Read the infatuations by Javier Marías Margaret Jull Costa Online

the-infatuations

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 beforeFrom 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.This ebook edition includes a reading group guide. ...

Title : the infatuations
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ISBN : 19975926
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 353 Pages
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the infatuations Reviews

  • Jim Fonseca
    2018-10-09 09:44

    A young woman (30-ish) works in a publishing house in Madrid. She has coffee every morning and for several years overhears conversations of a couple with their two young children who frequent the same café. They never interact but she thinks of them as “the perfect couple.” She doesn’t know it yet but they notice her too and call her “the prudent young woman.” One day she sees in the newspaper that the married man was murdered by a crazy knife-wielding homeless man. Sometime later she sees the widow by herself and goes up to her and offers condolences and eventually meets her at her home. At the widow’s home she meets a friend of the family and gets romantically involved with him. This is where the real story starts. She learns that there’s a lot more to the murder. Her world is rocked and what she comes to know creates a number of moral dilemmas for her. It’s a story of love, death, fate, memory, guilt, obsession, chance and coincidence. It’s a study too of a woman going through the stages of grief.Marias may be the best contemporary author from Spain. (I phrase it that way to distinguish between writers from Spain and Latin American Spanish authors). I’ve read and reviewed two other works by Marias - Written Lives and Dark Back of Time. Some example of his writing and passages that I liked:“Writers are, for the most part, strange individuals. They get up in exactly the same state of mind as when they went to bed, thinking about imaginary things, which, despite being purely imaginary, take up most of their time.” When one suffers a misfortune, “the effects on the victim far outlast the patience of those prepared to listen and accompany her, unconditional support never lasts very long once it has become tinged with monotony.” “The only people who do not fail or let us down are those who are snatched from us, the only ones we don’t drop are those who abruptly disappear and so have no time to cause us pain or disappointment.” “…there is nothing more tempting than to surrender yourself to someone else, even if only in your imagination, and to make his problems your own and to submerge yourself in his existence, which, because it is not yours, seems easier to bear.” Despite the heavy theme, Marias writes with humor:Of a group of writers she takes to dinner on business: “…most of the guests looked strangely like flamenco artistes, and my main fear was that they might whip out their guitars from some strange hiding place and start singing loudly, between courses.”His upper lip became caught on his gums and “he made some rather strange rodent-like movements with his lips.”“…he was wearing an argyle sweater, the kind of glasses a rapist or a maniac might wear…”This is prescient, written in 2011 long before any recent elections: “…the greatest imbecile and the greatest rogue [may] gain a landslide victory from a population mesmerized by baseness or perhaps driven by a suicidal desire to be deceived…” Marias gives us some local color of Madrid and scatters references to works by Balzac and Dumas. This is well-written and very literary. I’m giving it a 5 and adding it to my favorites. Photo of cafe in Madrid from wheretraveler.comPhoto of the author from newstatesman.com

  • s.p
    2018-09-24 11:33

    A murderer, nothing more.Truth is not always an easy thing to come by. Any event that occurs reaches our ears and eyes from a vast assortment of new media, eyewitnesses, and other second-hand accounts, each with their own unique perspectives and agendas that all encode the same message into infinitely variable packages of information. We all become amateur detectives, sifting through the various accounts to decipher what we choose to believe, and thus creating our own unique perspectives of an event that we will inevitably pass along through our interactions and conversations with others. Javier Marías’ 2013 novel, Los Enamoramientos—re-dressed as The Infatuations to best accommodate the English language—is an incredible exploration of the detective work we all must undergo when attempting to deduct any semblance of truth about even the most seemingly common of tragedies that cross our paths. What is truly astounding is Marías' ability to create a novel with the exciting two-faced dealings and baffling plot twists typically found in fast action, blood-soaked thrillers out of a collaboration of scenes mainly comprised of late-night dialogues over a glass of wine in a quiet living room. Through a re-examination of Marías' standard themes of mortality and language, The Infatuations explores with prodigious depth the effects of death on the surrounding survivors lives as well as the labyrinthine complexities of trying to understand material reality through the fallible and distorted words of others.Irreversible, unpredictable death casts its grim shadow across every page of the novel. Maria, the young female narrator working for a modern publishing house learns that the husband of a loving and attractive couple whom she has studied and admired from afar for years during her daily breakfast at a Madrid café has been brutally stabbed to death by a homeless man in a vacant street beneath the indifferent night sky. The reader follows Maria as the lives of the friends and family to the deceased Miguel enfolding around her while she plunges inwards towards the murder, each bestowing upon her their unique attitudes regarding death. Through the widow we see experience the loneliness and the shock of having an essential extension of their livelihoods stricken from existence, while through Javier—the deceased’s closest friend—we are treated to a seemingly calloused yet realistic perspective that those left alive must soldier forth and not bemoan past sorrows that inevitably shape us into the person we are at present. We mourn our father, for example, but we are left with a legacy, his house, his money and his worldly goods, which we would have to give back to him were he to return, which would put us in a very awkward position and cause us great distress. We might mourn a wife or a husband, but sometimes we discover, although this may take a while, that we live more happily and more comfortably without them or, if we are not too advanced in years, that we can begin anew, with the whole of humanity at our disposal, as it was when we were young; the possibility of choosing without making the old mistakes; the relief of not having to put up with certain annoying habits, because there is always something that annoys us about the person who is always there, at our side or in front or behind or ahead, because marriage surrounds and encircles. We mourn a great writer or a great artist when he or she dies, but there is a certain joy to be had from knowing that the world has become a little more vulgar and a little poorer, and that our own vulgarity and poverty will thus be better hidden or disguised; that he or she is no longer there to underline our own relative mediocrity; that talent in general has taken another step towards disappearing from the face of the earth or slipping further back into the past, from which it should never emerge, where it should remain imprisoned so as not to affront us except perhaps retrospectively, which is less wounding and more bearable. I am speaking of the majority, of course, not everyone.While we mourn the lives that have been snuffed out, Javier posits that we must look to the future, the future left to those still retaining a pulse, and make the best of what we have. Our lives are a culmination of each event we experience and our lives are fragile and ephemeral, we should not waste the opportunities we have before the great mystery of death closes it’s inevitable curtains on our story. This viewpoint is initially jarring, however, as light is shed on the motives and character of Javier, we see that the opinions one holds reflect those that are in the best interest of the beholder—we rationalize our reality to accommodate our actions. What is aesthetically pleasing of this European edition of the novel is the thick black pages that precede and follow the novel, as well as the black hardback, which seem to reflect Javier’s presumed belief of death as being a void-like eternity mirroring the time we spend before birth. The novel itself then becomes the interactions of life between the bookends of eternity.While we miss and long for those gone before us, the return of a person thought deceased may not be the happy reunion we all would fantasize it to be. Through a dissection of Balzac’s Le Colonel Chabert, Javier expounds the disastrous implications of such a from-the-grave return to Maria.The worst thing that can happen to anyone, worse than death itself, and the worst thing one can make others dois to return from the place from which no one returns, to come back to life at the wrong time, when you are no longer expected, when it is too late and inappropriate, when the living have assumed you are over and done with and have continued or taken up their lives again, leaving no room for you at all.Our deaths become just another event, and life is made for moving on. Maria also offers her own dissertation into the return of one thought dead, reciting passages form The Three Musketeers when Athos’ fleur-de-lys adorned wife returns, seemingly from the grave in which he thought he had put her, as a sinful, murderous villain aligned with the enemy. We all play our part in the human comedy, but sometimes when our role has been written out of the lives of others, it is best to remain in the wings and not to reemerge, for our return, brining with it a heavy weight of former selves, no longer has a place in their lives now altered and reshaped by the hands of time. What is important to note is that these are truths held by the characters, and for reasons held hidden in their hearts but offer glimpses into their true motivations. Maria knows her affair with Javier has an expiration date, and that his real aim is with Luisa, the widow, for why else would he preach the importance of putting the dead behind us?I would never know more than what he told me, and so I would never know anything for sure…Language is central to any work of Marías, and the plot is a convenient vessel in which he can explore the intricacies of words. Jorge Luis Borges once said that ‘language is an artificial system which has nothing to do with reality.’ ¹ Borges often examined the dualities of existence, the universe of physical material and action, and the universe of words, the latter being the method in which we attempts to convey the former. However, language can only probe essence of physical reality, can only build a model or imperfect mirror of it, and can never accurately reconstruct reality aside from giving a cathartic experience. With The Infatuations, Marías explores such imperfections and their effect on our attempts to reach any sort of truth. When someone speaks, they encode their message, their beliefs and intentions, into words, which are they decoded by the receiver. Each party exists in their own realm of perspectives built from preconceived opinions, agendas and experiences that must inevitably interact with their packaging and unpacking of any message, refurbishing it to our particular (and often subconscious) needs. Each message we receive shapes our opinions, from framing a new idea in our mid, reinforcing a previous belief, to offering contradictory or supplemental information that will alter our previous opinions. Marías delivers his novel in a method that takes the reader on a turbulent ride of altering opinions all filtered through the mind of the narrator. Long ‘what if’ scenarios play out in her mind, lengthy and engrossing enough for the reader to lower their guard and allow the information to shape their opinions, and the opinions formed then meet with actual interactions of the character. The preconceived notions constructed towards characters like Javier latch on to anything congruous and gives the reader a sense that they understand his motives and intentions. However, once new information accrues, we must reassess what we know, or think we know, as the truth wiggles and squirms just beyond our outstretched fingertips.Everything becomes a story and ends up drifting about in the same sphere, and then it’s hard to differentiate between what really happened and what is pure invention. Everything becomes a narrative and sounds fictitious even if it’s true.As soon as we attempt to place material reality into words, we create a story, a unique perspective on an event tainted by our words and opinions. Even recounting mundane events forms a narrative of events that give a spin on reality. Truth is an unobtainable purity, like an asymptote it is something that we can reach for but never truly touch; the closest we can come to it through all our reshaping of opinions with each new version we encounter, is simply our own perspective of truth which, due to language, can never fully be the ideal 'truth' of events. Maria, and the reader must question any new information that is told to them, or heard in fragments through a closed bedroom door. What becomes particularly perplexing is realizing that everything the reader receives only occurs through the mind of Maria, and the reader must then not only run through the possible motives of those speaking to Maria, but also assess the motives and perspectives of Maria herself.El enamoramiento - the state of falling or being in love, or perhaps infatuation. I’m referring to the noun, the concept… it’s very rare to have a weakness, a genuine weakness for someone, and for that someone to provoke in us that feeling of weakness. That’s the determining factor, they break down our objectivity and disarm us in perpetuity, so that we can in over every dispute…Who can be sure that any character is acting rationally, speaking truthfully, assessing any situation accurately, when their eyes are clouded by infatuation? While a murder and the mystery of why it occurred is central to the plot, the answers are superfluous; it is the examination of the attempt towards the answers, the probing of truth, that Marías parades in eloquent speech and ponderous musings for the reader to satisfy themselves upon. It is the deduction of each jigsaw piece, the faith in our ability to read others, the emotion of the chase and the game, that shines in incredible glory from each page of the novel. The reader is constantly met with discussions of perspectives and different ‘versions’ of truth, from varying translations and editions of Don Quixote, contradictory eyewitness testimonies of Miguel’s murder, to interesting artistic interpretations of Adam And Eve.As in each Marías novel, the narrator and those around them are compelled to spill their stories; there is an utter compulsion to speak and let their version of the truth be heard. In Marías ‘ phenomenal novel Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me, he highlights this desire to step out of the shadows and share what lurks within the dark recesses of the mind and heart. [T]hey have merely been overcome or motivated by weariness and a desire to be whole, by their inability to continue lying or keeping silent, to go on remembering what they experienced and did as well as what they imagined, to go on remembering their transformed or invented lives as well as those they actually lived, to forget what really happened and to replace it with a fiction.These truths, or half-truths, are itching to come to life, and once they are spoken, they become the property of all those who have heard them, free to be reshaped by perspectives and passed along through endless permutations of fact and fiction. As Maria recounts her journey inward, she tells of characters as they attempt to distance themselves from the murder. However, can putting more versions of the truth between oneself and an event truly remove them from the violence? Does distancing oneself through chance remove responsibility? What is especially interesting to examine is that each opinion expressed is a reflection of the Teller. Maria, a character of Javier Marias, often paints in broad strokes while describing the motives and inner workings of women. This is initially troublesome, especially as women are depicted as subservient beings that pine after men and hang on their every action, giving the book a bit of a sexist taste. However, when remembering that these opinions belong to those of Maria, a character that just so happens to be rather submissive and infatuated as best serves the nature of the novel, it becomes understandable that she would assume that her feelings and actions are a generic representation of other women. As expressed in Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me, ‘our idea of justice changes according to our needs, and we always think that what we need is equivalent to what is just.’ ² Maria’s opinions on women serve to support her own needs, justifying her actions by believing that it is just the way people act.While the journey is a bit rocky and certain aspects seem distasteful or cumbersome when they first occur, this is a novel that rewards the patient as everything is eventually weaved together to form an impressively poignant final amalgamation of the individual parts. Marías once again proves himself a master of language, with fantastic flowing discussions of death and carefully crafted sentences that ensure their linguistic subtleties will survive the repacking of translation. There are a few comical moments discussing authors, and a few vitriolic stabs at pretentious contemporary writing trends, that bring Marías’ own job as a translator at a publishing house to mind and wonder where his inspirations came from (there are a few jabs seemingly directed at himself as well that are sure to bring a smile). Despite having a slow burning story packed with philosophical reflections, this novel is full of incredible twists and turns that will keep the reader feverishly flipping the pages. This is a fantastic novel, but is best suited to those who are already familiar with Javier Marías.4/5‘There’s nothing like sharing round the guilt if you want to emerge from a murky situation smelling of roses.’¹ A translation of this clip The following discussion on Borges in this review relies heavily on ideas expressed in stories such as Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius. ² As well as re-examining several themes from TitBToM, fans of the author will be glad to see the return of Ruibérriz de Torres (also spotlighted in Bad Nature, or With Elvis in Mexico). Marias seemingly makes Madrid his own Yoknapatawpha through his reoccurring characters and themes that bring the streets and underworld of his fictional Madrid to life and allow the reader repeat visits.I highly recommend reading Mike's (who first introduced me to this wonderful author), as well as Garima's fantastic reviews. It was a pleasure reading and discussing this book together.

