This year PEN International celebrated its century of life. It is an organization with a flag: the defense of freedom of expression. They have brandished their banner numerous times: for example, when in 1992 they forced the Governor of Ontario to pledge to support Salman Rushdie, one of the many writers exiled, persecuted or imprisoned around the world in recent decades. The story of their engagement is now woven into a volume published in Spanish, Basque and Catalan.
This vocation in defense of the most basic rights has a lot to do with that of journalists such as Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang who, from their vantage point in The New York Times, have been reporting on the manipulation that Facebook exerts on public opinion. His research, now brought together in a book, dates back to before the deep Throat Mark Zuckerberg’s company, former employee Frances Haugen, will document the bad practices of the man who wants us to be sent to live in the metaverse.
Another equally dystopian world is the one described by Ricardo Menéndez Salmón in his new novel, a setting where words are censored and the image is crowned as the tyrant of thought. Alone with her own thoughts, Bárbara Mingo went to Lithuania: she was looking for information about the artist in capital letters from that country, Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis, whose paintings gave shape to an authentic parallel universe of musical and esoteric images. In the end, he came to realize that there is little goal when it comes to delving into the realm of creativity.
What is absolutely verifiable is what reporters such as Cruz Morcillo, Guillem Sánchez or Jesús Martínez narrate in their most recent publications: stories as terrifying as those recreated in crime novels, but loaded with the ink of the obvious reality of the one that feed the newspaper pages. They talk about crimes of all kinds, scammers who fall in love with their victims and squatters who sneak into a house when its owner goes out for lunch on any given day.
From campaigns in favor of imprisoned authors to the visibility of women writers. A volume collects the history of the International PEN Club in its centenary. Criticism of Jordi Amat.
“Manipulated” is a book about “Facebook’s battle for world domination”, an investigation carried out by Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang, specialists in cybersecurity and technological regulation who write in “The New York Times”. Criticism of Juan Luis Cebrián.
The book denounces the violation of privacy by the “vultures” to whom we voluntarily give our data, although “they also steal it from us when we try to resist.” Criticism of Juan Luis Cebrián.
Bárbara Mingo follows the trace in Lithuania of the musician and artist Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis. What he finds has never actually been outside, in the outside world. Criticism of Silvia Hernando.
Ricardo Menéndez Salmón draws a dystopian world in which the prohibition of the use of language and its replacement by images leads to the extermination of joy and laughter. Criticism of Domingo de Ródenas Moya.
This book is a trip, hallucinated and hallucinatory, in which we recognize the dreamlike imageries of Kafka or Melville, but also the deep roots of classical philosophy and mythology, mysticism, visionary poets and even that Esproncediano student from Salamanca who attends to his own funeral. Criticism of Marta Sanz.
This ambitious novel by Mike McCormack, with a bold literary complex construction, culminates in a conventional ending that looks more like a surrender. Criticism of José María Guelbenzu.
Morcillo’s essay has the virtue of avoiding outrageousness and of showing how both the crime investigation and the ethical dilemmas faced by a journalist have evolved. Criticism of Alfonso Armada.
The book is the result of an exhaustive journalistic investigation financed by public assessment, determined to adjust two realities: the map of immigration in Spain to that of perception, setting figures. Criticism of Alfonso Armada.
The author saves the Mossos thanks to the intuition and perseverance of one of them, who began to connect the dots and ended the incredible career of Francisco Gómez Manzanares, one of the most brilliant and ruthless swindlers in the recent history of Spain. Criticism of Alfonso Armada.
Almost day by day, he recounts the unprecedented story of José Luis Ruiz, who “left his house. He ate there, in a tavern. Back, before the evening news, he noticed the lock forced ”. He called the Mossos, who told the owner: “We can’t do anything.” Criticism of Alfonso Armada.
Populisms, nationalisms, states and identities are built and strengthened with enough frequency on lies. In this 21st century, one of the most blatant self-distortion exercises has been carried out by Hugo Chávez. Criticism of Jordi Canal.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.