Arrebato [madrid]

Juan Soto Ivars

I used to live in Madrid, but now I only go when I’m able, and feel like it. When I get there I perform certain rituals, like a pilgrim arriving at Santiago de Compostela. One is to have a beer at a great bar called Pepe Botella, and another is to give in to the temptation of Arrebato (“Rapture”), a bookstore on La Palma street, right in the middle of Malasaña. It’s a second-hand bookstore, but that second hand has a soft touch. Pepe, the bookseller, finds objects of value to the literary sybarite and offers them up for sale instead of keeping them for himself, which is what I would do. It’s not like Tipos Infames, a nearby bookstore with a Michelin star for selling new work. It’s a space for exploration, a place where you never know what you’re going to find. Pepe knows everything about Spanish and Spanish American poetry, and laughs a little when he sees me with the Stephen King novels I scoop up from this fount to feed my collection spilling from my arms. I tell him I’m a bit of a freak, and he indulges me. Then we get to talking about poets, about our friend Ajo Micropoetisa, and about the situation in Spain. Arrebato is my School of Continuing Education.

I did penance there, once.

Madrid. 24-01-2012 --- El escritor Juan Soto Ivars en la librer

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Arrebato Libros – La Palma 21 – Madrid

JuanJuan Soto Ivars is a writer and journalist from Murcia, Spain. He is the author of the novels Ajedrez para un detective novato (Seville’s 2013 Ateneo Prize for a novel by a young writer, forthcoming), Siberia (awarded the Storm Prize as a literary discovery in 2012) and La conjetura de Perelman; he also edited the anthology Mi madre es un pez with Sergi Bellver. He was named one of the best young writers of 2012 by El Cultural and by his grandmother. He knows how to read and write.
Cleary photo MAR14Heather Cleary has published translations and literary criticism with Two Lines, Words Without Borders, and Music & Literature, among other publications. She was awarded a PEN Translation Fund grant in 2005 for her work with the poetry of Oliverio Girondo, and her translation of Sergio Chejfec’s The Planets was a finalist for the Best Translated Book Award. More recently, her translations of Chejfec’s The Dark, nominated for ALTA’s National Translation Award, and Poems to Read on a Streetcar, a pamphlet of Girondo’s poetry (New Directions 2014) have made their way into bookstores. She holds a PhD in Latin American and Iberian Cultures from Columbia University.


Published on August 23rd of 2013 in Shelf Love.



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