Alfau earned a living as a translator. His sparse creation of fictional and poetic output remained obscure throughout most of his lifetime. Alfau wrote two novels in English: Locos: A Comedy of Gestures and Chromos. Locos - a metafictive collection of related short stories set in Toledo and Madrid, involving several characters that defy the wishes of the author, write their own stories, and even assume each other's roles - was published by Farrar and Rinehart in 1936.
When Moore asked if he had written any other books, Alfau produced the manuscript for Chromos, which had been resting in a drawer since 1948. A comic story of Spanish immigrants to the United States contending with their two cultures, Chromos went on to be nominated for the National Book Award in 1990.
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