  • Kelly
    2018-09-18 11:19

    I was moving this week, so I'm farther away from this than I wanted to be when I wrote this, but I can assure you that the strongest of my impressions have lasted enough to give you the gist of why I was so disappointed in this.My major issue is, overall, that this is the sort of book that gives literary fiction a bad name. This is exactly the sort of thing that is the basis for pretension puncturing parodies with melodramatic lighting and unnecessarily florid language that people point to when you ask them why they don't want to read. This is that book, where people sit around in half lit rooms and have silent, weirdly distant sex in between pontificating to each other unbearably about philosophy. Moreover, it is the sort of dated philosophy where women still have lives that artfully revolve around men and men have the sort of Freudian, idea-driven obsessions that were fashionable to write about in the middle of the last century. The sort surrounded by cigarettes and brandy and intense gazes and five o'clock shadows. You know what I mean.You know, that's it. That's what bothers me. This book seems like such a pose. Sure, there are a few things in here that rang true. I've had some thoughts in here, almost verbatim, that he writes down. But they are so banal, it's like going to a fortune teller and being totally amazed when she tells you that she can feel that you had trouble in your adolescence or made some bad choices with alcohol in college. So I don't know how much credit you can give it for that. It all felt like such a sham, like a set that Marias threw down that he felt was appropriate for some things he thought he wanted to say.I mean, the thoughts he expressed went from banal to disturbing eventually, but that was okay because there was no suspense involved. The narrator guessed everything involved with the turn to the disturbing long before it came true (and seriously everything she guessed about a situation she knew nothing about involving people she knew nothing about was correct!). And if she didn't guess it, don't worry, it was condescendingly described to her in detail later. In case you needed more help still, no worries again, if the author thought the point was particularly important or just had a nice ring to it, you can be sure that it will be repeated, both verbatim and paraphrased, just so we Get It. As for the characters, I didn't care for anyone involved, except for the monumentally screwed over Luisa, who doesn't get enough screen time for me to form the connection I wanted with her. The others are unremarkable, monsters, or overdone archetypes. The narrator was especially tiresome. So many of the emotional edges are blunted by the subdued manner of expression taken on here. The whole story is made into an almost theoretical discussion, like it is a parlor game that is happening to somebody else. I use "almost" advisedly, because of course it is not, and that is supposed to be part of the disturbing thing about it. But it wasn't- Marias was so much more interested in writing pages of rambling discourse about his ideas about the way the people experience grief, loss and obsession that he made his characters mouthpieces, rather than people. If you stepped back and away from the substance of their discourse, the defining characteristic of the narrator is passive aggression and timidity. The defining characteristic of the villain is sadly misguided self-delusion. The major secondary character is simply a self-aggrandizing fool of a stereotype. They are mere chess pieces, placed at a certain vantage point and then given the thoughts that are most appropriate for them, divided up among them. And many of those thoughts do not sound natural to the characters, if they were actual people. Luckily, they are not. They are statues experiencing a Major Life Moment that Marias has Thoughts on, who speak for him, in an omniscient narrator voice that sounds the same no matter who is speaking.He might just as well have written a short essay "On Grief and Obsession" and been done with it. The plot was close enough to a ripped from the headlines sort of thing that he could have done this as an examination of the motives of a real person. Did he need the cover of fiction so that the thoughts couldn't be mistaken for his own? Even though obviously, if they have occurred to him, they are? That's a weird sort of thought policing. Maybe it's a sin of the genre-boxing thing we do with authors- if you're famous as a novelist, then you should only write novels, that is the only structure through which you can express your thoughts and have people be interested in buying them. So you bend and twist the thing you really want to do into the novel form, however ill it fits. Maybe that's what was going on here. I wonder if some of the pseudo-intellectual banal thoughts would have seem fresh if they were examined in a True Crime sort of spirit. There were certainly some unsympathetic but I would imagine fairly common thoughts about what happens to the memory of people after they die, as well as the thought process of people who want something so badly they are willing to justify it however they can. It's interesting that in order to express them he put them in the mouth of a sociopathic monster and a person out of her mind with grief, so she can't be held responsible for what she's saying- again... it feels like he was disclaiming responsibility for unattractive thoughts. I don't think you can really argue that he was doing careful character building, not with what he spent the majority of his page allocation on. So that must be it? What other excuse is there for a character focused novel with a mission statement at the top of it, basically, declaring that it is a character study, to be so poor at building characters?I am trying to be generous here in my thoughts about his motives or what went wrong. Too many people have told me too many excellent things about him for him to really write like this all the time. I have already been told that he has at least two books that are better than this. Can anyone back that up for me? It would be a shame if this was really the best he had to offer. Does he write like this all the time? Please say no!

  • Elyse
    2018-09-20 14:27

    "The Infatuations", written by Spanish writer, Javier Marias, begins with a murder. It's brilliantly and seductively written - with mesmerizing passages on every page. There was even a very powerful passage about a mother - who clearly loves her children - but just can't cope with them at the moment - wishes she didn't have to - as they weighed too much on her. Her husband was dead - with two small children ---( this passage went on - powerfully - for pages). I thought about my mother, when I, too, was 4 years old... and her husband - my dad - was dead. The writing was so 'all-knowing', that I got inside my mother's head getting inside my 4 year old head! It was spooky-truthful.This is very first sentence of "The Infatuations", captured my attention immediately: "The last time I saw Miguel Desvern or Deverne was also the last time his wife,Luisa, saw him, which seemed strange, perhaps unfair, given that she was his wife, while I, on the other hand, was a person he had never met, a woman with whom he had never exchanged so much a single word". The aura is eerie....with a slow unraveling suspense. Themes...'layers-deep' about love, life, envy, morality, .... with penetrating long reflective paragraphs. Maria Dolz, flawless narrator for this story, is a publishers editor. She is fascinated by a 'perfect couple' she observes daily in a cafe every morning over breakfast. She enjoys watching how happy they look together. She idolizes them both. One day they don't show up. Later she learns the husband was murdered. Later.... she becomes friends with the wife.It's not a long book -no reason to spell out the details....but it's the WRITING - THE FEW CHARACTERS - and the entire TONE of this novel that had me FULLY INTRIGUED.Captivating!!! I liked this book VERY MUCH!

