The Siege in the Room: Three Novellas
This volume brings together three short novels by Catalan literature's great maverick and recluse, each depicting a brutal, abstract world where words are the only reality -- shifting between the erudite, the archaic, and the vulgar. Carrer Marsala, which won prizes from the City of Barcelona and the Generalitat de Catalunya -- neither of which BaušÓ bothered to accept -- is a relentless monologue delivered by a paranoid hypochondriac obsessed with dental hygiene, sex, and his own squalid rooms in Barcelona. In The Old Man, the narrator observes a strange building where a decrepit prisoner is ritually beaten by a policeman once a week. The Warden details the narrator's own captivity, and his relationship with the woman who keeps him prisoner. In Martha Tennent's haunting translation, reminiscent of a Mediterranean Beckett or Thomas Bernhard, Miquel BaušÓ's work is a pungent reminder of the ways the world fails its prophets and pariahs.