The Quarterly Conversation is in constant vertiginous motion from A.G. Porta’s The No World Concerto

The No World Concerto, Spanish novelist A.G. Porta’s first novel to be translated into English, is a complex fictional riff on games, possible worlds, and the art of fiction itself. Porta is best known among English-language readers as an early collaborator with Roberto Bolaño, and, like Bolaño, he pays tribute to the innovations of the high modernists without exactly emulating them. The No World Concerto is structured as a Matryoshka doll, or as a hall of mirrors, fuguing seamlessly between authorial narration, third-person reportage, and inner monologue, a structure that becomes head-clutchingly complex when you consider that its two protagonists are writers with fictions in progress. The novel is set in Paris, but a Paris that resembles a half-constructed film set, referred to throughout as “the neighboring country’s capital,” with even the tactile pleasures of the place-names stripped away. Getting lost in this novel is a more dire possibility than the phrase usually implies.

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