Biography of Felipe Alfau (1902-1999)

Spanish writer in English and Spanish, born in Barcelona on August 24, 1902 and died on February 18, 1999 in the nursing home in Queens, N.y., where he/she spent nearly two decades. The Alfau family emigrated to the United States in 1916 - during the first war world--in search of work and better opportunities in what then was the promised land, land that already not the writer left. However, the father had given samples above of a restless spirit and traveller, who had led him to reside in Catalonia, Madrid, Salamanca and the Basque country, not to mention the sporadic trips to the Philippines. Felipe Alfau in Madrid and the Basque country stays are revealed in passages of his first novel. Exceptionally, he/she visited Spain in 1959, but its native homeland already did not match that he/she kept in his idealized memory, and returned to New York without too much trouble.

In the United States, he/she studied music; even he/she became music critic for the newspaper La Prensa, which was published in Spanish in New York and had been founded by his father, along with the weekly news. He/She then worked as a translator in a New York Bank; in that city he/she lives after his retirement, held in a nursing home.

It decided to adopt English as a written language and literature as a commercial activity, taken from the illusory claim to make money with it; Old was born such from Spain, published in 1929 in a very carefully by the publishing house Edition, that is accompanied by 17 didujos of Rhea Wells Illustrator.

1936 is the first edition of the novel crazy. A comedy of gestures (' crazy.) A comedy of gestures '), which was written in 1928. His third and final book was the novel Chromos, written in 1948, but it remained unreleased until the 1990s. The very short literary work of Felipe Alfau is not obstacle to be able to assess its merits and quality in spades of their texts.

The novel crazy is a compendium of incardinated texts together with subtlety, it could almost be said that underground. The extravagant and surprising characters of the book (a charming butterflies, a House that coughs, the inventor of digital fingerprints, a necrofila, a poet who is consumed with the arrival of spring,...) are interspersed in different stories and each of them serves to explain a detail more than them, sometimes ambiguous or mistake, barely discernible most of the time. In addition, rebel, mudan, exchanged or Cleave their identity, impose to the author, to the point of confession that he/she is the instrument of their characters and not backward. The author himself enters the pages, sometimes as a character, others as the author is and feel that the existential angst of every writer. In short, and that can be avoided the novelistic de Unamunomemory, it's a game metaliterario that break the plot, undo the linearity of the text and finish with the omnipotence of the literary author, because Alfau knows that all the write will be false, feel, as a true artist, the restlessness that causes the need to write something in whatParadoxically, in the depths of your soul, does not believe.

The barajeo of the characters through the pages of crazy requires great skills of observation to the reader, who must carry out a kind of detective reading to recompose the careful exercise of hints and details that the author offers. The book is admirably built, despite the conscious distortion of space and time.

I know that Felipe Alfau wrote poetry in Spanish, has shown a scholar of his work, although it remains unpublished.


Carmen Martín Gaite has mapped out a set look at the life and work of the nebulous Felipe Alfau in the edition of Spanish tales of yesteryear (Madrid, Siruela, 1998, 3rd ed.), with translations of the above writer.