Tomeo, Javier 1932(?)-

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TOMEO, Javier 1932(?)-

PERSONAL: Born 1932 (some sources say 1935), in Quicena, Huesca, Spain. Education: Attended University of Barcelona.

ADDRESSES: Home—Barcelona, Spain. Agent— Editorial Anagrama S.A., Pedró de la Creu, 58, 08034 Barcelona, Spain. E-mail—[email protected].

CAREER: Novelist.

AWARDS, HONORS: Best Short Novel of the Year, City of Barbastro, 1971, for El unicornio; Premio Aragaon, 1994.


El cazador, Ediciones Marte (Barcelona, Spain), 1967, reprinted, Mira Editores (Zaragoza, Spain), 1993.

Ceguera al azul, Ediciones Picazo (Barcelona, Spain), 1969.

El unicornio, Editorial Bruguera (Barcelona, Spain), 1971.

Los enemigos, Editorial Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1974, reprinted, 1991.

El castillo de la carta cifrada (title means "The Coded Letter"), Editorial Anagrama (Barcelona, Spain), 1979, reprinted, 1998, translation by Anthony Edkins included in The Coded Letter; and Dear Monster, Carcanet (Manchester, England), 1991.

Diálogo en re mayor, Editorial Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1980, reprinted, Editorial Anagrama (Barcelona, Spain), 1998.

Amado monstruo (title means "Dear Monster"), Editorial Anagrama (Barcelona, Spain), 1985, translation by Anthony Edkins included in The Coded Letter; and Dear Monster, Carcanet (Manchester, England), 1991.

Preparativos de viaje, Editorial Anagrama (Barcelona, Spain), 1986.

El cazador de leones, Editorial Anagrama (Barcelona, Spain), 1987.

Historias mínimas, Mondadori (Madrid, Spain), 1988.

Bestiario, Mondadori (Madrid, Spain), 1988.

La ciudad de las palomas, Editorial Anagrama (Barcelona, Spain), 1989.

El mayordomo míope, Editorial Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1990.

Problemas oculars, Editorial Anagrama (Barcelona, Spain), 1990.

El discutido testamento de Gastón de Puyparlier, Editorial Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1990.

El gallitigre, Editorial Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1990.

Patio de butacas, Editorial Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1991.

Zoopatías y zoofilias, Mondadori (Madrid, Spain), 1992.

La agonía de Proserpina, Editorial Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1993.

El nuevo bestiario, Editorial Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1994.

Los reyes del huerto, Editorial Planeta (Barcelona, Spain), 1994.

El crimen del cine Oriente, Plaza y Janés (Barcelona, Spain), 1994.

Los bosques de NYX, Xordica Editorial (Zaragoza, Spain), 1995.

El alfabeto, Xordica Editorial (Zaragoza, Spain), 1995.

Conversaciones con mi amigo Ramón, Huerga & Fierro (Madrid, Spain), 1995.

La máquina voladora, Editorial Anagrama (Barcelona, Spain), 1996.

Nuevas aventuras de Simbad el Marino, Montesinos (Barcelona, Spain), 1996.

Los misterios de la ópera, Editorial Anagrama (Barcelona, Spain), 1997.

El canto de las tortugas, Editorial Anagrama (Barcelona, Spain), 1998.

Napoleón VII, Editorial Anagrama (Barcelona, Spain), 1999.

La rebelión de los rábanos, Ediciones Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 1999.

La patria de las hormigas, Editorial Anagrama (Barcelona, Spain), 2000.

Patíbulo interior, Ediciones Destino (Barcelona, Spain), 2000.

La soledad de los pirómanos, Espasa Calpe (Madrid, Spain), 2001.

Cuentos perversos, Editorial Anagrama (Barcelona, Spain), 2002.

Tomeo's books have been translated into German, Dutch, Italian, Portuguese, English, Hebrew, and French.