  • StevenGodin
    2018-10-05 09:16

    With a delicately eerie depth of intelligence and using a hypnotic style Javier Marías weaves a skillful and deceiving story set in the heart of modern Madrid involving a murder, the reasons for, and the aftermath. But for anyone hoping for a thrilling crime mystery you will end up disappointed, and I feel some negative reviews are not wholly the fault of the book itself, but rather people are to believe it's something along those lines when clearly it is not. This is not a thriller, no where near it, yes there are some taut moments here and there but generally speaking it's built more on the personal themes of love, fate, our human nature for desire and real-life fantasy's and there consequences. Could it be just a tale of love then?, yes and no would be the answer, although it sits far better in this corner than that of any murder mystery.In terms of characters there really are only a few, giving it a intimate and closed in dimension where everything takes place either in the confinements of bedrooms, living area's or to start off with a café, which is the point we see through the eyes of María Dolz who frequents here on a daily basis before going to work, and comes to notice the same attractive couple (Miguel & Luisa) who appear at the same café everyday. She starts to become transfixed with them, visualizing what their lives must be like, she sees this as part of her daily routine, until one day they fail to appear, and the following days after. María would learn that the man was murdered in the street in an apparent knife attack by a crazed homeless man. After seeing Luisa in the café again one day she approaches to offer her condolences, strangely she opens up to María and they almost immediately seem like friends.I say there were only a few characters, and that would soon be whittled down to just two for the most part, María Dolz and the shady but desirable Díaz-Varela, who was a very close friend of Luisa's murdered husband. Both become attracted after a chance meeting and the desire for each other takes hold for a while. But when she secretly overhears a conversation between Díaz-Varela and an unknown figure at his home María's cozy world would chillingly become lost in a battle of wits and deception, could she have been imagining things?, if not just what on earth has Díaz-Varela been up to?, how can she suddenly change her feeling for him in the blink of an eye? and more importantly is she safe in his presence?. In a mesmerizing final third things do borderline with suspense, at least to some degree, where what is to be believed or not believed for Maria takes center stage, and the fact of an open ended finale leaves you pondering. But as stated before this is an exploration of the desirable psyche, and depths of love and mortality. An impressive piece of writing indeed.

  • Mike Puma
    2018-09-27 14:30

    You could say that I wished them all the best in the world, as if they were characters in a novel or a film for whom one is rooting right from the start, knowing that something bad is going to happen to them, that at some point, things will go horribly wrong, otherwise there would be no novel or film. … They were the brief, modest spectacle that lifted my mood before I went to work at the publishing house to wrestle with my megalomaniac boss and his horrible authors.So is the sentiment expressed by the narrator. These real people she doesn’t know have captured her heart and imagination, like fictional characters, so much easier to take than those who make their livings in publishing. Nicely played, JM, premising the real on the fictive to distance the real. Nice indeed.I should know better than to rush out and read something brand new, in this case, before it’s even published in this country. A couple of us jumped through a hoop, more of an inconvenience, to review this before most of you even get a chance to see it. Good for some of us, perhaps bad for you, definitely not the best thing I could do for myself—even at the time I wrote my profile I stated “rarely, if ever, do I read a title as it's published” and for good reason. I like having books hanging around, watching me and making me feel guilty, badgering me with, “Now?” It gives me pause, opportunity for the book and I to acclimate and, eventually, arrive at mutually determined, “Now.” So I leapt in. Reading…reading…uh, okay…reading, wondering, reading. Something seemed off: was it the voice of the female protagonist, as my first inclination suggested? Was it that she sounded so much like Marías himself? Hmm. Not good. But, I am liking this. It keeps me going. I like what the story is about, and I like what the book is about. (I’ll return to that) In my haste to get going on the new Marías, I’d forgotten the characteristic authorial voice, or rather hadn’t forgotten it. The familiar digressive wanderings were present in spades, constantly wandering, speculating, making suggestions to me. It wasn’t until reaching the final section of the novel that the voices, for me, congealed. And it wasn’t that the narrator became credible as a woman. Or that she became credible as Woman. Rather, she became credible as human—as real—that place where fiction and my perception/reception of it matters. Part voice, part character. Part authorial and the ever-appreciated translator (I want to know Margaret Jull Costa; I want to talk to her for hours) and part making sense of what’s provided—the text. What had been disparate, coalesced. I’d had my doubts, and was proven wrong—like characters in the story—who had their own certainties, until they no longer had them. Seeds had been planted. This is a mystery, of sorts. The blurb prefers ‘existential mystery’ and I can live with that as well. But, it also much more. It’s about the mysterious: Love and Death, Memory, Guilt and Complicity, Murder (“a murder, nothing more”). Like so many authors I’ve come to love reading and look forward to, their books are as much about writing and the story-telling process (I said I’d get back to what the book was about) as they are the story. Where other writers use metafiction, Marías gently tugs at its hemline or shirtsleeves. It’s about allusion and its difference from intertextuality . It’s about Balzac’s Colonel Chabert (in a big way) and Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Dumas’ The Three Muskateers and Marías’ Bad Nature and Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me, and probably a great deal more of what he’s written to date. It’s also about the author making fun of his profession and professional aspirations and affectations. Good stuff.Some quotes, because I like quotes: On the fourteenth day, he phoned my mobile when I was in a meeting with Eugenie and a semi-young author recommended to us by Garay Fontina as a reward for the adulation bestowed on him by the former in his blog and in a specialized literary review of which he was editor, ‘specialized’ meaning pretentious and marginal.On fiction/fact/narrative:His uncertainty did not last long and he soon regained his composure. Having scanned his memory and found no very clear evidence there, he must have thought that, basically, regardless of what I knew or didn’t know, I was entirely dependent on him now, as one always is on the person doing the telling, for he is the one who decides where to begin and where to end, what to reveal and suggest and keep silent about, when to tell the truth and when to lie or whether to combine the two so that neither is recognizable, or whether to deceive with the truth, as I had initially suspected he was trying to do with me, no, it’s not that difficult, you just have to present your story in such a way that it seems unbelievable or so hard to believe that your listener ends up rejecting it. Unlikely truths are useful and life is full of them, far more than the very worst of novels, no novel would ever dare give houseroom to the infinite number of chances and coincidences that can occur in a single lifetime, let alone all those that have already occurred and continue to occur. It’s quite shameful the way reality imposes no limits on itself.And further: And I could not help considering from a hundred different angles (or perhaps it was only ten angles repeated over and over) what Díaz-Verela had told me, his two versions, if they were two versions, and pondering details that had remained unclear in both, for there is no story, whether real or invented, without blind spots or contradictions or obscurities or mistakes, and in that respect—that of the darkness that surrounds and encircles any narrative—it didn’t really matter which was which.When you don’t know what to believe, when you’re not prepared to play the amateur detective, then you get tired and dismiss the entire business, you let it go, you stop thinking and wash your hands of the truth or of the whole tangled mess—which comes to the same thing. The truth is never clear, it’s always a tangled mess. Even when you get to the bottom of it. But in real life almost no one needs to find the truth or devote himself to investigating anything, that only happens in puerile novels.And: How easy it is to introduce doubts into someone else’s mind.Somewhere between 4 and 5 stars, rounded up because, whatever else this novel has accomplished, it demands to be reread.

