How far is TV willing to go in its desperate search for an audience? That’s the question that seems tolie behind every page of this book. Rating is a book that explores the limits of morality in the crude world of reality shows,shining a light on the hugely successful industry of the Latin American soap opera. The novel alternates two separate voices, which eventually become fused: the voice of Manuel Izquierdo, a scriptwriter suffering a mid-life crisis who, after two decades writing TV melodramas, has become crushed by cynicism, and that of Pablo Manzanares, a student of literature who wants to be a poet and who has managed to get a minor job at the TV channel. From the words of these two characters, of two lives that cross each other, Barrera Tyszka gives us two tales that become one story told by one voice, eventually assuming a syntax that reproduces the chaotic effect of the rhetoric of TV.
Alberto Barrera Tyszka surprises us once again with an agile style, which is sometimes vertiginous, but also full of reflection and literary quality. With a narrative full of humour and self-confidence, Rating offers a critical and rigorous autopsy on the world of television, stripping bare the inner workings of the soap opera, an industry that is responsible for the sentimental education of a continent and which has made tackiness a product worthy of exportation.
«From his cynicism and scepticism emerges what are the books best and most original qualities: the abundant observations on soap operas and the world of television, with its implacable laws and its obsession with rating, a world which the reader lives page by page, pulled along by a corrosive humour, delirious and melancholic.» (J.A. Masoliver Ródenas, La Vanguardia).
«A devastating look at television.» (Lluis Satorras, El País).
«A kind of literary reflection on what the limits of moral ambiguity are in regard to this mass media… The boundaries that ought to be found in this search for popular success is the moral shadow which soars over this novel at every moment, written with great care and quality by Barrera Tyszka.» (Cayetano Sánchez, Canarias 7).
«Alberto Barrera is, as well as a novelist of painful and critical certainties, a writer who duly fulfils his only obligation: to write beautifully… Rating offers more than what we expect in principle.» (Luis Alonso Girgado, El Ideal Gallego).
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- France (Zinnia)
Alberto Barrera Tyszka (Caracas, 1960) is a poet and novelist. He has writen the novel También el corazón es un descuido, the book of short stories Edición de lujo, and also the collections of poetry Coyote de ventanas and Tal vez el frío. Together with the journalist Cristina Marcano, he has published the first documented biography of the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez sin uniforme. Una historia personal, to great international interest. He has a degree from the School of Literature of the University Central de Venezuela, where he is also a professor. For years he has worked as a TV script writer, writing soap-operas in Venezuela, Argentina, Colombia and Mexico. A number of his articles have been published in the Venezuelan and internatonal media in El País, Letras Libres, Etiqueta Negra, Gatopardo, among others. Since 1996 he has been a columnist on El Nacional newspaper.