Other books byJavier Marias
From the award-winning Spanish writer Javier Marías comes an extraordinary new book that has been a literary sensation around the world: an immersive, provocative novel propelled by a seemingly random murder that we come to understand—or do we?—through one woman’s ever-unfurling imagination and infatuations. At the Madrid café where she stops for breakfast each day before work, María Dolz finds herself drawn to a couple who is also there every morning. Though she can hardly explain it, observing what she imagines to be their “unblemished” life lifts her out of the doldrums of her own existence. But what begins as mere observation turns into an increasingly complicated entanglement when the man is fatally stabbed in the street. María approaches the widow to offer her condolences, and at the couple’s home she meets—and falls in love with—another man who sheds disturbing new light on the crime. As María recounts this story, we are given a murder mystery brilliantly reimagined as metaphysical enquiry, a novel that grapples with questions of love and death, guilt and obsession, chance and coincidence, how we are haunted by our losses, and above all, the slippery essence of the truth and how it is told.
When I Was Mortal
A dozen stories by Javier Marías, "the most subtle and gifted writer in contemporary Spanish literature" (The Boston Globe). Victims of mistaken identity, sponging relatives, amateur sleuths, eavesdroppers, professional liars, assassins, and failed bodyguards populate the short stories in When I Was Mortal. Plots turn on curious exigencies--a woman about to star in her first porn film; a night doctor who adds new meaning to "specialist"; a ghost whose neglect is greatly resented.
Dark Back of Time
A book by Spain's greatest living writer weaves fiction and fact into a completely original and unforgettable hybrid. Called by its author a "false novel," Dark Back of Time begins with the tale of the odd effects of publishing All Souls, his witty and sardonic 1989 Oxford novel. All Souls is a book Marías swears to be fiction, but which its "characters"--the real-life dons and professors and bookshop owners who have "recognized themselves"--fiercely maintain to be a roman à clef. With the sleepy world of Oxford set into fretful motion by a world that never "existed," Dark Back of Time begins an odyssey into the nature of identity and of time. Marías weaves together autobiography, a legendary kingdom, strange ghostly literary figures, halls of mirrors, a one-eyed pilot, a curse in Havana, and a bullet lost in Mexico.
By one of the most important voices in contemporary world literature, a darkly comic novel about that most British of institutions, Oxford University. In All Souls, a visiting Spanish lecturer, viewing Oxford through a prismatic detachment, is alternately amused, puzzled, delighted, and disgusted by its vagaries of human vanity. A bit lonely, not always able to see his charming but very married mistress, he casts about for activity; he barely has to teach. Yet so much goes into simply "being" at Oxford: friendship, opinion-mongering, one-upmanship, finicky exchanges of favors, gossip, adultery, book-collecting, back-patting, backstabbing. Marías demonstrates a sweet tooth for eccentricity in this sly campus novel and love story.