  • Garima
    2018-09-27 11:39

    It’s quite shameful the way reality imposes no limits on itself.The questions about life and death are quite contrasting. While we hardly ask about how someone is born, the news of someone’s death is almost always followed by the question of How. Apart from satiating our curiosity and mellow down the shock of the news, there is a sense of relief we try to find in the answers. And to be honest, such news is not always unpleasant especially when the death is caused due to some natural causes; in unnatural or unforeseen circumstances however, the string of questions extends to when, where, and most importantly, Why, but that too remains valid for a short time and exists at a superficial level because when all said and done, everything merges into nothingness. The world in which we are living today, there is no dearth of such unnatural deaths and every day we get to know of several contemptible crimes, some of which are self-evident in their atrocity and some are veiled under the political nature of events which try to establish an unconvincing justification of taking several innocent lives. The convenience of language comes handy in allocating various terms to such events but at the end of the day and deep in our hearts we know what it should be called: 'Yes, a murder, nothing more'.Javier Marías latest novel, The Infatuations (Los enamoramientos) in a brilliant translation by Margaret Jull Costa, is a philosophical enquiry into human nature, which when exposed to dark alleys of death and its companions, makes way into myriad speculations and unexpected conclusions. Maria, our protagonist, is in a habit of starting her day by having breakfast at a particular café in Madrid, where she silently observes a loving couple, Luisa and Miguel, whom she secretly attributes as ‘The Perfect Couple’. She feels happy on seeing them happy, inwardly smiles when they laugh at some random jokes and admire their immaculate sense of dressing style and their dignified demeanor. Watching them becomes a part of her daily routine and provides the necessary stimulant to deal with her otherwise mundane and at times frustrating day at work with a publishing house. Even without the exchange of a single word she feels a deep connection with them, a connection to which it won’t be wrong to give the name of 'The Infatuation'.How fragile they are, these connections with people one knows only by sight.Maria experiences the fragility of her abstract relationship with the couple when her routine was interrupted by their absence for several days. Miguel is brutally murdered and Luisa becomes an ‘inconsolable widow’. Should Maria go forward and offer some comforting words to the lady she was always in the habit of seeing besides a handsome man or better she let go of her curiosity surrounding the tragedy and move on with her life thus bringing an end to the Happy beginning to her mornings? Curiosity killed the cat but thankfully Maria is a ‘Prudent Young Woman’, the name given to her by the couple.She does meet Luisa which makes way for some new characters and unfolds several layers concerning Miguel’s death which renders the whole situation a murder mystery. But this is not your everyday whodunit novel. This book screams of Marias style from every angle which, besides from great writing, offers huge chunks of internal monologues, philosophical discourses and microscopic analysis of different situations which further gives us enough material to contemplate, both while reading the book and after the last page is turned over. At times it reads like as if Marias pens down all the thoughts which occur in his mind relating to a quote he liked in a book or a news item he read in a national daily or observations he made while noticing a couple walking down a street or having a quiet dinner at some restaurant and with the rough draft in his hands, he inserts few characters and a subtle plotline in congruence to his thoughts and presents us with a unique literary achievement.Maria, through her meeting with Luisa, meets Javier and falls in love with him or is it just an infatuation? Could be anything but it does make Luisa vulnerable since she becomes acquainted to some incomplete facts by way of sheer chance and holds the power in molding those facts into whatever concrete evidence she deems fit giving the situation she finds herself in and at the same time is exposed to life threatening conditions. It in turn tells us that one can easily find oneself carefully dissecting the delicate nature of truth in the face of uncertainty and how in the wake of making choice between making or breaking a life, (especially of those we have become infatuated with, whether in a trivial or substantial way) the questions of morality and ethics, takes a backseat. ..the most transient and trivial of infatuations lack any real cause, and that’s even truer of feelings that go far deeper, infinitely deeper than that.Throughout the novel, we mostly find ourselves reading the numerous ruminations by Maria on subjects like love, death, justice, chance, destiny, psychology of guilt, the implications of thoughtful and thoughtless actions, truth, et al. Sounds boring? Yes, but there is something about Marías prose which gradually draws the reader in, captures the attention and the only way out in a satisfactory manner is to read till the end. As one character points out: Again he had been tempted into speechifying, and was forcing himself to resist. He was trying to get to the point, and my feeling was that, if he was still taking his time, he was not doing so unwillingly and unwittingly, but had an end in mind, perhaps he was trying to draw me in and gradually accustom me to the facts. The Infatuations, notwithstanding Marías merit as a writer, does have its share of flaws, most apparent of which is its narration from the perspective of female, which as I came to know, was a first for Marías. It’s not being carried out with as much finesse as Marías is capable of and for most of the part he succumbs to the age old generalizations pertaining to women behavior, specifically in terms of dealing with their male counterparts. Although most of the time the gender specificity of the narration is not that prominent but when it comes under the spot light, the weak points are easily discernible. Apart from that, this book runs the risk of pushing the readers patience to its extreme since the most interesting part comes close to around 200 pages, so had this been my first Marías book, I’d be a bit underwhelmed but it was not and met most of my expectations ensued after reading his other book, A Heart So White. Therefore, for Marías neophytes, it’s advisable to get acquainted with his style first but with some other book in order to understand the true essence of ‘The Infatuations’ in a more appreciative manner. The emotional turmoil described in this book through various characters provides a profound and intellectual study of human fallibility, which when communicated through the impeccable observational skills of Marías that dwells nothing but on the brutal honesty, promises an inimitable reading experience. Four stars for this one. I really liked it.

  • Isabel Allende
    2018-10-14 11:29

    Una novela literaria que requiere un lector atento. Tiene suspenso, pero el argumento es lo de menos, lo que más interesa es la filosofía del autor.

  • Saleh MoonWalker
    2018-10-12 08:41

    Onvan : Los enamoramientos - Nevisande : Javier MarÌ_as - ISBN : 8420407135 - ISBN13 : 9788420407135 - Dar 401 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2011

  • Jessica
    2018-09-26 08:29

    God, I love reading. A good novel one of the greatest pleasures that we get in this life, and fuck you everyone who helped me forget that, and God bless you Javier Marías for making me remember.Okay, so I just invoked the Lord's name twice in one small paragraph, which must mean I'm a bit worked up. I don't know if I can convey how much I enjoyed this book, but beyond that, what a profound relief it was for me to enjoy it so much, now.I'm coming up on the closing end of an MFA program. While in sum this has been great for me and I feel incredibly lucky to have been allowed all this time off from real life to read and write, in certain ways I feel that the experience damaged my relationship with the written word. It's made me cynical about writing, for one thing, and has compromised my ability to lose myself in books. This doubtless has a lot more to do with my personal pathology than with any flaw in the MFA system, but the discourse and assumptions of MFA-land (broadly speaking) have disrupted my historical enthusiasm for literature. To be fair -- and to emphasize that this is much more about my own eccentricities than anything else -- I did once go from being an obsessive bookworm-from-age-five to a near-illiterate due to high school English classes, which made me hate books, and I didn't read novels for almost two years after college because having been made to discuss and analyze it had temporarily ruined the thrill of fiction for me.Fortunately, I don't think I'll suffer such long-term effects this time, thanks to the heroism of the brilliant Spaniard Javier Marías!I have a hard time articulating what I find so mortally offensive about my interpretation of the MFA dogma, but I think it might be the idea that everyone has something worth writing about, and that we just all need to learn certain skills in order to do it well. In fact, in my opinion, most people do not have anything worth writing about, or at least, do not have anything to write that I'd ever want to read. And that's simply because most of us humans do not have particularly interesting or original minds. I feel like a lot of the MFA world would object that this doesn't matter -- a lot of people have interesting stories, they might say, and thus the great need for all these billions of memoirs (and my response to this would be to vomit on their feet).But yeah, I feel like the implication I picked up from MFA-land is that it doesn't matter if you don't have a uniquely fascinating mind; once you learn the tricks and techniques, you can manufacture some fiction and serve it up to people who will recognize the product as palatable and therefore consume it. I feel like that's what workshops are: sort of a quality control taste test, like what Applebee's probably has to make sure their newly developed recipes all taste like something they'd serve.The analogy for me is cooking. The MFA is a cooking school that teaches eager students all kinds of techniques, from simple braising to complex foams, so that they can concoct all manner of restaurant-ready cuisines. The thing, though, for me, is that even with all these skills and bells and whistles, if you're using mediocre ingredients, how awesome can the dish you make ultimately be?What matters isn't so much how you cook as what you're cooking with. In fiction, the ingredients are the author's brain, and if the author's brain isn't particularly juicy and tasty to begin with, you might wind up with a decent soup but the end product can only be but so great. Conversely, a brilliant writer can burn the hell out of something and write a shitty book; that happens all the time. But ideally, the chef's skills and technique will perfectly exploit and highlight the advantages of his raw materials, which is what Marías accomplishes beautifully in The Infatuations.The first sentence of this book scalded away the sour aftertaste of my MFA-acquired nitpicky hypercritical reading habit, and reminded me of what it's like to read for pure pleasure. Marías's prose makes me feel like I'm a dog having my belly scratched, a bizarre thing to announce since I'm reading him in translation, which is like, I don't even know what it's like, falling in love with someone who's had a ton of drastic plastic surgery procedures done, like on those shows they had on TV a lot a decade ago where people got everything on their body redone at once, so that you don't actually know what they look like? Wait, I guess it's not like that at all. Never mind, jeez, I don't know... But if living in Miami for three years isn't enough motivation to learn Spanish (which evidently it hasn't been), wanting to read Marías properly should be. I feel like he writes very much with translation in mind, but I also get confused by the parts where he explicitly discusses the language because I don't know what the Spanish would be and what the translator had to tweak.Anyway, my confused non-point about the author's brain and all that is just that Marías's mind is so compelling and fascinating that it makes me feel, as a lazy back-cover blurber might write, spellbound. I mean, I just feel like his mind literally casts a spell with his words and I don't care what happens in the book, as long as I can stay in it. Actually, this book did have a suspenseful plot and I did want to know what would happen next, but that pleasure was very much secondary to just wanting to keep on reading his sentences, inhabiting this consciousness he created, seeing the world from this perspective. I know people would disagree with me, but that power of seduction and hypnosis can't be taught in any school. And I may be wrong about this too, but I doubt anyone has ever inspired true love, or even profound infatuation, by relying on a copy of The Game or The Rules, which I imagine to be cooking-school-slash-MFA-in-book-form (forgive my mixed metaphors [or actually fuck it, don't, this ain't a workshop, if you don't like it too bad!]) for would-be seducers. Using these guides, you might get someone to sleep with you a few times, or who knows, even propose, but to make someone fall deeply in love with you, you need to have something in you capable of seriously inflaming another's passion. An organic tomato, as it were, or just a vision of the earth that's unlike any ordinary person's, but is enough like ours so that we can get lost in your work.Anyway, I'm not going to say this book is for everyone, cause I bet it's not, but it's definitely for me. If you love long, recursive sentences and slow, largely internal, meditative fiction with a theoretically lurid, thriller-type plot but have not yet checked this guy out, do.

