Hope you had a good Christmas!
Here’s a Vila-Matas piece called I’m Not Auster.
The others (other writers that is, the ones we like, the ones inside us) work on us in a strange way, so that it becomes impossible in fact to be without them. However far away you are in a physical sense (even if you find yourself on a desert island, or locked in solitary confinement), you find you’re inhabited by others. This is a far cry from how Miguel de Unamuno saw it; he was a first-rate thinker but also an egomaniac, and ended up suspecting that there were no such things as others, that in fact others were his own invention, a way of avoiding the distress of being alone in the world. Sometimes I toy with the idea that my friends are indeed figments of my imagination. Although I never manage to make them say what I want them to, sometimes, seen from this unamaniacal p p erspective, other people can appear to be taking part in a strange game, theatrical, conspiratorial, like something out of a David Mamet film. I do have days when it seems like everyone’s agreed to say precisely what I’d expect them to say. But not very often.
Here is an interview concentrating on Dublinesque.
The broad passageway that joins fiction and reality is cool and well-ventilated, and the air within blows about with the same natural ease with which I mix biography and invention.
And here is a Scott Esposito article on EVM.
This self-effacing beginning is a spot-on way for Vila-Matas to start his retelling of how his youthful pretensions to become a second Hemingway quickly ran off the rails. Befitting a writer who would stake his name to the quicksands of the derivative, the young man we find in this book is one who is constantly trying to copy others. He attempts to mimic Hemingway’s effortless bohemianism, he adopts the thick glasses and harsh demeanour of the Parisian literati (themselves poseurs), and he tries to fit in with one of the avant-garde movements. From Duras (whose elevated French he never quite understands) he receives a 12-point list of qualities he must work into his writing, which he follows with a naive ardour. He even steals the plot and format of the literary work he creates in Paris from Unamuno and Nabokov.