A tremendous introduction to twenty-eight of the most influential Spanish-language authors of the twentieth century, A Thousand Forests in One Acorn combines interviews with these authors—about their influences, about what they're trying to accomplish with their writing (the "Acorn")—with each author's "favorite piece ever written" (the "Thousand Forests").
So, in addition to reading excerpts from Javier Marías's best works (Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me, Dark Back of Time), you get to hear his reasons for why he thinks these are the best (the explanation for the bit from Tomorrow will change the way you read forever) and how his work as a translator (he translated Tristram Shandy into Spanish) has impacted his writing style.
Along with the Spanish-language authors who have already made a name for themselves in English—Carlos Fuentes, Mario Vargas Llosa, Enrique Vila-Matas, Ana María Matute—this collection includes a dozen authors never before translated into English. Authors like Elvio Gandolfo, whose story about a whale suddenly appearing over the town of Rosario ("I tried to make something impossible, at least in terms of the physical laws and limits we are bound by at this moment in science and history, plausible") is one of the many highlights of the volume.
Great for teaching and for anyone interested in Spanish-language literature as a whole, this is an indispensible anthology—one that will influence writers for decades to come.
Valerie Miles is the co-founder of Granta en español and was voted one of the "Most Influential Professionals in Publishing" at the 2013 Buenos Aires Book Fair.
Here's a list of all contributors in this volume in alphabetical order:
Jose de la Colina
Cristina Fernandez Cubas
Alfredo Bryce Echenique
Rafael Sanchez Ferlosio
Ana Maria Matute
Jose Maria Merino
Antonio Munoz Molina
Horacio Castellanos Moya
Alberto Ruy Sanchez
Mario Vargas Llosa
“That the Spanish language gave voice to the likes of Cervantes, Borges, García Márquez, and so many other greats of literary fiction is a fact not unlike poetry’s affinity for Russian. Lingua España is to daring tales of adventure and magical realism what sex is to erotica. This outrageously valuable project asked twenty-eight Spanish-language heavyweights of the last half of the twentieth century to choose a favorite piece of their own work, accompanied by some personal words of commentary and reflection.”—Valerie Miles, Foreward Reviews
". . . [T]his was a fascinating overview of contemporary Spanish language fiction and a good introduction to many new authors. There is something here for readers of almost every literary taste . . ." —The Mantle