22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Andrés Barba

Andrés Barba was born in Madrid, Spain, in 1975. He obtained a degree in Spanish Philology, and then studied Philosophy. He went on to teach at Bowdoin College, in Maine, USA. Barba’s writing first attracted attention with the publication of his novella, “El hueso que más duele” (1997; t: The Bone that Most Hurts), which came out when the author had just turned twenty. It won the Ramón J. Sender prize for narrative. From the start critics praised his brutally honest tone, realist style and remarkable insight into human relationships. His second novel, “La hermana de Katia” (2001; t. Katia’s Sister), was a finalist for the XIX Premio Herralde de Novela 2001, and was very well received by the reading public as well as by the press. The novel tells the story of a fourteen year old girl who lives in a small flat in Madrid with her sister – who by night does stripteases – and their prostitute mother. Although narrated in the third person, we are told of the girl’s thoughts, fears, desires and sensations – and yet she remains anonymous, referred to simply as “Katia’s sister”. Critics have praised the novel’s astonishingly convincing portrayal of innocence. “La recta intención” (2002; t. The Honest Intention) was Barba’s third book. It is comprised of four novellas in which the author deals with such themes as lack of communication, guilt, fear of getting close to others, fear of being rejected by one’s beloved, an obsession with personal fortitude, and the inability to forgive. The tales have been called “authentic parables of modern times”. His novel, “Ahora tocad música de baile” (2004; t. Now Play a Dance Tune), tackles the theme of Alzheimer’s, an illness which befalls the protagonist, Inés Fonseca. It is as much a domestic novel as a psychological exploration, and the story is told through three alternating voices and at four different stages of the illness. The narrative gaps serve as a way of mapping Inés’ mental deterioration, which becomes more apparent and severe with each installment. For this novel, Barba was praised for his sharp realism, reinforced by his refusal to be superficial or banal. The young author currently teaches at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid. He was awarded the Torrente Ballester Prize for his recent novel “Versiones de Teresa” (2006; t: Versions of Teresa). His work has been translated into English, French, German, Serbian, Dutch and Italian.

© international literature festival berlin