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24 April 1997
Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me 
by Javier Marías, translated by Margaret Jull Costa.
Harvill, 313 pp., £8.99, October 1996, 1 86046 199 9
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The Club Dumas 
by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, translated by Sonia Soto.
Harcourt Brace, 368 pp., $23, February 1997, 0 15 100182 0
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... your own past or, like the hero of Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s The Club Dumas, to welcome the devil as your research assistant. You could also just read one of the formidably intelligent works of JavierMarías, expert in what he calls the ‘shadows’ of the untold story. He is the author of eight novels, the last three of which are available in English (from Harvill) as All Souls, A Heart So ...

Zip the Lips

Lorna Scott Fox: A novel plea for silence

2 June 2005
Your Face Tomorrow 1: Fever and Spear 
by Javier Marías, translated by Margaret Jull Costa.
Chatto, 376 pp., £17.99, May 2005, 9780701176754
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The Man of Feeling 
by Javier Marías, translated by Margaret Jull Costa.
Vintage, 135 pp., £7.99, February 2005, 0 09 945367 3
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... I concluded that this must be a hangover from recent Spanish history, a reflex that had outlived its causes. Only a generation ago, after all, you had to be pretty careful what you said and to whom. JavierMarías, born in 1951, is of an age to have been marked by the past. His parents were deeply affected by the Civil War. He witnessed fear and caution under dictatorship, and then the readjustment of ...

Lingering and Loitering

Benjamin Kunkel: Javier Marías

3 December 2009
Your Face Tomorrow 3: Poison, Shadow and Farewell 
by Javier Marías, translated by Margaret Jull Costa.
Chatto, 545 pp., £18.99, November 2009, 978 0 7011 8342 4
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... novels suffering from the opposite problem of lots of action and little thought. This second, more hardboiled category is one into which no one would think of putting the work of the Spanish novelist JavierMarías, despite the bodies that pile up in his pages; his ratio of mind to matter approaches a ghostly extreme. Characteristically, the gigantic and recently completed trilogy, Your Face Tomorrow ...

Great Male Narcissist

Christopher Tayler: Sigrid Nunez

1 August 2019
Mitz: The Marmoset of Bloomsbury 
by Sigrid Nunez.
Soft Skull, 172 pp., £12.50, August, 978 1 59376 582 8
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The Friend 
by Sigrid Nunez.
Virago, 213 pp., £8.99, February, 978 0 349 01281 0
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... and so on? Here it’s helpful to remember that the narrator isn’t Nunez, who once came out with a neatly balanced judgment on her own self-serious mentor, Susan Sontag: When, recently, I see that JavierMarías has said that the worst thing a writer can do is to take himself or his work too seriously, I think I understand. I think I even agree with him. I think if I had thought this way myself when ...

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