Valerie Miles, an editor, writer, translator, and professor, is the cofounding editor of the literary journal Granta in Spanish.
Fiction by Enrique Vila-Matas
translated by Valerie Miles
Because She Never Asked is a story reminiscent of that reached by the travelers in Patricia Highsmith's Stranger on a Train. The author shall write a piece for the artist Sophie Calle to live out: a young, aspiring French artist travels to Lisbon and the Azores in pursuit of an older artist whose work she's in love with. The second part of the story tells what happens between the author and Calle. She eludes him; he becomes blocked and suffers physical collapse.
"Something strange happened along the way," Vila-Matas wrote. "Normally, writers try to pass off a work fiction as being real. But in Because She Never Asked, the opposite occurred: in order to give meaning to the story of my life, I found that I needed to present it as fiction."
Fiction by Rafael Chirbes
translated by Margaret Jull Costa
with a contribution by Valerie Miles
On the Edge opens in a swamp on the outskirts of Olba, Spain, a town wracked by despair after the economic bubble bursts. Stuck in this corrupt, defeated town is Esteban—his small factory bankrupt and his investments stolen by a "friend." Much of the novel unfolds in Esteban's raw and tormented monologues. But other voices resound from the wreckage—soloists stepping forth from the choir with their own terse, hypnotic rants about debt, prostitution, and ruin. However, now and again, with his own majestic authorial voice, Chirbes interrupts the chorus, allowing a lyrical note to usher in profound if uncertain hopes. On the Edge, as Valerie Miles writes in her afterword, "is masterful, a centrifugal novel with sentences like sticky tentacles that clutch onto readers and suck them into a swirling, tempestuous, pulsating center."