  • Ian
    2018-09-18 12:41

    A Gender of Her OwnMarias' first person narrator is a woman, Maria (with neither his accent, his "s" nor his balls).It's tempting to read this novel, preoccupied by the search for evidence that this is a foolish narrative device (e.g., the fear that we might find sentences like "a gust of cold air made my nipples hard," which, rest assured, doesn't appear within!). However, such a quest would really only deprive the reader of the pleasure of the text.It's true that the novel reads very much like Marias' other novels, all of which are narrated by males.However, the resemblance results more from the consistency of Marias' preoccupations and use of language.You could argue that no two Beatles' songs sound alike, apart perhaps from the vocals. However, Marias has more in common with the first five I.R.S. albums by R.E.M., which crafted a highly consistent and identifiable sound. You could always tell an R.E.M. song, before Michael Stipe opened his mouth.A Sentimental AttachmentIt helps that Marias places Maria in a publishing house. She doesn't just read books, she edits and promotes them. More importantly, she doesn't just edit contemporary literature professionally, she reads it for pleasure. Thus, it makes sense that Maria shares Marias' sensitivity and attention to detail:"I knew that the publishing house was, for me, a place tinged with sentiment, which is impossible to conceal or avoid, even if the sentiment is only half-imagined."If we don't find the narrator's gender convincing in the first half, then by the second half, it's arguably less of a concern. The difference is that, in the first half, Maria focuses on other people. In the second half, her own relationships move to the forefront.A Woman's ObservationWhat Marias' narrators of both genders share are remarkable powers of observation, not just of the external environment, but also of body language, conversational nuance, sentiment, emotion, motive, causation and effect.The advantage that a female narrator gives Marias is the ability to judge men (and women) from a female point of view.In this case, the difference lies in the mark each sex wishes to make on the world.However, to some extent, Maria can also judge Marias, or at least the device allows Marias to purport to judge himself from the perspective of a woman.A Life in SentencesI've read a lot of sentences since joining GR, as well as a lot about sentences. I've come to belatedly admire Proust. However, of the authors I like who are still living today, I'm almost ready to say that Marias is the most impressive (some credit should probably go to his English translator, Margaret Jull Costa).Each sentence contributes to the narrative flow of the overall drama. However, many individual sentences (some of which extend imperceptibly for pages) contain their own mini-drama, as if the sentence in its modest entirety contained the whole of a discrete narrative. If the novel is a universe, then one of these sentences is a galaxy. Marias makes a unique and consummate stylist like William H. Gass look arid, angry and academic. With Marias, you get a sense of an intellectual and emotional life lived (and not just observed) to the fullest.The Theatrical GazeMaria is frequently gazed at. Equally, she gazes at others, both women and men.Still, the events that she recounts concern people who seem larger than life, if only because of the level of drama that surrounds them, or rather with which they have surrounded themselves:"I had a good view of them both, in profile, as if I were in the stalls and they were on stage, except that we were on the same level...I didn't want to be disturbed. I didn't want to take my eyes off that stage-like table..."There is more than one infatuation in the novel. The title is, after all, plural. One of the two on stage is infatuated with the other, and Maria is infatuated with them (singular).So much happens in the mind, so much is thought, yet for me the novel has all of the dramatic tension of theatre.Between Stage and StallsThere is a murder at the heart of the novel (committed early on). Maria gets entangled in the aftermath. As she says, she is an editor, not a detective. However, she gets close enough to the events to examine, witness and appraise the unfolding of the story, indeed to narrate it. She also breaks down the distance, the barrier between stage and stalls. From this proximity, she learns what good actors people can be. She learns about the art of deception.Equally, we readers learn that the illusion of theatre and fiction gives us the ability to think and act like a murderer. It allows us to humanise, personalise and contextualise crime, without necessarily judging it or the perpetrators, so that it's not totally absurd to say, "Yes, a murder, nothing more."The Return of the DeadThis line comes from Dumas' "The Three Musketeers". Marias also alludes frequently to "Macbeth" and Balzac's novella, "Colonel Chabert".What Marias makes of these allusions is a tale about death, time, the timing of death, and the manner of its happening.None of us can know the timing of our own death. If we suffer an accident or are murdered (like Lady Macbeth - "The queen, my Lord, is dead"), another factor intervenes, when we "should have died hereafter". But we all have to die, and ironically the timing and manner of our death is of less concern to us (for we had to die sooner or later, and now we are dead), than it is to those around us. It's others who suffer grief, and wish for a time that they could bring us back. Alternatively, they might wish to avoid grief altogether:"She should have died later on, when I wasn't alive to hear the news, or to see or to dream anything; when I was no longer in time and incapable, therefore, of understanding."The Erasure of the PastOn the other hand, the lesson to be drawn from Balzac's novella is that, if we are dead or believed to be dead, it is better for all concerned that we not return ("it is a mistake for the dead to return"). Time, having passed, should not be rewound. If we vanish, we should vanish for good, if not necessarily, for better. It is the function of the present to forget, to minimise, to erase the past. The present should let it be:"...with the passing of time, what has been should continue to have been, to exist only in the past, as is always or almost always the case, that is how life is intended to be, so there is no undoing what is done and no unhappening what has happened; the dead must stay where they are and nothing can be corrected."Or to put it another way:"Fortunately or unfortunately, the dead are as fixed as paintings, they don't move, they don't add anything, they don't speak and never respond. And they are wrong to come back, those who can."The Stain of Memory and GuiltThis might be sage advice. However, our memories work against it. They preserve in us fragments, remnants, vestiges, ghosts of the past:"Anything anyone tells you becomes absorbed in your consciousness, even if you don't believe it or know that it never happened and that it's pure invention, like novels and films, like the remote story of Colonel Chabert."Of course, if we are the perpetrator of a crime, the poison that drove us (e.g., envy, covetousness, greed), the poison we have used, might remain as a permanent, ineradicable, damned spot or blot or stain or mark on our conscience as well.Yes, a Murder, Nothing MoreIn deciding whether to commit the crime, we have to weigh up the burden of the stain:"What would be the point of having impregnated myself like this, with this murder, this conspiracy, this horror, of carrying the deceit and the betrayal within my breast for ever, of never being able to shake them off or forget them except in moments of unconsciousness...what would be the point of having established a link that will reappear in my dreams and that I will never be able to break, what would be the point of all this vileness, if I fail to reach my one goal?"Unfortunately, in the case of murder (even if it be nothing more), the crime is irreversible. We cannot wake the dead (as Macbeth says, "I would thou couldst"). Thus, we might be left with the collective burdens of memory, guilt and punishment.Crime and PunishmentAs Maria acquires knowledge and understanding, she must determine what to do with it.This is perhaps where Marias speculates that women, or at least Maria, might be different from men:"It doesn't matter that some, if not most, civilian [criminal] acts go unrecorded, ignored, as is the norm. Men, however, tend to strive to achieve quite the opposite effect, although they often fail: to leave branded on the skin a fleur-de-lys that perpetuates and accuses and condemns, and possibly unleashes more crimes. That would probably have been my intention with anyone else, or with him too, had I not fallen stupidly and silently in love, and if I did not still love him a little."Marias doesn't expressly say it, but women might have a greater capacity for grace and forgiveness, while men tend to bear grudges, not to mention being more prepared to remove obstacles in the way of getting what they want (even if the manner of removal might be criminal).Between Two Chance EventsLife consists of two chance events: our birth and our death. We are not usually responsible for the timing of either. Equally, we meet people (one chance event), fall in love or become infatuated ("el enamoramiento"), fall out of love, part company and recover (the second chance event).Maria faces this reality with almost superhuman equanimity:"In the end, everything tends toward attenuation, sometimes little by little and thanks to great effort on our part; sometimes with unexpected speed and contrary to our will, while we struggle in vain to keep faces from fading and paling into nothing, and deeds and words from becoming blurred objects that drift about in our memory with the same scant value as those we've read about in novels or seen and heard in films..."Love, like time, passes. As Maria says, "It will pass, it already is passing, that's why I don't mind acknowledging it."In a way, she acknowledges that it's up to us to determine how much or how little we fit between two chance events.Whether a woman or a man was responsible for it, it is nevertheless a timeless and beautifully composed acknowledgement.SOUNDTRACK:Javier Marías - "The Infatuations"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZidw..."It's probably the same thing, the same stories, the same drop of water falling on the same stone all the time, ever since Homer or before..."Ella Fitzgerald "Someone to Watch Over Me"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYQBB...Amy Winehouse - "Someone to Watch over Me"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLqsI...John Cale - "I Keep A Close Watch"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZzzi...John Cale - "I Keep A Close Watch"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lM1t7...John Cale - "Guts"Chris Spedding on guitarhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9UAh..."The bugger in the short sleeves fucked my wifeDid it quick and splitBack home, fresh as a daisy To Maisy, oh Maisy.And the twelve-bore it stood in the cornerQuite operatic in its self disgustIt blew him all over the living room floorLike parrot shit, parrot spit, parrot shit was shot.Now suppose it was someone familiarSomeone we all would knowEmbarrassing denouement, n'est-ce pas?Familiar hyperbole.And there would go the secret plotThe piss had missed the hole in the potLike that ancient teenage dreamFrom soul to poison, soul to poison, soul."Live version:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2do0q...Soft Boys - "I Wanna Destroy You"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAt7h...The Smiths - "The Queen is Dead"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tb8X..."The queen, my Lord, is dead."Lou Reed - "Vanishing Act"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bS06h..."How nice it is to disappear,Float into a mist,With a young lady on your armLooking for a kiss.It might be nice to disappearTo have a vanishing actTo always be looking forwardNever look over your back It must be nice to disappearFloat into a mistWith a young lady on your armLooking for a kiss."Mayot Cafe and FoodstoreThe last time I saw Joffrey was also the last time I went to the Mayot Cafe. I had never spoken to him. When he wasn't alone, he tended to be with one of two people. One I assumed must have been his wife, for he was never with any other woman, and unlike the other customers, he didn't flirt with the staff, at least in my presence. The other was possibly an old school friend or his attorney or his stock broker. The other man was always dressed in a suit. Earlier in the week, when the two of them had been there together, I had overheard the other man use phrases like "diversified portfolios", which along with everything else Joffrey attentively typed into his iPad. This last day, however, he was alone, though judging by the number of times he looked at his watch, he was expecting somebody else to arrive. When at last he read the messages on his phone, he ordered a cup of coffee, and took a book out of his bag. It seemed like his friend wasn't coming or that they would be delayed. If he had been a little less chubby, I might have found him attractive. Before I learned he might be married, when I had only seen him dining by himself, I even wondered whether I should initiate a conversation with him. But I didn't. Still, on this last day, when it would have been too late anyway, I loved the way his lips moved silently while he read his book. It made me want to go right over and kiss them. I nearly did. For a moment, it seemed as if we might leave at the same time, but he ordered another coffee. Just as it arrived and I was about to depart, he closed his book and set it very precisely on the table, then he leaned back and took a photo of it against the background of the plaza outside the cafe. He looked very pleased with himself. Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend.

  • Dawn
    2018-10-06 07:36

    I had such high hopes for this. The reviews have been glowing. Everyone seemed to be talking about it. And I've been trying to read more translations. At first the premise and subject matter seemed promising - and the first few extended conversations were quite interesting.But then ... Blah blah blah. Blah Blah Blah Blah. Blah Blah Blah. The talking and talking and talking and then thinking (internal talking) and more talking and more talking. Please - I'm drowning in the middle of sentences that are paragraphs long. And paragraphs that seem to reach to infinity. And then by the time something did actually happen, I didn't care anymore. About anyone or anything in the book. I kept going - feeling that I'd already invested too much time and brainpower to quit - but it was a slog. If I had to do it over I would have abandoned it at 100 pages. Blah.

