Joseba Sarrionandia

Joseba Sarrionandia
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'1983 marked publication of Narrazioak, Joseba Sarrionandia's first book of short stories. In poetic prose of enticing images and metaphors, the author shows his fondness for fantasy and ancient legends; the reader will find mermaids and ancient mariners (testimony to Sarrionanda's fascination with Coleridge and Melville), characters who do homage to the legend of King Arthur: Queen Ginebra, Sir Galahad& solitary stopping-points, and a meditation on literature. The reader will find one of the ancient mariners of Narrazioak in this anthology, as well as in the short-short stories from Han izanik hona naiz (1992, Having Been There, Here I Am). In the latter, the hybridity that is characteristic of Sarrionandia's work is evident, as is his desire to break through the restrictions of the genre. Putting a new spin on stories taken from both the literary and oral traditions, playing with black humor and irony, Sarrionandia in his short stories brings to mind the supershort texts of writers like A. Monterroso.'

M. J. Olaziregi, in An Anthology of Basque Short Stories, Center for Basque Studies, 2004).

Graduate in Basque Philology, contributor to many journals, translator, associate member of the Basque Academy, co-founder of the literary group POTT Banda, Joseba Sarrionandia was imprisoned for being a member of ETA from 1980 until his escape in 1985.

There are few writers who, in addition to the usual genres (poetry, narrative, essay), have published as many innovative hybrid texts as Sarrionandia. Among his books of fiction, philosophy and literary criticism, Ni ez naiz hemengoa (1985, I am Not of Here), Marginalia (1988) and Ez gara geure baitakoak (1989, We are Not of Ourselves) , Han izanik hona naiz (1992, Having Been There, Here I Am) and Hitzen ondoeza (1997, The Malaise of Words) stand out; his translations include T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land, F. Pessoa's O Marinheiro and S. T. Coleridge's Ancient Mariner.

Sarrionandia has shown himself to be a tireless traveler in literary geographies, an ancient mariner dazzled by an ocean of ideas. Narrazioak (1983, Narrations), Atabala eta euria (1986, The Drum and the Rain) and Ifar Aldeko orduak (1991, Northern Times) are his best known books of short stories. English-speaking readers can read and listen to his charming anthology of poems and letters in the book Hau da ene ondasun guzia (1999, This is all I Have) (M. J. Olaziregi (compiler), An Anthology of Basque Short Stories, Center for Basque Studies, 2004).

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