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Manuel Vázquez Montalbán: Wikis


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Manuel Vázquez Montalbán (Barcelona, July 27, 1939 - Bangkok, October 18, 2003) was a prolific Spanish writer: journalist, novelist, poet, essayist, anthologue, prologist, humourist, critic, as well as a gastronome and a FC Barcelona supporter. He studied Philosophy at Universidad Autònoma de Barcelona and was also a member of the Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia. For many years, he contributed columns and articles to the Madrid-based daily newspaper El País. He died in Bangkok, Thailand, while returning to his home country from a speaking tour of Australia. His last book, La aznaridad, was published posthumously. [1]


The poet

He began writing poetry in 1967. He is one of the Novísimos from Jose María Castellet and his production is characterized by:

  • The recreational sense
  • Irony
  • A critic and testimonial load.

His poetic works until 1986 are collected in Memoria y deseo (Memory and desire).

The novelist

The same characteristic features of his poetry appear in his novels. His narrative productions, apart from the renowned Pepe Carvalho series, includes Galíndez (1991), winner of the National Narrative Award; El estrangulador (The strangler) (1994) and Erec y Enide (Erec and Enide) (2002).

Carvalho Series

The first novel featuring the 50 year old gastronome-detective Pepe Carvalho is Yo maté a Kennedy (I killed Kennedy) in 1972, followed by Tatuaje (Tattoo) in 1975 and La soledad del manager (The Angst-Ridden Executive) in 1977.

Los Mares del Sur (The South Seas) won the Planeta Award in 1979, bringing fame for both the writer and the character, who would later be portrayed in films, TV series and comic strips.

The rest of the saga is as follows:

  • Asesinato en el Comité Central (Murder in the Central Committee) 1981
  • Los pájaros de Bangkok (The Birds of Bangkok) 1983
  • La rosa de Alejandría (Alexandria's Rose) 1984
  • El balneario (The Spa) 1986
  • El delantero centro fue asesinado al atardecer 1989
  • El laberinto griego (The Greek Labyrinth) 1991
  • Sabotaje olímpico (Olympic Sabotage) 1993
  • El hermano pequeño (The Little Brother) 1994
  • El Premio (The Prize) 1996
  • Quinteto de Buenos Aires (Buenos Aires Quintet) 1997
  • El hombre de mi vida (The Man of My Life) 2000
  • Milenio Carvalho (Carvalho Millennium) 2004, edited in two parts.

The gastronome

Vázquez Montalbán was also a gastronome. Gastronomical references can be found in all the novels of the Pepe Carvalho series, which include some unforgettable recipes such as the "rice tagliatelle fideuà" that Carvalho prepares in Los pájaros de Bangkok. He displays all his gastronomic knowledge, with erudition and humility, in Contra los Gourmets (Against Gourmets), an initiation in the world of gastronomy. Contra los Gourmets concentrates on Spanish cuisine, but covers international cuisine, traditional cuisine and nouvelle cuisine. He even considers eating fashions such as "healthy food" and "light products". Other gastronomic works by Montalbán are Cocina Catalana (Catalan Cuisine) and Recetas inmorales (Immoral recipes).

The essayist

He wrote essays about journalism, politics, sociology, sports, history, cuisine, biographies, literature or music. His first essay, Informe sobre la Información (Report about Information) (1963) is still one of the best studies on journalism ever published in Spain. Some of his other works are:

  • Crónica sentimental de España (Sentimental Chronicle of Spain), 1971
  • Joan Manuel Serrat, 1972
  • El libro gris de Televisión Española (The Grey TV Book), 1973
  • Diccionario del Franquismo, (Dictionary of the Franco times) 1977
  • Panfleto desde el planeta de los simios (Pamphlet from the Planet of the Apes), 1995
  • Un polaco en la corte del rey Juan Carlos (A Pole in the Court of King Juan Carlos), 1996, an analysis of the political life in Madrid, in the last years of Felipe González's government.
  • Y Dios entró en La Habana (And God entered La Habana), 1998, about Cuba, Fidel Castro and the visit of the Pope John Paul II.
  • Marcos: el señor de los espejos (Marcos: the Lord of the Mirrors), 1999.

Awards in his name

To commemorate him, the Colegio de Periodistas de Cataluńa has awarded the Manuel Vázquez Montalbán International Journalism Award since 2004. The award in two categories:

  • Sport Journalism.
  • Cultural and/or Political Journalism.

Also, the Italian writer Andrea Camilleri called his main character Salvo Montalbano in honour of him.

Books that are confirmed as available in English

  • Tattoo (Tatuaje) 1975
  • The Angst-Ridden Executive (La soledad del manager) 1977
  • Southern Seas (Los Mares del Sur) 1979
  • Murder in the Central Committee (Asesinato en el Comité Central) 1981
  • Offside" (El delantero centro fue asesinado al atardecer) 1989
  • An Olympic Death (El laberinto griego) 1992
  • The Buenos Aires Quintet (Quinteto de Buenos Aires) 1997


External links

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