October 8, 2024
novel | pb | 312 pgs.
5.5" x 8.5"
Winner of the 2018 Best Translated Book Award
A dying father in the grip of fever and delirium recounts his youth, his Grand Tour, the Venetian palaces populated by fascinating and evil figures, his ruin, and his most beautiful journey—the crossing on foot of the frozen Hudson River. His son, still a child, sits at the foot of the bed, attentively collecting these final, hallucinated words.
Could the work of Herman Melville—masterful author, misunderstood, far too ahead of his time, and considered crazy and dangerous by some critics—have as its source this ultimate paternal legacy?
Questioning the intricacies of fiction, which constantly oscillates between reality and imagination, Rodrigo Fresán’s approaches the enigma of the literary vocation in a new light. An invented biography, a gothic novel populated by ghosts, and an evocation of a filial love, Melvill contains all the talent, humor, and immense culture found in the other great works from one of Spanish literature's most ambitious writers.
Translated from the Spanish by Will Vanderhyden
About the Author:
Rodrigo Fresán is the author of eleven works of fiction, including Kensington Gardens, Mantra, The Invented Part, winner of the 2018 Best Translated Book Award, and its sequels, The Dreamed Part and The Remembered Part, and, most recently, Melvill. A self-professed “referential maniac,” his works incorporate many elements from science fiction (Philip K. Dick in particular) alongside pop culture and literary references. According to Jonathan Lethem, “he’s a kaleidoscopic, open-hearted, shamelessly polymathic storyteller, the kind who brings a blast of oxygen into the room.” In 2017, he received the Prix Roger Caillois awarded by PEN Club France every year to both a French and a Latin American writer.
About the Translator:
Will Vanderhyden received an MA in Literary Translation Studies from the University of Rochester. He has translated fiction by Carlos Labbé, Edgardo Cozarinsky, Alfredo Bryce Echenique, Juan Marsé, Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio, Rodrigo Fresán, and Elvio Gandolfo. He received NEA and Lannan fellowships to translate another of Fresán’s novels, The Invented Part.
Praise for Rodrigo Fresán:
"A kaleidoscopic, open-hearted, shamelessly polymathic storyteller, the kind who brings a blast of oxygen into the room."—Jonathan Lethem
"Rodrigo Fresán is the new star of Latin American literature. . . . There is darkness in him, but it harbors light within it because his prose—aimed at bygone readers—is brilliant."—Enrique Vila-Matas
"I've read few novels this exciting in recent years. <i>Mantra</i> is the novel I've laughed with the most, the one that has seemed the most virtuosic and at the same time the most disruptive."—Roberto Bolaño
"Rodrigo Fresán is a marvelous writer, a direct descendant of Adolfo Bioy Casares and Jorge Luis Borges, but with his own voice and of his own time, with a fertile imagination, daring and gifted with a vision as entertaining as it is profound."—John Banville
"With pop culture cornered by the forces of screen culture, says Fresán (knowing the risk to his profile of 'pop writer,' even coming out himself to discuss it), there's nothing left but to be classic. That's the only way to keep on writing."—Alan Pauls