Marcelo, a clerk in a Barcelona office who might himself have emerged from a novel by Kafka, inhabits a world peopled by characters in literature. He once wrote a novel about the impossibility of love, but since then he has written nothing. He has, in short, become a 'Bartleby', so named after the character in Herman Melville's short story who, when asked to do something, always replied: 'I would prefer not to.'
One day Marcelo sets out to make a search through literature for all those other possible Bartlebys, and with this in mind he has the engagingly original notion of keeping a diary and writing footnotes to an invisible text. His references to authors, both real and invented, provide the reader with extravagant doses of humour that are at once hilarious, irreverent and stimulating.
Enrique Vila-Matas was born in Barcelona in 1948. His extraordinary literary oeuvre includes Bartlby & Co, Montano and Never Any End to Paris, winner of the same Premio Romulo Gallegos that catapulted his friend Roberto Bolano to international renown. He has been translated into 30 languages.