The New York Times (NYT) has chosen a book by Catalan writer Quim Monzó as one of the four best works of fiction translated into English in 2019. Monzó’s collection of short stories, ‘El perquè de tot plegat,’ which originally appeared in Catalan in 1993, was translated by Peter Bush as ‘Why why why?’.

According to the NYT’s review of the book, the “all too human neuroses laid bare in Monzó’s pithy stories can be discomfiting to read.” The reviewer also points to Monzó’s ability to subvert expectations: “In this Catalan writer’s hands, everything can be turned on its head and nothing is sacred.”

67-year-old Quim Monzó is one of Catalonia’s leading contemporary writers, with more than a score of novels and short story collections to his name. The three other translations on the list are ‘The Factory’ by Hyroko Oyamada, ‘The Pelican’ by Martin Michael Driessen and ‘A kitchen in the corner of the house’ by Ambai.

Literary translator, Peter Bush, has translated works from Catalan, French, Spanish and Portuguese into English, including work by some of Catalonia’s major writers.