Sombrayagua, a Spanish megalopolis,
autumn of the year 2022...
Book trader Diego Moranetti receives an unexpected letter from Nuria Santos Malaboca, Sombrayagua’s Water Archaeologist. Nuria opens by returning to her sex-driven, pot-head adventures in the late 1970s, when the Regent, the seemingly immortal dictator, has died at last. Amidst the nation-wide euphoria, Nuria's sardonic father, Raúl, a socialist army colonel during the Civil War, retires to his native Monegros Desert, leaving his barely qualified mod-punk daughter in charge of the family business, 'Santos
Sunshades & Umbrellas'.
Following Raúl's accidental death in an olive grove, Purificación, his bohemian, proudly alcoholic widow, and Ignacio 'Pencil-sharpener' Sacapuntas, his mutilated accountant, reveal to Nuria the origins of her 'damned bourgeois' enterprise, embarking her on a terrifying time travel adventure through the Civil War. Meanwhile, Nuria discovers a connection between past and present in Sombrayagua’s subterranean 'Voyages of Water', begun by the Arabs in the early Middle Ages...
You can order Mirror City at:
or through Librairie Tropismes (Brussels), Waterstones, Book Depository, Amazon or Scribd.com (e-Book) or from us at Diagraph - and signed by the author.
For interviews, public readings et altri, contact Diagraph:
Ernest Allardstraat 20,
B-1000 Brussels CR
Mirror City (The Left Panel of the Sombrayagua Diptych), published by Austin Macauley, London.
Jay Conrad (b. Netherlands, 1955) has worked in London, the former West Berlin, Barcelona and Amsterdam as a bartender, pizza cook, night watchman, musician and book trader. He described his experiences in the short story section of NRC Handelsblad, the daily newspaper published in Rotterdam. Nowadays, Conrad, author, singer-songwriter and Hispanist, lives in Brussels.
Mirror City, masterfully edited by the late, great Peter Ferrill, is Conrad's first novel.
As a singer-songwriter, Conrad released two albums (A Penniless Gentleman and Steeltown Girls), to be followed, in 2024, by Carrizo Springs (in Spanish, with lyrics of the poetess Raquel Lanseros) and The London Shuffle.
The Right Panel of the Sombrayagua Diptych – The Lens of Ibn Sahl - is being written.
First description (984) of the full Law of Light Refraction (by Abu Sa'd ibn Sahl, Baghdad). Courtesy Roshdi Rashed, Paris/Cairo
Some opinions about Mirror City:
‘A wicked vision of a tormented country. An utterly Spanish work of contrasts. Delightful reading, unforgettable characters, unbelievable situations. As a Spaniard, I found great pleasure in reading this quite unromantic rendering of a nation’s hopes and despair.’
Pollux Hernuñez (Spain), author of, among others, Monstruos, duendes y seres fantásticos de la mitología cántabra (Anaya, Madrid)
‘Employing the stratagems of sci-fi fantasy, Aesopian fable, magic realism, docufiction, and one or two genres yet to be charted, Jay Conrad, a Hollander who writes full-throttle in English, has crafted a parable of modern Spain that is prodigious in its scope, imagination and exuberance.’
Tim Steffa (United Sates), author of Finnish Trench Art (Otava, Helsinki)
the painting by Julie Sobotik (Brussels)
that served for the cover of Mirror City.
(If you're interested in comissioning art work from Julie Sobotik, contact DLMA at: email@example.com)
Many 'non-Spanish' authors - ranging from Hemingway to Malraux, from Orwell to Koestler - have written about the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). At the time, the Left saw this horrendous conflict as the first international confrontation between democracy and Fascism, whereas, after the Second World War, the Right interpreted the 'Battle for Spain' as a pre-Cold War conflict.
During the years, Jay Conrad sat down in Madrid with participants from both sides - or those caught in the middle - or their descendants, and crystalised their accounts into a story that is quite upbeat - or downright frightening. Perhaps 'Mirror City' is a fitting tale for our modern times, when democracy is no longer to be taken for granted.
Yet the characters in 'Mirror City' are also actors in the sheer-miraculous transformation of Spain, after decades of oppression, to become her quirky, sassy self - for better or for worse - during the last forty-odd years.
Jay Conrad - photo by Chloé Liradelfo
For its 25th birthday, Steeltown Girls
Vincent 'The Duke' Debongnie & Jay Conrad) has been re-mastered.
A Penniless Gentleman
Dani Klein (Vaya con Dios)
Zip-files, USB-sticks & CDs of Steeltown Girls and A Penniless Gentleman can be purchased from DLMA at €5 (Zip-files, USB) and €10 for the CD (postage for USB and CD inside the EU/UK included)
Illustration for the cover of
The London Shuffle
Photograph for the cover of
Both The London Shuffle and Carrizo Springs are being recorded at the Pigeon Loft Sound Studio
Some Pigeon Loft groundwork recordings (in rough mix) for 'The London Shuffle':
'The London Shuffle' (Conrad, ©SABAM)
'Blitz Kids' (Conrad, ©SABAM)
You can listen to more of Conrad's music on: