A funny, erudite novel from one of the great European storytellers, with the process of writing and creation playfully at its heart.
Mac, over sixty and recently unemployed, lives on his wife’s earnings from her furniture restoration business. An avid reader, he decides at the age of sixty to keep a diary. Mac’s wife, Carmen, a dyslexic born of dyslexic parents, thinks he is simply wasting his time and risking sliding further into depression—but Mac persists, and is determined that this diary will not turn into a novel. However, one day, he has a chance encounter with a near neighbour, a highly successful author who once wrote a collection of enigmatic, wilfully obscure stories.…
“Vila-Matas’s wildly original novels are all investigations of whether or not originality in fiction is still possible; every nook and cranny of literary history is explored and interrogated, the margin of every great novel frantically scribbled in.”
Morten Høi Jensen, Dublin Review of Book
“[Vila-Matas] charges the various tensions in his hybridized book: the artificial nature of plot and the apparent triviality of day-to-day existence, how life imitates art and art imitates life… Mac and His Problem boasts an impressive architecture.”
Eric Banks, Bookforum
“Vila-Matas’s bouncy prose is the highlight of this lively ride through a writer’s mind.”
“Diary, essay, thriller, conspiracy theory, posthumous memoir, novel—Vila-Matas uses all the materials to construct his latest metafictional fun house.”