Monzó, Joaquim 1952- (Quim Monzó)

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MONZÓ, Joaquim 1952- (Quim Monzó)


PERSONAL: Born March 24, 1952, in Barri Sans, Barcelona, Spain.


ADDRESSES: Offıce—c/o Author Mail, Quaderns Crema, Ferran Valls I, Taberner 8, Barcelona 8006, Spain.


CAREER: Novelist, journalist, and scriptwriter. Worked as a graphic artist, photo editor, and war correspondent.


WRITINGS:


as quim monzÓ


L'udol del griso al caire de les clavegueres (novel), Edicions 62 (Barcelona, Spain), 1976.

(With Biel Mesquida) Self-Service (short stories), Iniciatives Editoriales (Barcelona, Spain), 1977.

Uf, va dir ell (short stories; title means "Oof, He Said"), Quaderns Crema (Barcelona, Spain), 1978.

Olivetti, Moulinex, Chaffoteaux et Maury (short stories), Quaderns Crema (Barcelona, Spain), 1980, translation by Mary Ann Newman published as O'Clock, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1986.

Benzina (novel; title means "Gasoline"), Quaderns Crema (Barcelona, Spain), 1983.

El dia del senyor (articles), Quaderns Crema (Barcelona, Spain), 1984.

L'illa de Maians (short stories), Quaderns Crema (Barcelona, Spain), 1985.

Zzzzzzzz (articles), Quaderns Crema (Barcelona, Spain), 1987.

La magnitud de la tragèdia (novel), Quaderns Crema (Barcelona, Spain), 1989.

La maleta turca (articles; title means "The Turkish Suitcase"), Quaderns Crema (Barcelona, Spain), 1990.

Hotel Intercontinental (articles), Quaderns Crema (Barcelona, Spain), 1991.

El perquè de tot plegat (short stories; title means "The Why of It All"), Quaderns Crema (Barcelona, Spain), 1993.

No plantaré cap arbre (articles; title means "I Will Not Plant Any Tree"), Quaderns Crema (Barcelona, Spain), 1994.

Guadalajara (short stories), Quaderns Crema (Barcelona, Spain), 1996.

Del tot indefens davant dels hostils imperis alienígenes (articles; title means "Completely Defenseless before Hostile Alien Empires"), Quaderns Crema (Barcelona, Spain), 1998.

Vuitanta—sis contes (short stories; contains "Uf, va dir ell," "Olivetti, Moulinex, Chaffoteaux et Maury," "L'illa de Maians," "El perquè de tot plegat," and "Guadalajara"), Quaderns Crema (Barcelona, Spain), 1999.

Tot és mentida (articles; title means "It's All a Lie"), Quaderns Crema (Barcelona, Spain), 2000.

El millor dels mons (short stories; title means "The Best of Worlds"), Quaderns Crema (Barcelona, Spain), 2001.

Contributor to books, including Relatos urbanos, Alfaguara (Buenos Aires, Argentina), 1994; Pep Trujillo: pinturas, Galeria Maeght (Barcelona, Spain), 1992; and El lloro, el moro, el mico i el senyor de Puerto Rico, Editorial Empúries (Barcelona, Spain), 2001. Contributor of column "El Runrún" to La Vanguardia. Author of screenplays and radio plays.

Author's works have been translated into Basque, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Galician, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Russian, Spanish, and Swedish.


translator


Ray Bradbury, Les cròniques marcianes (translation of The Martian Chronicles), Editorial Proa (Barcelona, Spain), 2000.

J. D. Salinger, Nou contes (translation of Nine Stories), Editorial Empúries (Barcelona, Spain), 2001.

Thomas Hardy, Jude, l'obscur (translation of Jude the Obscure), Edicions 62 (Barcelona, Spain), 2002.

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein, Edicions de la Magrana, 1983.


SIDELIGHTS: Over the course of his writing career, Joaquim Monzó has become Catalonia's best-known living author. His sardonic, postmodern novels and books of stories and essays—published under the name Quim Monzó—have sold more than 600,000 copies.

The Barcelona native began his writing career as a war correspondent in the early 1970s, publishing articles in the Spanish media from locations such as Vietnam, Cambodia, and Northern Ireland. Monzó tackled fiction several years later when he wrote his first novel, L'udol del griso al caire de les clavegueres. In 1977 he collaborated with fellow—Majorcan—Catalan writer Biel Mesquida on Self-Service, a book of short stories. Monzó is considered part of Spain's Generació dels '70, the group of writers who emerged as the Franco regime withered.

