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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

Soy un escritor frustrado

José Ángel Mañas

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To purchase Soy un escritor frustrado

Title: Soy un escritor frustrado
Author: José Ángel Mañas
Genre: Novel
Written: 1996
Length: 175 pages
Original in: Spanish
Availability: Soy un escritor frustrado - US
Je suis un écrivain frustré - France
Die Geschichte meines unheimlichen Erfolgs - Deutschland
  • Soy un escritor frustrado has not yet been translated into English
  • Soy un escritor frustrado was made into a film, Je suis un écrivain raté, in 2005, directed by Patrick Bouchitey

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Our Assessment:

B : amusing enough, but not quite clever enough

See our review for fuller assessment.

The complete review's Review:

       A university lecturer named J. narrates Soy un escritor frustrado, and he is the frustrated author of the title. A well-respected critic, he also dreams of fame as a novelist but finds himself unable to even make much of a start on a work of fiction; indeed, he's pretty much resigned himself to never making it as a writer. It's all the more galling, because an old friend, Mozart, has managed to become a successful author -- and also got the girl they were both interested in, Carmen.
       J.'s life isn't going all too great. He's respected as a critic and does okay at the university, but that leaves him well short of his ambitions. He has too little money, and a girlfriend, Ana, he doesn't much like (and whom he treats abominably). He drinks a good deal, but that's pretty much his only pleasure.
       Things change when a student, Marian, asks him to read her novel, a manuscript she hasn't shown anyone else yet. It's brilliant, of course, and here J. sees his opportunity to become the author he always wanted to be. The problem with passing the book off as his -- as he plans to do -- is that Marian would know what he had done, and so J. has to act to prevent that. He takes some pretty desperate and nasty measures, but things go his way -- for a while, at least.
       The book is, of course, a sensational success when it comes out, and J. is soon sitting pretty. And other satisfactions come too: just as J. found his inspiration Mozart loses his, and J. gets the girl after all (and can dump Ana). The only problem with success is that everyone soon clamours for the next great work. And that proves a little harder to come by .....
       The final twist is amusing enough, but Soy un escritor frustrado is a bit too predictable -- and Mañas doesn't show enough flair in treating the material. J. isn't very sympathetic, which doesn't help matters, and he gets away with everything a bit easily. There are quite a few good ideas along the way -- including Mozart's decline and Marian's horrible fate -- but none are quite as fully explored as one would wish. J.'s days in the spotlight are also oddly treated, as if this were entirely peripheral, the focus remaining on the simple and domestic -- odd, given how important it supposedly is to him to be recognised as an author.
       Still, a fairly fun story of a sort writer's block, and what some might be willing to do to achieve literary fame.

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Reviews: Je suis un écrivain raté - the film: Jose Angel Manas: Other books of interest under review:
  • See Index of Spanish literature under review

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About the Author:

       Spanish author José Ángel Mañas was born in 1971.

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© 2005-2010 the complete review

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