Is Spain a massive nihilist literary experiment?

Lenox comments on Almería’s latest tourism whizz: the incomprehensible in pursuit of the inexistent, perhaps. For some reason this recalled Milorad Pavić’s Dictionary of the Khazars, a wearisome metaphor for the failure of Serbia, which I wouldn’t necessarily recommend – I can’t even remember whether I was given the male or the female edition. Some of the Khazars are said to have made it to Spain, but it would be hard to blame the sins of Pavić and Spanish public administrations on them.

Update: Candide says buy, so here’s a link.

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Last updated 15/12/2011

This post pre-dates my organ-grinding days, and may be imported from elsewhere.

Ayuntamiento de Almería (2):

Barcelona (1399):

English language (462):

Föcked Translation (414): I posted to a light-hearted blog called Fucked Translation over on Blogger from 2007 to 2016, when I was often in Barcelona. Its original subtitle was "What happens when Spanish institutions and businesses give translation contracts to relatives or to some guy in a bar who once went to London and only charges 0.05€/word." I never actually did much Spanish-English translation (most of my work is from Dutch, French and German) but I was intrigued and amused by the hubristic Spanish belief, then common, that nepotism and quality went hand in hand, and by the nemeses that inevitably followed.

Spain (1881):

Spanish language (504):

Translation (788):


  1. Yeah.

    BUT… some people might actually be interested in dis shit. Like working out which buildings were where in Pl. Catalunya based on Orwell's descriptions. I mean, it's niche obnov but still. It could be more interesting than much of what actually is there.

  2. I confess that Google cartography has got me hooked on the whole virtual tourism thing, and all I require is for timelines to go 3D with the built environment.

  3. For some reason I am reminded of Pavic every day. Maybe because I live in Catalonia and Pavic asked how comes that Germans were allowed to unify, and Serbs (literary: Khazars) are not. And because he claimed that Serbs should make literally every effort to unite in one state.

    "Ne sme se u ime tzv. mirne budućnosti žrtvovati vlastiti interes."* Into Catalan and Basque that would translate more or less as "if Spain messes up and sends in the tanks we'll win a lot [of sympathy]".

    Maybe I'm tediously bringing this topic into my playground again, but the similarities are right there. And yes, I would recommend Pavic's book -plus a reading of the ensuing 25 years of Balkan history- to everyone in Spain, especially those Khazars like Basques, Catalans and Galicians. With a plea: would you please look at the outcome!

    Almería-Pl. Catalunya… That's not Pavic, just Spanish romanticism vs Spanish de/construction frenzy, as if anybody cared.

    *"One must not, in the name of a so-called peaceful future, sacrifice one's own interests."

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