I have begun re-reading the novel Fever and Spear by the Spanish novelist Javier Marias. It is the first volume in his Your Face Tomorrow trilogy that is published in the U.S. by New Directions.
Bookworm host Michael Silverblatt said the books were what detective novels would sound like if Henry James had written them. Marias’ prose is masterful (Marias has said he prefers the English translations to his original Spanish) and his books contain Proust-like digressions and refined Jamesian investigations into the lives of private, oblique characters.
I hope that Marias continues to win readers in the U.S. and that his name gets on the Nobel Prize shortlist. Here are some excellent interviews and articles on El Maestro:
- Bookworm radio host Michael Silverblatt devoted two days to interviewing Javier Marias; a great introduction to his work.
- The Guardian conducted a 15-minute video interview with Marias about the trilogy.
- Sarah Fay (no relation) interviewed Javier Marias for The Art of Fiction No. 190 in The Paris Review.
- In 2005 The New Yorker profiled “the clandestine greatness of Javier Marías“
Here is a quote from his novel Fever and Spear:
“It’s shocking how easily we replace the people we lose in our lives, how we rush to cover any vacancies, how we can never resign ourselves to any reduction in the cast of characters without whom we can barely go on or survive, and how, at the same time, we all offer ourselves up to fill vicariously the empty places assigned to us, because we understand and partake of that continuous universal mechanism of substitution, which affects everyone and therefore us too, and so we accept our role as poor imitations and find ourselves surrounded by more and more of them.”