Writer demanding with the reader


Javier Marías was an author of deliberately tortuous syntax and long digressions

The prose of Javier Marías, a unique figure in Spanish letters, offers the reader no concessions. Novelist deliberately tortuous syntax rich in lengthy descriptions and digressions did not give much importance to the plot. Marías likes to wander and get lost in meanders, means with which he has managed to crown an enveloping prose.

His literary career begins with ‘Los dominios del lobo’ (1971). The writer’s first novel came out when Marías was 19 years old. It is a funny parody and at the same time a tribute to the cinema of the golden years of Hollywood. His writing coincides with the prose writer’s friendship with Juan Benet, a key figure in his life and work.

Despite his somewhat aristocratic disdain for prizes, his writing was greeted with honour. It happened with ‘El hombre sentimental’ (1986), a story that won him the Herralde Novel and Ennio Flaiano awards. The work gives way to a new and more intimate phase in Marías’ work.

His experiences as a professor at Oxford fueled the writing of ‘Todas las almas’ (1989), a book adapted into a film by Gracia Querejeta under the title ‘The Last Voyage of Robert Rylands’.

‘Corazón tan blanco’ (1992), translated into 37 languages, was a huge sales success, with 2.3 million copies shipped. Thanks to this novel, he became known in Germany, whose doors were opened to him by the guru of literary criticism Marcel Reich-Ranicki.

A Shakespeare quote entitled ‘Tomorrow in battle, remember me’ (1994), reading is essential to understand the keys to the author’s literature. His themes include concealment, denial of the people we once loved, oblivion and indecision; goodbye and deceit.

Perhaps Javier Marías’ most demanding novel is “Your face tomorrow,” if only for the challenge of getting through 1,400 pages. This trilogy is a fiction that invites us to think about how novels work. On this occasion, María gave birth to a story that fluctuates between common sense, madness and obsession.

One of his most celebrated works, ‘Black back of time’ (1998), was described by the author as a ‘false novel’. The work is situated on the vague border between fiction and reality, between imagination and fantasy. Javier Marías himself is the narrator of a book that, according to the author, belonged to a ‘hybrid and flexible genre’.

With ‘Los Enamoramientos’ (2011) he won the National Prize for Narrative. It is a novel that addresses issues of deception and duplicity, as well as the survival of the dead in the lives of the living. Marías printed on this book a restrained prose which, as in all his works, teems with digressions and meticulous analysis.

‘Tomás Nevison’ (2021) is a novel that has something of a thriller, although Marías was afraid of this rating. In this novel, Javier Marías reflects on evil based on the adventures of a British agent investigating the connection between ETA and the IRA. The main character of the book already appeared in his previous novel ‘Berta Isla’. Full of gloomy descriptions, the novel abounds in literary citations.

Source: La Verdad


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