It is a very paradoxical state of affairs where I like reading Spanish literature so much that it gets to the point where I don’t like reading it. Most of the other literature in the world (including Latin American), I can at least try simply to enjoy. However, the moment I open a book from Spain, my brain immediately goes into overdrive.
How does this work of literature inscribe itself into my critical understanding of the time period? Do I need to modify my perception of era, of the writer, of the genre? What will be my own reading of this book? How can I connect it to the entire oeuvre of this author? What type of narrator do I see in this work? What does this tell me? Have I seen this writer move towards this type of narrator in a previous novel? What was it that critic A said about the XYZ subject and can it be related to this work of literature? Who is this politician / writer / painter that is mentioned on page 17? How come I don’t know them? When will I order books about them? Where have I seen this metaphor already? What does it mean that I’m encountering it in this text? Why are the chapters named this way (not named, numbered, etc.)?
And it goes on and on forever. Of course, after reading a single 300-page novel, I feel like I’ve been lugging sacks of flour around.
Just as I cannot turn off the feminist in me, I cannot turn off the literary critic. How do people turn off their professional identities and just relax?