Gathered for the first time in English, and spanning the author’s entire career, Vampire in Love offers a selection of the Spanish master Enrique Vila Matas’s finest short stories. An effeminate, hunchbacked barber on the verge of death falls in love with a choirboy. A fledgling writer on barbiturates visits Marguerite Duras’s Paris apartment and watches his dinner companion slip into the abyss. An unsuspecting man receives a mysterious phone call from a lonely ophthalmologist, visits his abandoned villa, and is privy to a secret. The stories in Vampire in Love, selected and brilliantly translated by the renowned translator Margaret Jull Costa, are all told with Vila-Matas’s signature erudition and wit and his provocative questioning of the interrelation of art and life.
Vila-Matas is one of the most celebrated writers in Europe. His work has been translated into over thirty languages. His novels, artful and experimental and mixed with a strong tradition of storytelling, are ideal for anyone who’s a fan of Paul Auster, J.M. Coetzee, or Roberto Bolaño.
—Mark Haber, Brazos Bookstore
With oft-remarkable prose, wit, and more than a little playfulness, Vila-Matas’s short fiction reveals an artisan as comfortable (and as skillful) in brevity as he is in longer form. Vampire in Love ably demonstrates the wide variety of storytelling hues available on Vila-Matas’s literary palette.
—Jeremy Garber, Three Percent
Vila-Matas seems determined to test that faith, crafting tales of surrealist noir in which virtually anything can happen except happiness.
—The New Yorker
Rare is a talent with supernatural ability to bring fuse genre and literary fiction, but Vila-Matas does it effortlessly. Be prepared to have your breath taken away…
—Michael Barron, The Culture Trip
He equips both with shreds of certainty, wisps of desire, then sends them spinning into a world of blurred categories, strange tempos, multiplying selves, confused identities. His are lands in which everything is contested, and where absences – whether in the form of romantic loss, thwarted hopes, memory, failure or death – are pervasive, patient, often inevitable.
—Matthew Adams, The National
These stories swerve in unexpected directions… Vila-Matas fills his fiction with forlorn characters, yet never have so many stories about distressed personalities been so incredibly amusing.
Readers not befuddled by the twists and turns Vila-Matas packs into a few pages are likely to be enchanted by narrators who are never quite trustworthy (‘I treated other people’s memories as mine, and that is why I can now boast of having had a life’), offbeat setups, and brilliant language. Odd stories with a bite: cynical, funny, and often puzzling.
Vila-Matas’s excellence is an undisputed fact.
The tremendously touching characters in Enrique Vila-Matas's novels—who stumble from one place to the next, not really sure where they are going, but always on a quest—are so deeply comical on the one hand, and so deeply poignant on the other, that you just have to give yourself up to it because you're in the hands of a master.
One of Spain’s most distinguished novelists.
—Rachel Nolan, The New York Times
With his ironic worldview and playful sense of fatality, Vila-Matas’s reputation as a writer of intellectually stimulating but accessible novels looks set to grow among English-language readers.