  • Paquita Maria Sanchez
    2018-10-13 15:35

    I love reading novels that form vigorously divided yes/no camps among my favorite reviewers. It immediately intrigues me when I see frenzied entreaties to read something coupled with impassioned panning, especially when these differences of opinion aren't easily equated to simple individual stylistic tastes, like "the oft-seen tendency of some post-modern writers to indulge in long-winded tangents over emotional minutia disrupts the flow of the narrative for me to an insurmountable extent" or "Hemingway was a terse hack, fuck that guy and the lion he rode in on." Funny thing about this book is it embraces both worlds, taking the worst of Hemingway's stock female characters - simple, insufferable, and amour-obsessed - and immerses the reader in the literary equivalent of one of those boring "and then he did this, and then he said this, and he could have meant this, but do you think he meant that?" seemingly endless boy-fretting, microscopic dissection phone calls we only suffer from our friends because they are our friends (and we are basically buying insurance that someone will listen when it's our turn to hyper-analyze the behavior of another human being, however inaccurately we will maybe-probably do so). That said, I liked the basic story behind this novel, old as man though the whole love-triangle (love-quadrilateral?) thing may be. The slight twist on the Zola, Therese Raquin style passion-tragedy worked for me when all was said and done, even if I was fairly certain, pretty much right away, that I knew what was going on and how it would all end up (which I did, and it did). The moral ambiguity was the good stuff, and what made me bump it up a star, because I did like that part, and 3-stars means "I liked it" without necessarily specifying what "it" is. I appreciated the murder-mystery angle, un-mysterious though it may have been, because it brought up a lot of good questions about how much deep affection will allow one human to forgive in another human, and how sometimes with loved ones you find yourself asking how you could have possibly made it through so much without hating each other. Which I guess sorta makes it the anti-Zola now that I'm thinking about it, but whatever.I try not to overuse the word "overrated" because tastes vary so widely, and it's a bit silly to assume a consensus on something unquantifiable like "the opinions of everyone." So when I cautiously say that I liked this book, but found it a bit overrated, I mean that in the same way as when I say I like Radiohead, but think they're a bit overrated. Of course, I like Radiohead much more than I liked this book, but the general theme works, meaning the people who loved this book seem to have loved it like many (most?) Radiohead fans love Radiohead. For me, it was good but not earth-shatteringly great, and many other authors (or "other musicians", since I insist on sticking with this little comparison) are doing similar things, except, in my opinion, better, or at least have been for longer. I don't know where I was going with that. I just mean the praise lauded over this book could find many a more worthy cause, not that there's anything wrong with also appreciating this book. I lost myself. When I say I like this book, I don't mean it as deeply as a lot of others appear to mean to get across when they say they liked this book. Same goes for Radiohead. There. Basically, I thought the story was intriguing, but the narrator (and everybody, really) was inexcusably vacuous. It wasn't the tedium of the writing style at all - I love my tedious job, I can spend hours engrossed in a task like organizing an itunes library and really enjoy myself, some of my favorite books embrace tedious verbosity, and I definitely find a lot of very tedious people charming. Shoot, The Pale King is one of the better books I've come across in a long time, and it is an intentionally tedious read about tedium. It wasn't the unlikable narrator - I absolutely do not require a likable or reliable narrator to enjoy a book, and often want just the opposite. It was just that this narrator was so...boring. All we ever find out about her is that she works in publishing, and liked this dude this one time. Everything she said over and over and over again never needed to be said in the first place, at least in my opinion. I didn't care about her thoughts or her feelings, I didn't wish her ill or well, I just wanted her to stop dwelling and finish the story. Eventually, mercifully, she did. And it was an interesting story, really it was. So I guess I agree with all of you, sort of. I will gladly be your mediator on the subject of this novel.

  • Bettie☯
    2018-10-16 14:27

    Withdrawn from South Dublin Libraries - Clondalkin BranchTranslated by Margaret Jull CostaDescription: The Infatuations is a metaphysical murder mystery and a stunningly original literary achievement by Javier Marías, the internationally acclaimed author of A Heart So White and Your Face Tomorrow.Every day, María Dolz stops for breakfast at the same café. And every day she enjoys watching a handsome couple who follow the same routine. Then one day they aren't there, and she feels obscurely bereft.It is only later, when she comes across a newspaper photograph of the man, lying stabbed in the street, his shirt half off, that she discovers who the couple are. Some time afterwards, when the woman returns to the café with her children, who are then collected by a different man, and Maria approaches her to offer her condolences, an entanglement begins which sheds new light on this apparently random, pointless death.With The Infatuations, Javier Marías brilliantly reimagines the murder novel as a metaphysical enquiry, addressing existential questions of life, death, love and morality.The Infatuations is an extraordinary, immersive book about the terrible force of events and their consequences. Opening: The last time I saw Miguel Desvern or Deverne was also the last time that his wife, Luisa, saw him, which seemed strange, perhaps unfair, given that she was his wife, while I, on the other hand, was a person he had never met, a woman with whom he had never exchanged so much as a single word. The first thing I thought when I saw this cover was - "that's Fairground Attraction": All I can find on this image is: Magnum photographer Elliot Erwitt and was taken in 1955. Apart from the obvious Eddi Reader songs playing parkour through my synapses, I also heard this as a hattip to our narrator. And whilst I'm filching from the Fab Four, there is only one song that goes with this mental tongue-twister of a discovery:"If the real me is is this woman constantly making all these associations, things that a few months ago would have seemed to me so completely disparate and unrelated; if I am the person I've been since his death, that means that for him I was always someone else, and had he lived, I would have continued to be the person I am not, indefinitely."You can't spoon-feed me irrationals, Marias, I will have to keep a specific lookout for where you make a point of saying, through a character, that people change with events, they drastically change after drastic events.'Professor Rico was wearing a charming Nazi-green jacket and an ivory-coloured shirt; his nonchalantly knotted tie was a brighter, more luminous green - melon green perhaps.' hmmIf only that applied to this book! I only mean that halfway seriously because some of the musing was addictive, especially concerning Balzac and Athos. 5* Tomorrow in Battle Think on Me3* The Infatuations

  • Scribble Orca
    2018-10-10 11:39

    I know. I know you are looking at those stars and saying "Tja. Typical." But let me plead clemency by claiming somewhere between three and four and to be highly recommended by such reviews as:this, (forthcoming) from the Marias Man of the Moment;this, a discerning and appreciative reflection; andthis (undoubtedly) scholarly and analytical appraisal.If even half of what is printed in the name of publishing were of the quality of Marias' prose, laments about the dearth of decent reading material would reduce exponentially. He weaves strands with an effortless dexterity and offers nuggets of wisdom about the human character as lightly as a pebble is tossed into a stream; the problem was that I expected a grander show of linguistic acrobatics. Well worth your reading time, even if this reader was left looking at the party through the window and wishing the invite had afforded entry.

  • Zaphirenia
    2018-10-19 12:36

    2,5/5"Μια νουβέλα είναι, και ό,τι συμβαίνει στις νουβέλες και στα μυθιστορήματα δεν έχει σημασία και λησμονιέται μόλις τα τελειώσει κανείς."Δε θα μπορούσα να το πω καλύτερα από ό,τι ο ίδιος ο Μαρίας. Πραγματικά, προβλέπω ότι με το που τελείωσα αυτό το βιβλίο θα το ξεχάσω, είναι βέβαιο ότι η μνήμη μου δε θα το καταγράψει ως κάτι αρκετά ενδιαφέρον ώστε να φυλάξει για αυτό κάποια ιδιαίτερη θέση.Καταρχάς, θα έπρεπε να είναι τουλάχιστον μισό σε έκταση. Τις τελευταίες εκατό σελίδες τις διάβασα διαγώνια και με αρκετή δυσφορία για τις πολλές επαναλήψεις, τη φλυαρία, την τόση φιλοσοφία και ψυχανάλυση. Ενώ αρχικά είχε ενδιαφέρον όλη αυτή η εσωτερική επεξεργασία των συναισθημάτων και των ψυχικών μεταπτώσεων, καθώς και η ανάπτυξη των θεμάτων του έρωτα και του θανάτου, κάπου λίγο έλεος, τετρακόσιες σελίδες είναι πραγματικά πάρα πολλές για να αναμασά τα ίδια πράγματα. Μάλιστα, δεν μας λέει κάτι ιδιαίτερα πρωτότυπο ή νέο, κάτι που θα εντυπωσιάσει τον αναγνώστη τόσο βαθιά ώστε η φλυαρία να βοηθά να "κάτσει" μέσα του η καινούρια ιδέα. Όχι, καθόλου. Απλά, καθημερινά πράγματα διαβάζουμε, σκέψεις που τις κάνουμε όλοι μας λίγο ή πολύ κατά τη διάρκεια της ζωής μας. Τις παρουσιάζει αρκετά καλά μεν, θα μπορούσε και με πολύ λιγότερες λέξεις δε, ώστε να μην κουράζει με την τόση επανάληψη. Πιστεύω ότι ως νουβέλα θα ήταν αρκετά πιο μεστό και δεμένο, ως μυθιστόρημα όμως ήταν σα μισοφουσκωμένο θαλάσσιο στρώμα.

  • Oriana
    2018-09-27 09:25

    You guys oh no I accidentally abandoned this book. I mean, it wasn't actually an accident; I just came to the unignorable conclusion after 90ish pages that opening this book had become like being in one of those dreams where every part of your body is SO HEAVY that you can't even wiggle a single toe. Every time I thought about picking this up, suddenly I was rearranging the condiments in my fridge or mindlessly scrolling through Instagrams I'd already looked at like four times. And I can't even really explain why! Okay well actually yes, I can: the writing. Because the plot is really interesting (I think?), but he has this quicksandy style where each sentence has like 400 subclauses and is approximately three pages long, and it's not like lush descriptions that you melt into, it's these endless imagined conversations each character has with herself, sort of narrating a scene that occurred offscreen, or tootling through a remembered moment, or methodically projecting some made-up anecdote that happened to someone else. I don't even know how to explain it or my distaste for it, especially because I am no slouch when it comes to long sentences and unusual writing styles. But this one just made me go nope nope nope and stare off into space on the subway when I should have been reading. Life is too short, you guys. Right?Although I would like to remind anyone keeping track that I don't even have a shelf for abandoned books because it happens so rarely that I don't persevere; I only have "didn't finish—yet," which is where this sucker is going until some hopeful later date when I will come back to it and be thrilled instead of so bored I already fell asleep just thinking about reading one more paragraph.

