Kinna Reads

A blog of books, reading and world literature

Short Monday: Two Stories by Quim Monzò

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The April 2010 issue of Words Without Borders featured two short stories by the Catalan writer Quim Monzò. I’ve been looking for more fiction by Catalan writers after reading and loving The Time of the Doves by Mercè Rodoreda. Quim Monzò is a contemporary writer of novels, short stories and essays. Two of his novels, The Enormity of the Tragedy and Gasoline, are available in English. Now to the stories.

In the first story, Mr. Beneset, a man visits his ailing father in a nursing home. Throughout the visit, the father, Mr. Beneset, applies makeup, dresses in women’s clothes and rants about life in the nursing home. The story is quite unexpected and a delight to read. It has a laid-back tone with an easy-to-read narrative.

They kiss, the son half turns, starts to walk away, stops at the door, turns back, waves to his father, closes the door, and uses the tissue to wipe the lipstick his father’s kiss left on his cheek. As the son enters the elevator, Mr. Beneset takes out his toiletries case and begins to mend his hangnails. Then he cuts and files his fingernails. Next he opens the bottle of nail polish and applies the first coat. He starts on the pinky of his left hand and ends on the pinky of his right. When the first coat is dry, he puts on the second.

The second story, Honesty, is set in a hospital, where a head nurse weighs the inconvenience of acknowledging and processing the death of a patient on her ward against the pleasure of leaving on time for her date. A funny story with an unforeseen ending.

This is why, if she announces that the patient in Room 93 is dead, whether she likes it or not she’ll have to stay quite a bit longer, even if the next shift, which comes on in fifteen minutes, has arrived. The dead mean paperwork. These are not things that can be resolved in a hurry. And that means she’ll be late for the date.

The translators of the stories are Lisa Dillman and Mary Ann Newman.  I liked these stories and if they are indicators of Monzò’s work, then I look forward to reading his longer works.

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Author: Kinna

I'm a bibliophile who reads and reviews international, contemporary and classic literary fiction. I'm partial to the works of African women writers.

6 thoughts on “Short Monday: Two Stories by Quim Monzò

  1. I had never heard of “World Without Borders”, however, it looks really interesting. I have bookmarked it to revisit at a time that I have the time to read it.

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  2. they publish some wonderful storys words without ,all the best stu

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  3. What great stories! The second one sounds especially funny, from that quote.

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  4. I just discovered your blog when Iris mentioned you about short story recommendations :-). Fantastic!

    I found out about Words Without Borders from their very good “Ecco Anthology of International Poetry” volume, and have since visited their website a couple times. I now know I need to go there more regularly!

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  5. Pingback: On Completing 100 ‘Shots of Short’ « Kinna Reads

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