Father and Son
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
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"This is a story about two people, but I’m the only one telling it."Many authors have wrestled with the death of a father in their writing, but few have grappled with the subject as fiercely, or as powerfully, as the brilliant Spanish writer Marcos Giralt Torrente does in Father and Son, the mesmerizing and discomfiting memoir that won him Spain’s highest literary award, the Spanish National Book Award. Giralt Torrente is best known for his fiction, but it is in this often savage memoir that he demonstrates the full measure of his gifts.In the months following his father’s death from cancer, Giralt Torrente could not write—until he began to write about his father. In many ways, they were strangers to each other; after his parents’ relationship ended, when he was quite young, Giralt Torrente’s father remained in contact with him but held himself at a distance. Silences began to linger, prompted by Giralt Torrente’s anger at his father’s lies and absences and perpetuated by their inability to speak about the sources of the conflicts between them. But despite their differences, they had a strong bond, and in the months leading up to his father’s death from cancer, they groped toward reconciliation. Here the author commits to exploring it all, sparing neither his father nor himself, conscious of their flaws but also understanding of them. Weaving together history and personal narrative, Giralt Torrente crafts a startlingly honest account of a complex relationship, and an indelible portrait of both father and son.Beautifully translated by Natasha Wimmer, the award-winning translator of Roberto Bolaño, and as lyrical and clear-eyed on mourning as Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking, Father and Son is an uncommonly gripping memoir by an uncommonly talented writer.
Marcos Giralt Torrente was born in Madrid in 1968 and is the author of three novels, a novella, and a book of short stories. He was a writer in residence at the Spanish Academy in Rome and at the University of Aberdeen, and was part of the Berlin Artists-in-Residence Programme in 2002–2003. He is the recipient of several distinguished awards, including the Spanish National Book Award in 2011. His works have been translated into French, German, Greek, Italian, Korean, and Portuguese. Natasha Wimmer is a translator who has worked on Roberto Bolaño’s 2666, for which she was awarded the PEN Translation prize in 2009, and The Savage Detectives. She lives in New York.
Praise for Marcos Giralt Torrente"Marcos Giralt Torrente deserves to be considered one of the top players in Spanish contemporary literature." —Enrique Vila-Matas, author of Never Any End to ParisPraise for Father and Son"An exemplary memoir, in its reconstruction and scrupulous interrogation of memory. What gives the book such power is the concentrated force of its focus on this one relationship—the breathtaking frankness of the author’s stubborn rancor toward his father, and the equally impressive tenderness, generosity, and analytical wisdom achieved through his struggle for perspective. I know of no other memoir that manages simultaneously to express such vulnerability and detachment." —Phillip Lopate, author of Portrait Inside My Head"A splendid book. A story that is exceptional not only for its humane value, which is enormous, but also because it breathes with authenticity, or true life. A tribute of love. And an act of persistence." —Ana Rodríguez Fischer, Letras LibresPraise for The End of Love"Captivating, subtle, and unsettling . . . This is [Giralt] Torrente’s first book to appear in English. With luck, the first of many." —Booklist"It’s the leaps in Giralt Torrente’s stories that I find the most thrilling[:] the moments of almost supernatural insight, the unspooling of time, the scenes that Giralt Torrente isolates and makes vibrate through the descriptive power of his prose . . . The stories in The End of Love are a life raft and the ocean around us is wide. Here’s a hand, he says to us. Climb on." —Benjamin Anastas, Bookforum"Giralt Torrente’s remarkably precise sentences are as tightly wound as violin strings . . . To read The End of Love is to watch a master storyteller deploy every last trick with as much grace and beauty as a cellist playing a Bach sonata." —Scott Esposito , SFGate