  • Stephen P
    2018-10-15 11:17

    They sat here before. The Chambers. Awash in the overheated humidity, pomade, the dense artificial freshening scent. Moments before, an objection had been raised out there.So, Sam, what...what can you give me?"Gruesome over here objected to my objection.You know he's right Ned. You can't object to an objection. If I were to allow that then one of you would object to that and the objections would go on until we could no more see them. I'm still not sure what your case is Sam. He rolled out his arms beneath the flowing robe, caring for the creases. He was on his, "Throne," behind the polished mahogany desk his chambers brightly lit.Your Honor...Jimmy...Jim.Your Honor will do.My clients has...let's simplify it...incurred an injury.Define the injury Sam better than you tried out there.O.K. My client is a slow reader, call it cautious...He looks like a slow reader.Ned that's enough out of you. Act like a Prosecuting Attorney.I am. Act like a defense Attorney then. He looked at the clock on the desk. It could not be heard. No tick. Only numbers. No evidence time passed or moved. Less than thirty minutes gentleman before court is back in session and I expect we will come to a compromise before then. Sam, your defense, if we are going to call it such, is based on your client having suffered through the first one hundred and eighty pages of this novel. First Sam, the judge folded his hands and cast his famous thin grin, what kind of suffering? Was he flayed? Bodily scars to show the assault? It is a book Sammy. He could have put it down......Any time, Ned broke in. That is my point. He had the free will to stop reading the book at each moment. No one forced him. And by the way the tie doesn't go with the suit.What does that have to do with anything?He's wearing the tie, Jimmy...Your Honor, to have the jury see him as a shnook. He likes looking like a shnook so if he says something that makes sense it will sound smarter. Or make him look like he has a date after court he doesn't want to show for. Juries love this kind of stuff.You think I'm wearing this tie because... I think you're bringing it up because you want to divert his Honor.Boy. Boys. Children. Leave all this for when we get out there. Now, let's define the case each of you want to make and come up with a compromise. Shit, it's hot in here.Take off the robe.Go to hell. Sammy.My client went through an emotional pain of three days, 180 pages, of reading something repetitive, suffocating and banal. He did not close it because he was led-on in a purposive manner.Of course he was led. What the hell do you think these writers do. They plant things like terrorists. You can't even see them while you read. They lead you off in one direction then you find yourself somewhere else. Your honor this isn't a case. His client, this reviewer guy just doesn't have the chops.Sam?O.K. my client didn't start reading until later in life. But he has read a lot recently and has read many of this author's books. And, might I say loved them. And, for good reason. Now, I hate to agree with Ned-I wore this tie because I woke late and dressed in the dark-but you see the author led him on to continue reading this incredibly dull stuff by the richness of his previous novels, All Souls, TITBTOM...TITBTOM, Sam?Tomorrow In The Battle Think On Me.You see this is what he does, your Honor. He's shleps out in his mammy-pamsy suit and pathetic tie, he slightly musses up his hair, then the godawful dimple when he reluctantly smiles making him look like a kid who just needs this one break. And me, I look like the old cagey guy. Please tell him he can't use TITBTOM out there and then blush.Get. To. The. Point.Anyone having read the defendant's previous work would feel the compulsion to read on. The woman, the narrator, speculated about everything including her own speculations. Her thoughts never stopped or arrived anywhere...Kind of like this conversation.Very good your Honor. The story didn't go anywhere, never moved off the starting block. I hold out that my client as an average typical reader may have missed some salient points that in all honesty were too well hidden.You mean Mr. Marias, Ned smiled, did too good of a job.Took it too far. Besides he began with a fascinating hook where the narrator eats alone every morning in this diner watching this couple being happy, the perfect couple. There was a promise here your Honor that was broken for the next one hundred and eighty pages.Damnit. What about Sam...Ned sit down. We're just defining the cases. Take it easy.Yes your Honor but what about this guy's attempt to be inside of a woman?I must have missed that part Ned, Sam blushed What page did you say that was on?The judge rose, played futilely with the thermostat then opened up a drawer with a key in a wood filing case. He brought the three quarter full bottle of aged scotch malt and three semi-clean glasses to the table and poured careful. They each raised their glasses and silently toasted one another. You know what I mean. This is good scotch your Honor. Sammy boy purposively wants to embarrass himself even here as a strategy. We all know that I meant this writer is taking the chance to place himself inside of a woman's mind, her imagination. No credit for the courage of this. How hard it might be. Let's face it we guys are born into this world are taught that all kinds of things are coming to us. Power in large and small events. We expect it. Walk around with the expectation. Imagine what is like for a woman? Just for a moment? A woman alone? What she is handed before she can even speak in complete sentences is that she is not as good, not as capable, cannot fully depend on herself so must be with others. She, my friends, grows up in, let's be honest, what is still a man's world, with a certain level of fear, vulnerability and in danger. She is taught and shown by our culture, by Sammy's jokes, that she is not set out on a level playing field. Ned held his hands up, O.K. so he didn't do a perfect job with this. I admit it. Who has? There was that yellow raft boat and somebodies choice.Sophie's Choice.Thanks Your Honor. I didn't know you read?I...don't...not usually. From another case... He refilled the glasses in a ritual cadence. Arching their eyebrows they toasted again.You have to, Ned went on, give the man credit for taking the chance. For trying. Do you realize that just the effort can have a great effect. One man reader to another, then another. If any of us, if I could through the effort, see the world through a woman's eyes, feel what its like being in this still-man's world, that has done the world a service. And Sam, Sammy, this is part of the book. Over and over again he shows this networking. How everything said and done effects and changes others forever, it all ripples out. It's like that painting. What the hell is that, he snapped his fingers but there was no sound. The judge and Sam tried not to look at the gnarling fingers. It's by that Jackson... guy. A bunch of stupid dots when you see it up close, if you want to even call them dots. Big deal right? You leave, then stop when you're at a distance and they are somehow all connected, into a whole. It is beautiful.You might want to pour him some more, Sam jerked his head, your Honor.The judge filled the cup, Now slow down this stuff is expensive.Expensive. You've had it open for months now.You don't expect the good stuff do you? You're trying to throw me off aren't you. Judges know how its done.What, Ned lifted his glass, would a woman feel right now sitting here? Could she feel comfortable like we do, to be herself?Speak for yourself. When Jimmy takes off the robe I'll feel a lot better. So will he. It must be eighty degrees in here. Okay Ned, he made an effort. I agree. Just not a good enough one. Sam tapped the table with the point of his index finger, it doesn't matter in the end my guy isn't going to create any ripples. He has no networkings to connect, no dots.Is he any good?No. I mean he's okay. Sam shrugged. He tries to be cutesy sometimes. Like this review. He has us speculating and being as banal as I'm complaining about. He's writing down everything we say. That kind of thing.If this is his review I guess Marias doesn't have much to worry about.No it's an on-line thing. A great site but he's one out of a few million. Someone here or there gives him a pat on the back. I don't think he's ever gotten twenty of them The guy doesn't even show a picture of himself so no one firebombs his house or sues him. Yeah, Sam laughs. The judge looks at the digital numbers lapse of time, its passing un-shown. Believe me whether he gives this a one star rating or a five no one cares. It's not going to get in the papers or stop anyone from reading it. It's going to be a three or four anyway.I've never been inside of a review before. Are we allowed to break and use the bathroom?Gentlemen, the judge tapped at his wrist where a watch should have been, the idea of this recess, if I may remind you, was to let me know what case each of you are establishing then see what compromise we want to reach. He picked a pen from a holder and pointed its blunt end at Sam. Your point is that your client, this Mr. S., suffered some sort of emotional injury because for the first what, one hundred and eighty pages, he was misled by the author's past reputation and his, the readers, expectations were thwarted over a lengthy period of time...I would your honor...Do you need more scotch?Sam nodded his head. My client was significantly disappointed. As the prosecuting attorney pointed out Marias himself showed in the narrative how one person being effected by an event will then network out to others, effect others who will then effect more. This disappointment will not only injure my client, stay with him forever but will spread. It cannot be seen...It can, can't it? On his face? Movements? How he treats other people?Are you taking his side your honor. Teaming up? You owe him?Me? The judge held his hands up, speak to the shmuck writing our review.Then I object. It is all a conflict of interest.There you go with your objections again. That's how we got here in the first place. Of course it's a conflict of interest. That's the problem about being in a review. He's the guy tapping on a keyboard. Can't you see the words coming out of my mouth? We just have to do the best we can. Be a man about it.You see...See what? Never mind.So, Sam interrupted, glancing at the ceiling, the corners first, the writing was flat, boring, didn't meet the expectations from previous works, and failed to fulfill the setup of the scene and narrator's character from the beginning. Hopes dashed. The reader, my client, being in my estimation unfairly prosecuted, he glanced back up at the ceiling corner, is left in danger of fearing being disappointed in trying any novel now, in life. And yes I respect his attempt to place us males inside the mind of a woman, to see the world through her eyes. Every man should want to do this as difficult and resistive as it may be. A requirement to be licensed as a human being. However, the author held out a gold ring. We finally got there. And we really did. He put the narrator in a physically and emotionally tense and frightening situation. Around page one eighty the writing became immediate. The narrator became palpably vulnerable. Breathtaking. My client could now look back at the narrator's endless discourse and speculation, the attempts to set up all the possibilities in a mystery novel that wasn't happening, the banality and dreary internal banter... your Honor, you're sweating by the way...and he was able to see the inner experience of this woman's isolation, fear and vulnerability. It could just as effectively have been done, according to my client, within approximately one-third the number of pages. Easy for my client to say. But here we are. We have reached the great writing, the suspense of the story unfolding, experiencing the narrator's experiences first-hand. It is a revelation. Almost worth the drudgery through the one hundred and eighty pages. Then, further along it slips back into its former style to the point where the unfolding was no longer pertinent to my client. He was baited. Exhausted. All the interiority. Marias out-Mariased himself. Simple as that then all he was left with was true, beautific language but otherwise scarred and empty handed. Unfair, and may I say unnecessary. Listen Jimmy...I mean your Honor...Sam over here can say whatever he wants but he ain't too well read...Is that so?Yes your honor. He missed the entire point if I got it right. You know how some people read and they say they see more than what's before them. Right? We deal in a different world. We deal in the real world, objects, people witnessing concrete actions. I spoke to a couple of professors at our college up here. Man, this guy writing this thing doesn't even trust I'm smart enough to come up with this on my own. I've got to get it from some Professors.He's right Ned.Oh yeah. Let's see what he does to you.Holding up his partially robed arm once more, looking at the static numbered clock, the judge said, we've got seven minutes gentlemen before recess is over.The book by the end that my esteemed colleague and his beleaguered client missed is that...give me a second and let me check my notes...is a wonderfully successful text about fiction...storytelling itself. Everything is a fictitious story putting everything said and done in doubt. You know, that long explanation of Diaz Valera's to Maria? Who knows what to believe of that. As the writer so skillfully shows and, get it Sam, you too, Diaz Valera has all the power telling it. It isn't so simple. He'll tell what he remembers, how he remembers it, what is left in and out, how it benefits him in remembering himself-which may be custom manufactured by shards of these memories. It is his, the storyteller's reality. Then Maria will do with it what she needs to do and that will be her reality which may be passed on to others. Remember all of this will effect and network others. But, what he is saying and the book is about is that everything is in doubt. Everything in the book, everything we have said here is in doubt. We make believe that it isn't.If you don't mind, and let me say this slowly so we all understand, we will make believe for the next couple of minutes that we have no doubts. Everything before us is real, concrete and identifiable. The case you are going to present Ned is; the author was doing his job from the beginning and the defendant's complaints shows he was doing his job only too well, the courageous attempt at having the reader experience a woman's isolation, fear, vulnerability, and that the essence of the book, the very way the book was written and would be read is that everything is a story, all stories are manufactured by the teller, and let's see, according to their needs, and thus everything, including what the reader just read or is reading is in doubt. Did I get that all Ned? Please feel free to nod your head yes.Just one thing your Honor.The judge rose, stoppered the bottle of scotch. Placing it back in the drawer of the wood file cabinet, he locked it. Returning, he sat pleating his robe in place, then stretching his arms. Thirty seconds Ned.He read Virginia Woolf's, The Waves, before this. One of the professor's says here in my notes...that it is a book that when read will reconfigure the person in their relationship with their world and with themselves. There is no way that he could then read, The Infatuations, and remain unchanged and be able to objectify the experience of this text.Was that last part yours Ned?Its in my notes...He didn't write it your honor.Uh. It doesn't make any difference. And your's Sam is that the book was unreadable at the beginning. Then the writer baited you with false hope and dropped you again. Although you have no physical injury you are claiming an emotional injury of significant disappointment. You claim that all aside , your clients review will be read by a small group of on-line readers who are kind, intelligent, and generally overlook any gaffes or overstatements your client generally makes. There will be no ripple effect in the...world whether he gives this book a rating of...let's see...three or four stars.Yes, your Honor.This will be our compromise that we have settled on, that will be agreed upon and announced out there by yours truly. You Ned, Mr. Prosecuting Attorney, will drop all charges if the defendant reviews this book with a three and a half star rating. You okay with that Sam?Um. I believe there is no three and a half stars. I've seen this sight. No halves. Decimals and fractions are out. It is precisely either a three or four. I propose a three.Your Honor...Yes...Ned. Is there something more you wan to say?Anything below a four and the defendant will have to cop to at least a lesser degree of defamation of character.Ned...next time I'll give you the good scotch?No sir.Sir?Sir.Then Sam?Why not. My guy probably missed some things anyway. A four it is.Then gentlemen, I am glad to announce we are done, with ten seconds to spare,Your honor...?Yes...Ned?Can we just get up and leave? I mean, will the guy writing the review let us.Well Ned, let's stand up, open the door and see.

