Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner

Leaving the Atocha Station

Ben Lerner

An original and entertaining debut novel, at turns funny, poignant and featuring violent scenes from Madrid bombings. American poet Adam faces many challenges on his year's fellowship in Spain including an imperfect knowledge of the language! It's hard to warm to his drug and alcohol fuelled character at times but he has some great quirky friends. Lovely descriptions of his travels in Granada, Cordoba and Barcelona and an upbeat ending.

Extract

What are you doing in Madrid, he said. Here I delivered a version of the answer I had memorized for my Spanish exam in Providence, a long answer composed by a fluent friend, regarding the significance of the Spanish Civil War, about which I knew nothing, for a generation of writers, few of whom I'd read; I intended to write I explained, a long, research-driven poem exploring the war's literary legacy. It was an answer of of considerable grammatical complexity, describing the significance of my project in the conditional, the past subjunctive, and the future tense.

Parallels
  • The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  • La Flor de mi Secreto - the film
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Violence
Explicit sexual content