interesting. I just got Andres Neuman’s latest novel so we’ll see some time this year how that works out. It also sounds like from the quote below that the editors didn’t search hard enough, because there are definitely Spanish Language writers that follow in the Cortazar tradition rather than the Carver.

In Pola Oloixarac’s “Conditions for the Revolution”, the young female narrator looks disdainfully at her mother’s pitiful attempts to believe that revolution is still possible in Argentina. Several authors are concerned with the links or lack of them between the generations; others offer gentle examples of the passage from adolescence to adulthood. As the editors point out: “the writers in this issue . . . tell stories which are quotidian”. They take their cue from Carver rather than Cortázar, only occasionally showing any appetite for formal invention or the fantastic.

Overall, there is a sense that these writers have lost much of the boldness of their predecessors. Their talents lie in half-tones, in ironies or close observation, their canvases are deliberately small. This generation is almost entirely urban, and is more likely to have travelled to New York than their rural hinterlands. And while in Grantaland there are eight Argentine writers and six Spaniards, there is only one Mexican, and no one from central America or the Caribbean.