Monzó's novel Benzina was published in 1983, following his extended stay in New York City. Not surprisingly, the book is set in New York, and concerns a pair of up-and-coming artists, each successively married to the same woman, a modern art promoter. Although both men owe their meteoric ascensions to stardom to their capable wife, when poised to reap the benefits of their success they confront an existential crisis in the form of impotence and an inability to create new work. In Forum for Modern Language Studies, contributor Josep-Anton Fernández related the theme of the novel to a demographic fact: that writers and readers of books in Catalan are increasingly women. Monzó's novel articulates "certain anxieties of male authorship in a period of definitional crisis, affecting both hegemonic masculinity and the Catalan cultural field," the critic conjectured.

While Benzina uses the phenomenon of impotence to examine the postmodern male predicament, excessive potency is the problem in Monzó's next book, 1989's La magnitud de la tragèdia. In this novel an otherwise ordinary middle-aged man suddenly finds himself with a permanent erection. After enjoying his new potency for some weeks, the protagonist reluctantly visits a doctor at the urging of his lover. The diagnosis: "Sciamscia syndrome," a rare degenerative disease that will kill the man within two months. In an interview with a Spanish newspaper, Monzó claimed the protagonist's priapic erection to be "an emblem of the human condition, of the thirst for life" and its inevitable frustration. In a review of the book on the online Lletre, Manel Ollé praised the novel for its elegant writing "from a savage joy, from a lucid pessimism, not at all masochistic."

Monzó has affirmed his preference for the short story form, which dominates his body of work. His stories, collected in several books, plumb the neurotic, erotic, and absurd. For instance, a story collected in the 1980 anthology Olivetti, Moulinex, Chaffoteaux et Maury concerns a nasty "Dear John" letter within which an ex-girlfriend details the great sex life with her new man and mockingly reminds her jilted lover of his pledge to commit suicide. The letter is delivered to a man who has just killed himself. In his review of Monzó's 1996 short-story collection Guadalajara in World Literature Today, Mark Juditz explained that the writer "has given intense thought to all the ways human beings can fail to communicate and the ways he can communicate that failure."

Some of Monzó's stories reflect his taste for the metafiction of his literary idols Robert Coover and Donald Barthelme. "Monarquia," collected in 2000's Vuitanta—sis contes, is a fractured postscript to the Cinderella fairy tale. Here the former Prince Charming neglects his beautiful queen and turns his attentions to men with "big shoes" (homosexuals).

Beside writing his own fiction, Monzó has translated several classic English-language novels into Catalan, including Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure and Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles. He has also worked extensively on scripts for radio and television and become a minor media personality in the process. The most regular forum for Monzó is the column he writes for the Spanish-language daily La Vanguardia in Barcelona. The column, "El Runrún," serves as a bully pulpit for the writer's views on topics ranging from politics to art to the frustrations of daily life in Catalonia. They are often written with a sarcastic tone, a fact that has earned the author his share of controversy.

Monzó has repeatedly expressed his doubts about the survival of the Catalan language. "It's in full agony," he told Jim Blake in an interview for the BarcelonaReview. "At times I think that the Yiddish writers, like [Isaac Bashevis] Singer must have felt something like I feel: that under my feet the country is disappearing."


BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:


periodicals


Forum for Modern Language Studies, July, 1998, Josep-Anton Fernández, "My Tragedy Is Bigger than Yours: Masculinity in Trouble and the Crisis of Male Authorship in Quim Monzó's Novels," pp. 262-273.

Los Angeles Times Book Review, June 15, 1986, Jonathan Kirsch, review of O'Clock, p. 9.

Publishers Weekly, February 28, 1986, review of O'Clock, p. 121.

World Literature Today, spring, 1987, Albert M. Forcadas, review of O'Clock, pp. 269-270; autumn, 1997, Mark Juditz, review of Guadalajara, p. 772; spring, 2000, Albert M. Forcadas, review of Vuitanta-sis contes, pp. 452-454.


other


Association of Writers in the Catalan Language Web site,http://www.escriptors.com/ (June, 2002), "Quim Monzó."

Barcelona Review,http://www.BarcelonaReview.com/ (May, 1997), Jim Blake, interview with Quim Monzó.

Lletra,http://www.uoc.edu/lletra/ (August 28, 2002), Manel Ollé, "Quim Monzó."*

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Monzó, Joaquim 1952- (Quim Monzó)

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