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UBC Theses and Dissertations

No place like home : virtual space, local places and Nocilla fictions Barker, Jesse


This thesis is the first sustained study of a new wave of Spanish writers. Known in the press as the “Nocilla Generation”, after Agustín Fernández Mallo’s Nocilla Project trilogy, the work of these authors responds to changing relations between urban subjects, virtual spaces and local places. This study portrays a broad group of writers, but it focuses on four texts: Agustín Fernández Mallo’s Nocilla Dream, Javier Calvo’s “Una belleza rusa” [“A Russian Beauty”], Gabi Martínez’s Ático [Top Floor Apartment] and Esther García Llovet’s Coda. The new wave authors have been described as belonging to a new digital consciousness wholly shaped by audiovisual media and the Internet. I argue instead that their narrative represents an effort to assimilate global and virtual space with local and physical places. Their varied texts converge around the theme of how subjects locate themselves within a fragmented and interconnected world. They create hybrid fictional spaces where social practices and meaning are produced through a continuous negotiation of the physical and virtual realms. Within this overall theme I delineate two general tendencies. The first emphasizes the subject’s immersion in a global sphere of networked relations, portraying what Roland Robertson defines as a world space where “the local is merely a ‘micro’ manifestation of the global”. The second focuses on the subject’s relation to the particular places where this global space is manifested. However, while each text can be placed closer to one or the other conceptions, both these ideas are present to some degree in all of these narratives. This creates a persistent dialectic tension and shows the difficulty of reconciling the superimposed physical and cultural contexts that shape subjectivity in the contemporary world. What drives these narratives is the search for new subjectivities, open to the plurality of today’s interconnected and fluctuating spaces. However, the hypothetical or metaphorical character of the new fluid subjectivities presented in these fictions underlines the ambiguities involved in seeking this new way of inhabiting the world. These fictions do not present or reflect new subjectivities but rather participate in an ongoing societal dialogue about how to confront a changing cultural environment.

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