Granta 113: The Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists
The Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists. Thematic issue of Granta: The Magazine of New Writing. 113 (Winter 2010)
Granta is a quarterly magazine of new writing from both established and emerging writers; although aimed primarily at adult audiences, it could easily be considered as a journal with appeal to young adults particularly due to its diverse content and style, offering readers a greater scope of choice. Granta could often, I suspect, serve to pique the interest of older adolescents due in part to the periodical's contemporary approach to cover design, and its integration of visual art and poetry with prose, along with the obvious diversity and strength of the writing in general.
However, the challenge with such a magazine in the context of a school library or classroom is that Granta is published for an adult audience, meaning that individual issues may not always serve younger readers. I had assumed that The Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists would have resulted in stories that addressed experiences particularly relevant to adolescent readers, including childhood, early experiences of sexuality, and the like. Certainly, to some extent, the work included does; for example, the story by Peru's Santiago Roncagliolo, which explores the narrator's adult encounter of a strange childhood friend, which calls to memory his first love. Another is Federico Falco's “In Utah There are Mountains Too,” telling the story of a young atheist's crush on a visiting Mormon missionary. It's an excellent collection; overall, however, I don't believe this particular issue will appeal to adolescents. This is due primarily to the fact that most of the pieces included are excerpts from longer novels, which do not feel immersive, or commanding of enough attention. It's unfortunate, because the chance to offer readers access to work from cultures outside North America is exciting. This issue of Granta may not be the one to best serve this goal.
Recommended: 2 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Allison Sivak