The Siege in the Room (Paperback)
Three Novellas (Catalan Literature)
Dalkey Archive Press, 9781564787705, 149pp.
Publication Date: July 24, 2012
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This volume brings together three short novels by Catalan literature's great maverick and recluse, each depicting a brutal, abstract world where words are the only reality--shifting between the erudite, the archaic, and the vulgar. "Carrer Marsala," which won prizes from the City of Barcelona and the Generalitat de Catalunya--neither of which Bau bothered to accept--is a relentless monologue delivered by a paranoid hypochondriac obsessed with dental hygiene, sex, and his own squalid rooms in Barcelona. In "The Old Man," the narrator observes a strange building where a decrepit prisoner is ritually beaten by a policeman once a week. "The Warden" details the narrator's own captivity, and his relationship with the woman who keeps him prisoner. In Martha Tennent's haunting translation, reminiscent of a Mediterranean Beckett or Thomas Bernhard, Miquel Bau 's work is a pungent reminder of the ways the world fails its prophets and pariahs.