Chromos

American Literature Series
Felipe Alfau
Introduction by Joseph Coates

A controversial finalist for the National Book Award in 1990, Chromos is one of the true masterpieces of post-World War II fiction. Written in the 1940s but left unpublished until 1990, Chromos anticipated the fictional inventions of a whole American generation: Barth, Coover, Pynchon, Sorrentino, Gaddis.

On one level, Chromos is the American immigration novel par excellence. Its opening line is: “The moment one learns English, complications set in.” He might well have said, “The moment one sets foot in America”: Alfau’s characters are Spanish immigrants who have one leg in Spanish culture and the other in the confusing, warped, unfriendly Nuevo Mundo of New York City, a lost tribe stranded between two mutually hostile worlds.

Chromos is a wildly comic novel, but it’s also strangely apocalyptic, and its comedy is always creeping towards point zero and utter darkness.

Spanish novelist and poet Felipe Alfau (1902-1999) was born in Barcelona, made his living as a translator, and wrote two novels in English, Chromos and Locos.  His work was largely ignored during his lifetime: he made $250 for Locos, and Chromos sat in a desk drawer from 1948 to 1990.  On publication, it was nominated for the 1990 National Book Award.  Alfau died in a New York City nursing home in 1999.

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Details
Introduction by Joseph Coates
Publication: American Literature Series
Format: Paperback / softback
Number of pages: 360
ISBN-13: 9781564782045
GTIN13: 9781564782045
Publication date: 4/1/1990
Language: eng
List price: $13.95