Madrid Tales: Stories

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Helen Constantine, Margaret Jull Costa
OUP Oxford, Apr 26, 2012 - Fiction - 313 pages
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The buzzing life of bars, warm evenings by the Manzanares river, the subterranean terrors of the Metro, icy winters and hot, empty summers, student days in the sixties, the ruthless underworld of the city's mafia - this captivating anthology reflects the character of Madrid and the lives of the madrilenos, as its inhabitants are called, in all their splendid variety. Some stories are bizarre, some funny, some serious, and as you read you'll travel through the city. The famous streets and monuments of Madrid - Cibeles, Calle de Alcalá, Plaza Mayor, and the Royal Palace - as well as the poor, working-class barrios unfrequented by sightseers will pass before your eyes like a moving picture. Some stories, like the Galdós story and Carmen Martín Gaite's 'A clear conscience' depict a journey across Madrid, while in Javier Marías' sinister tale, 'Fallen from fortune', a couple are unaware that their guide to all the usual tourist highlights is leading them to their death. In 'Through the wall' and 'Personality disorders', the characters barely leave their apartments, and the city lurks outside the windows. A rich assortment of characters - adolescent boys obsessed with sex; maids up from the country; provincial girls who slide into prostitution; a small boy excited at the prospect of going downtown with his grandfather; vain, self-absorbed thirty-somethings with too much money; immigrant families far from home; mafia types; diligent office-workers struggling to bring up a family - come alive in the tales. Few of these stories have previously been translated into English. Some names, such as Benito Pérez Galdós, Javier Marías, Juan José Millás, and Carmen Martín Gaite, will be more familiar than others but all deserve to be better known. There is a map at the back of the book to indicate the places mentioned in the stories and photographs complement and accompany each story. The reader will also find there biographical notes on the authors and suggestions for further reading.
 

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Contents

General Introduction
1
Introduction
7
The Novel on the Tram
15
The Solution
53
Sunday Morning
61
A Testing Time
67
Murder at the Atlantic
91
Luzmila
99
Flying Fish
203
Let the Passengers Out
209
Fallen from Fortune
219
Personality Disorders
243
How can this be happening to me?
255
Manolitos Toggle
267
Sign and Message
281
Notes on the Authors
300

The Ballad of the River Manzanares
121
A Clear Conscience
131
Restless Eyes
155
Mozart K 124 for Flute and Orchestra
167
Through the Wall
177
Return Journey
189
Further Reading
307
Publishers Acknowledgements
312
Map of Madrid
314
Metro Map
316
Copyright

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About the author (2012)


Helen Constantine taught languages in schools until 2000, when she became a full-time translator. She has published three volumes of translated stories, Paris Tales, French Tales, and Paris Metro Tales and is currently editing a series of City Tales for Oxford University Press. She has translated Mademoiselle de Maupin by Theophile Gautier and Dangerous Liaisons by Choderlos de Laclos for Penguin. She is married to the writer David Constantine and with him edits the international magazine Modern Poetry in Translation.

Margaret Jull Costa has been a literary translator for over twenty years and has translated many novels and short stories by Portuguese, Spanish and Latin American writers, among them Nobel laureate Jose Saramago, Fernando Pessoa, Carmen Martin Gaite, and Juan Jose Saer. She has won various prizes for her work, including, in 2008, the PEN Book-of-the-Month Translation Award and the Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize for her version of Eca de Queiroz's masterpiece The Maias. More recently she won the 2009 and 2010 Premio Valle-Inclan for, respectively, The Accordionist's Son by Bernardo Atxaga and Your Face Tomorrow 3: Poison, Shadow and Farewell by Javier Marias.

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