November 28, 2012

30 Books in 30 Days: "The Barcelona Brothers," by Carlos Zanon

(CCLaP publishes mini-reviews of both books and movies on a regular basis, none lasting more than a few hundred words. A full list of CCLaP's book-based mini-reviews can be found on its main book page, and movies on the main movie page.)

The Barcelona Brothers, by Carlos Zanon

The Barcelona Brothers
By Carlos Zanon
Other Press

Carlos Zanon's new The Barcelona Brothers is a fascinating update of a traditional literary genre; specifically, it's a slow-moving, character-heavy noir, but set within the dark rainbow of the lowlife people of color who populate the poor sections of urban southern Europe, in this case the barrios that ring the tourist-friendly Spanish city of Barcelona. As such, then, the point is not really the minimalist plot on display, even with the clever nature of revealing this plot (a man beats a friend to death in a bar with a hammer in the first five pages then flees, his brother traveling through the poor sections of the city trying to find him, with the rest of the book slowly revealing why the act of violence took place), but rather to wallow in the sophisticated world-building that Zanon does here, a surprisingly leisurely and very literary look at the pockets of EU urban desperation that most Europeans would prefer you never think about. Powerful in a roundabout way, but rough around the edges like any good noir should be, it comes recommended to fans of Raymond Carver who are looking for a smart update of what by now can sometimes be some pretty cliched tropes.

Out of 10: 8.9

Filed by Jason Pettus at 1:45 PM, November 28, 2012. Filed under: Literature | Literature:Fiction | Reviews |