Thomas Bunstead writes for The Times Literary Supplement, The Paris Review Daily, and The Independent on Sunday. His short stories have been published in >kill author, Days of Roses, and Text’s Bones. Bunstead is guest editor for the forthcoming Words Without Borders feature on Mexico. He has translated Aixa de la Cruz, Eduardo Halfon, Yuri Herrera, and Rodrigo Fresán.
Fiction by Enrique Vila-Matas
translated by Thomas Bunstead and Anne McLean
An author (a version of Vila-Matas himself) presents a short “history” of a secret society, the Shandies, who are obsessed with the concept of “portable literature.” The society is entirely imagined, but in this rollicking, intellectually playful book, its members include writers and artists like Marcel Duchamp, Aleister Crowley, Witold Gombrowicz, Federico García Lorca, Man Ray, and Georgia O’Keefe. The Shandies meet secretly in apartments, hotels, and cafes all over Europe to discuss what great literature really is: brief, not too serious, penetrating the depths of the mysterious. We witness the Shandies having adventures in stationary submarines, underground caverns, African backwaters, and the cultural capitals of Europe.