Come On Up

Jordi Nopca, trans. from the Catalan by Mara Faye Lethem. Bellevue, $16.99 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-942658-80-1
Citizens on the fringe of Catalan society are the stars in Spanish journalist Nopca’s witty collection, his English-language debut. In “Don’t Leave,” an aspiring art historian deals with a clash between her boyfriend and a charming suitor. “Àngels Quintana and Fèlix Palme Have Problems” follows a waiter who loses his job after arguing with rude customers and inadvertently starts a movement by sticking bananas into the exhaust pipes of motorcycles owned by Barcelona’s cultural elite. In the best story, “Candles and Robes,” a family’s neighbors perform rituals to return spirits to the world of the dead. Emotions are often distilled through an omniscient narrator’s wry asides. In “An Intersectional Conservationist at Heart,” in which an arrogant professor dies after getting a young journalist and her boyfriend fired, the couple sees a Tarantino film, “another one of his stories of vengeance and payback.” While Nopca relies a bit too heavily on describing dreams to reveal characters, he succeeds at tying the stories to Barcelona’s fraught place in the Catalan secession movement. All of the stories make noise, and some of them really take off. Agent: Sandra Pareja, Casanovas & Lynch Literary Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 10/28/2020
Release date: 02/01/2021
Genre: Fiction
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