ADAPTATIONS: The novels Amado monstruo, El cazador de leones, El gallitigre, Los Bosques de NYX, Diálogo en re mayor, and El castillo de la carta cifrada have been adapted for the stage by Jean Jacques Nichet. El crimen del cine Oriente has been made into a film by Pedro Costa.

WORK IN PROGRESS: La Mirada de la muñeca hinchable.

SIDELIGHTS: "The adjective singular is frequently applied to Javier Tomeo, and his highly original sense of humor sets him apart from most of his contemporaries," wrote Kathleen M. Glenn in Hispania. This opinion seems to be a common consensus among critics, who often compare Tomeo to Thomas Bernard, Luis Buñuel, Franz Kafka, and Francisco Goya.

Since his first novel, El cazador, was published in 1967, Tomeo has been placed on the periphery of Spanish literary life, though he is a prolific writer and has received critical accolades for his work. A candidate for the 1999 Nobel Prize in literature, he has never won a major literary prize in Spain, and he suffers generally from a lack of recognition in his home country. Even the definitive Enciclopedia de la Novela Española fails to mention Tomeo.

Tomeo has created a "distinctive literary formula," according to Glenn. His novels tend to be composed either as a monologue, or a dialogue between two people in which one person tries to dominate the other. Glenn noted his sparse themes are restricted to "loneliness, lack of communication, [and] the absurdity of the human condition," and that Tomeo often repeats "situations, motifs, images, even quips." Misogyny is another recurring theme in Tomeo's novels.

In El crimen del cine Oriente, Tomeo tells the story of two people involved in a relationship of convenience. Rafael M. Gonzalez wrote in Library Journal that the novel contains "many Spanish clichés," but "good dialog appears throughout."

In an interview for El Mundo Tomeo recounted that he began writing social realism during the Franco years, a time noted for its rampant censorship and conformity among Spanish writers. Tomeo was told by a friend, however, that authors such as Pereda were writing far better in this style than Tomeo was. Tomeo then began reading foreign authors like Kafka, Camus, Beckett, Poe, and Ionesco. "I began writing in my own strange, eccentric, and certainly marginal style," Tomeo said. "The way I see it," he continued, "to write is to open a window and write down what you see to those who don't have the luck or the misfortune to be there. A writer can describe a landscape, for example, with realistic fidelity, or, like me, can describe it as it feels, so often deformed and exaggerated."

Many critics find Tomeo's novels to be similar to each other, parodies of loneliness and the inability to communicate. The author responded in El Mundo: "It's said that a writer is, in fact, always writing the same book. . . . I don't understand the hurry of some writers to distinguish themselves by a continual reinventing of their style." Tomeo's novels were called addictive by one critic. "In fact, I have a group of very devoted readers," Tomeo add.



Estreno, spring, 1993, Angeles Encinar, interview with Javier Tomeo, p. 36.

Hispania, September, 1994, Kathleeen M. Glenn, review of La agonía de Proserpina, pp. 459-460; December, 1999, Francisco Javier Aiguero, review of Los misterios de la ópera, p. 794.

Hispanic Journal, fall, 1992, Marta E. Altisent, "ElCazador de leones de Javier Tomeo, o la imposible seduccion de la interlocutora," pp. 309-322.

Insula, July-August, 1980, Luis Sunen, "Fernando G. Delgado y Javier Tomeo," pp. 11-12.

Library Journal, July, 1996, Rafael M. Gonzalez, review of El crimen del Oriente, p. 96.

New York Times Book Review, October 27, 1991, Ilan Stavans, review of The Coded Letter; and Dear Monster, p. 20.

Tropelius, Volume 1, 1990, José Maria Pozuela Yvancos, "Tetralogia de la soledad: Introduccion a la narrative de Javier Tomeo," pp. 177-198.


El Mundo, (March 4, 2002), interview with Javier Tomeo.

Javier Tomeo, (September 16, 2002).*