The Barcelona Review. International Review of Contemporary Fiction


st JordiWelcome to our 22nd anniversary issue, out just in time for Sant Jordi Day on April 23rd, the date our first issue went up back in 1997 (before Google!).  It’s the glorious day when book stalls and rose stands line the streets and sidewalks as lovers exchange books and roses (in the past men received books while women were given roses, but we women sorted that out quite a while ago and now score one or moreĀ of each). Quite the perfect day for our anniversary.

Kicking off we have a story by Canadian writer Mark Jarman, Harris Green Below the Christian Science Reading Room, in which a former inhabitant of the neighborhood finds himself there after many years, noting that the faces, "like antiques, show honest wear," while Harris Green "shaves life to fewer factoids—a rock, a gram, a grim belief in magic and lustral transactions involving lighters."

Next up is Charity Deductions by Croatian-American Josip Novakovich, where a good-hearted (though tax deductions help!) family man decides to sponsor a family of Bosnian refugees during the time of the crisis, which will upend life as he knows it while giving the reader a good chuckle.

U.S. writer Bob Johnson sets his story, Simple Taxpayers, in a small town where a 300-pound brute of man rules the residents out of fear.  What happens when a local loses control and breaks the brute's hand with a claw hammer?  Tension mounts as the townspeople work to resolve the situation.       

And last up, from U.S. writer Geoffrey Line, is The (Model UN) Security Council.  Here we have a mock UN Security Council of teenagers and the rambling thoughts that ping through their adolescent heads.  Make way for the post-millennials!

In our picks from back issues, we have two fine stories.  From Scotland: Of Cats and Women by Laura Hird; and from Canada: The View From Here by Dorothy Speak.

And in case you don’t know these two fine writers from Barcelona Manuel Vázquez Montalbán and Felipe Alfau–  we offer from our archives retrospectives on their lives as a way of introduction, written at the time of their deaths:  2003 and 1999.

Our book review this issue is Pretty Things by Virginie Despentes, translated from the French by Emma Ramadan.  Review by Roxanne Rowles.

Our quiz is Literature of Indiana, my home state, and home to many fine writers. Winner to receive a 30-euro gift certificate from Amazon.  For answers to last issue’s quiz, Literature of Mississippi, click here

Local News:  Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, has called a snap election for 28 April after Catalan secessionists, along with rightwing parties, rejected the socialist government’s national budget on the grounds that Sánchez would not agree to discuss self-determination for the region.  In related news, the trial in Madrid of separatist leaders behind the failed bid for Catalan independence continues amid ongoing protests in support of their release.  As that battle continues to roil, the Primavera Sound festival soon arrives with three days of class-act music, while the warmer weather is bringing buskers back to the plazas. We are also seeing a spate of new art galleries in the Gothic Quarter.  So, as everywhere, music, art, and literature will help see us through turbulent times.  And the lovely Sant Jordi Day is on its way as well.  Bless!

 Our next issue is due out this summer.  To be notified when new issues are available, just ‘LIKE’ The Barcelona Review on Facebook (for the Spanish, LIKE Barcelona Review without the THE); or email us to subscribe (gratis, of course), though often our bulk email is blocked from servers so we cannot guarantee a notification.

Jill Adams

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