Cover: Larry Rivers, Personage on the Lam II.
Portrait of the Cuban artist Wilfredo Lam

For the first time in one volume, THE READING ROOM presents to an American public the greats of contemporary Spanish literature. Juan Benet, Juan Goytisolo, Juan Marsé, Jorge Semprún, Ángel Vázquez, and Manuel Fernández Montesinos (the nephew of Federico García Lorca) were children during the Spanish Civil War, and their sensibility is permeated with the memory of that war. In their stylistic innovations, literary rebelliousness and opposition to the Franco era, their work has been the formative model for the next generation of writers in contemporary Spain.

REDISCOVERING EUROPE’S JEWISH SOUL: Jorge Semprún and Enrique Krauze reflect on Jewish philosophical language, genius and sorrows, while Barbara Probst Solomon chronicles the influence of the Hispano-Judaic mind on Saul Bellow.

STORIES: In “The Angels”, the gifted Portuguese writer Teolinda Gersão evokes a young girl’s fragile but tough reality as she tries to reconcile her disturbed family. In “Fallen From Fortune”, the amazing Javier Marías pinpoints with acerbic wit the contradictions of modern Madrid encased in the trappings of a Madrid from times past.

FIESTA: Miguel Ángel Aguilar, Marta Carrasco Benítez and Rosa Pereda bring us the latest news on post-modern bull-fighting and fusion flamenco.


Frederic Amat, Luces de Bohemia

THOSE TALENTED AMERICANS: Erik La Prade’s “The Last Days of the Gotham Book Mart” and Mark Probst’s “Teddy” evoke the days and nights of young writers and actors in Manhattan while Juan Cruz Ruiz muses on Truman Capote’s reliance that happiness magically arrives in October. Eve Goldberg recounts an amazing day when Carson McCullers, Marilyn Monroe and Isak Dinesen decided to have lunch together, and Benjamin Taylor recalls the erotic impact black-and-white movies had on his youth.

POETRY CORNER: Roberto Bolaño, Donald Maggin, Núria Amat, and Michael Filimowicz

ART: Gonzalo Torné, Frederic Amat, Adolfo Barnatán, and Martín Chirino. Cover art by Larry Rivers. PHOTOGRAPHY: Mario Muchnik.

BACK ISSUES OF THE READING ROOM ARE AVAILABLE in fine bookstores and online book sellers. Among the writers and artists represented: Saul Bellow, Larry Rivers, Amos Oz, Juan Goytisolo, Stephen Dixon, Daphne Merkin, Gonzalo Torné, Alan Cheuse, Clancy Sigal, Norman Birnbaum, Gerald Holton, Joseph Roth, Toby Talbot, Scott Snyder, Madison Smartt Bell, Kenneth Koch, John Updike, Carl Watson, Julian Ríos, Fanny Rubio, Angel Vázquez, and Murzban Fali Shroff, Stuart Schneiderman, Thomas McGonigle, Nuria Amat, John Buffalo Mailer, José Saramago, Binnie Kirshenbaum and Robert Bly.


Read more about ISSUE 8's authors »

Sol y sombra, Gonzalo Torné

Excerpts Reading Room 8

The Vida Perra of Juanita Narboni

—Ángel Vázquez

Reflections on Germany’s Lost Jewish Culture

—Jorge Semprún

Rusted Lances

—Juan Benet

Exiled From Here and There

—Juan Goytisolo

What Still Lives Within Us

—Manuel Fernández-Montesinos

The Ghost at the Roxy Cinema

—Juan Marsé

Fallen from Fortune

—Javier Marías

The Angels

—Teolinda Gersão


—Barbara Probst Solomon

The Spanish Journey of the 20th-Century American Novel

—Barbara Probst Solomon

Five O’Clock Sharp in the Bullring

—Miguel Ángel Aguilar

There’s Buika and Then There’s All the Rest

—Rosa Pereda

Flamenco: Its Shifts From the Franco Era to Spain Now

—Marta Carrasco

A Conversation with Jorge Luis Borges

—Enrique Krauze

The Last Days of the Gotham Book Mart

—Eric La Prade

Ojalá Octubre:A Prelude

—Juan Cruz Ruiz


—Mark Probst

The Abiding Charms of “Black Narcissus”

—Benjamin Taylor

Lunch With Carson McCullers

—Eve Goldberg



—Roberto Bolaño

First Night in London: Age 22

—Donald Maggin

Time Drains

—Nuria Amat

Morning Chore

—Michael Filimowicz





All material and writing ©2009 The Reading Room. All rigihts reserved. All art is copyright of artists shown. Any reproduction of material herein is prohibited. The Reading Room is Published by Great Marsh Press.