  • mkld
    2018-10-13 14:29

    Javier Marías tiene un estilo muy particular. Tengo la suerte de conectar perfectamente con él, y la lectura de sus obras se me hace rapidísima e interesante. Conozco a gente que nunca ha podido acabar un libro suyo. Como siempre, al hilo de una historia, Marías aprovecha para la reflexión y analiza aspectos cotidianos de la vida que me hacen decir constantemente "eso ya lo había pensado yo". Sus reflexiones, su lógica, se parecen tanto a la mía, que me parece estar escuchando mi propio pensamiento.La trama, como es habitual en las novelas suyas que he leído, es simple pero jugosa. No hay mucha acción, pero los pensamientos de los personajes llenan el relato. Siempre he pensado que no se podría adaptar una novela de Marías al cine, se perdería toda su riqueza.A quien esté pensando en leerlo, recomiendo que lo intente con las 50 primeras páginas. Si se le hace arduo o no llega a entrar en la reflexión, que lo deje, porque no habrá captado el compás del autor.

  • Ana Carvalheira
    2018-09-27 08:20

    É uma narrativa belíssima que nos absorve e nos evola que parte de uma temática, para muitos inabordável que, quando surge como assunto de conversa entre um grupo, torna-se para essas pessoas tema dilacerante, evitável, onde sempre haverá alguém que dirá “mudemos de assunto”, porque todos os temas da condição humana podem e devem ser discutidos, analisados, criticados ou sintetizados nas suas definições mais banais, menos aquele que, talvez de tão certo, de tão presente, de tão inexorável, de tão inevitável, de tão premente que pode surgir sem aviso prévio ou ter data marcada – a morte.Talvez, mais do que a morte, “Os Enamoramentos” fala-nos de perdas, não só aquelas que sofremos através da morte, com os nossos mortos, mas configura também uma reflexão sobre os afetos desencontrados, individuais nas suas expectativas, que tendem ao esquecimento que, digam o que disserem, nunca ocorre de forma fácil ou singular. “À Luísa, destroçaram-lhe uma vida que tinha agora mas não a futura. Pensa em quanto tempo lhe resta para continuar a caminhar, não vai ficar agarrada a esse instante, ninguém se fica em nenhum e menos ainda nos piores, daqueles que sempre emergimos, exceto os que possuem um cérebro doentio e se sentem justificados e mesmo protegidos na confortável desdita”. Por mais que possamos negar a nós mesmos e aos outros, a realidade é mesmo essa, mais cedo ou mais tarde, nos conformamos pois acabamos por deixar ir definitivamente os nossos mortos “quando, passado algum tempo, se dá conta de que é a sua própria sobrevivência que está em jogo, de que os mortos são um grande lastro e impedem qualquer avanço e mesmo qualquer alento, se vivermos excessivamente dependentes deles, demais do seu lado escuro”. Creio que é nessa quase assustadora objetividade que reside a enorme mestria narrativa de Javier Marías.Nas dores da separação, seja aquela em que a morte leva um ser amado, seja aquela em que o ser amado nos desterra, aquelas que nos inoculam os mais variegados sentimentos de desordem, de angústia ou aflição, aquelas que temos de trabalhar intensa e interiormente, encontramos o seu reflexo na universalidade dos sentimentos e sensações: "(...) com atração e paixão, porque essas duas coisas não se suprimem de repente e à nossa vontade apenas tendem a demorar-se como uma convalescença ou como a própria doença (...). A retificação dos sentimentos é lenta, desesperadamente gradual. Uma pessoa instala-se neles e torna-se muito difícil sair, adquire-se o hábito de pensar em alguém com um pensamento determinado e fixo e não se sabe renunciar a isso da noite para o dia, ou durante meses e anos, tão longa pode ser a sua aderência. E se o que há é deceção, então combatemo-la de início contra toda a verosimilhança, matizamo-la, negamo-la, tentamos desterrá-la". Pois claro, acontece-nos a todos ... E é nessa dupla perspetiva, nas dimensões do amor e da morte, que Javier Marías me encanta! Tudo o que li do autor espanhol me trouxe algo, acrescentou ou um pormenor ou um “pormaior”, contribuiu para o meu crescimento espiritual, explicou-me, ajudou-me, clarificou-me, redimensionou alguns dos meus conceitos. É, de facto, para mim, um dos maiores escritores da atualidade!

  • Trish
    2018-10-17 13:38

    Marías chooses a female character, Maria, to narrate this European-style psychological thriller with a slow reveal that turns on a dime in the final chapters. Maria works in a publishing company and every day on her break from work she sees an intriguing couple, married, having coffee together. They look so happy and in love that Maria finds herself looking forward to seeing them in the coffee shop. Sometimes she overhears scraps of conversation and pieces together a life for them without them taking notice of her. On the very first page of this novel we learn a man is murdered. It is the man of the couple Maria is so interested in. Maria tells us the last time she saw the man was the last time his own wife saw him. It didn’t seem fair, she thinks, for them to share that intimacy for she didn’t even know his name until she saw the report of his death on television. Marías, Maria: the names one suspects are intentionally close in sound and structure for it is very rare to find a character give up her thoughts so completely to an author. In this novel Marías resides inside the mind of Maria, and almost everything that she thinks over a period of weeks and months is recorded here for us to consider. The world from her view gives us a distance from the victim, his wife, his friend, and the perpetrator of the crime.This novel addresses some themes: the closeness of love and envy; our closest friends can be our greatest enemies; love and distaste; there is an uncertainty that comes with intimacy. In this brief video interview, Marías talks about his themes, one of which is betrayal.Marías’ style--reflective, reflexive, recursive, chatty, digressive—would not work if it weren’t at the same time fiercely intelligent and deeply thoughtful. He is funny, too, as though he has caught onto a joke before we had and can explain it to us. The author is like translator himself, seeking for ways to express an idea, a word, a concept. Long, long sentences and paragraphs punctuated with ellipses and em-dashes show the ongoing thoughts of the narrator and her interpretation of what she finds out when she introduces herself to the wife of the murdered man. After listening to this novel, my first foray into Marías’ work, I went looking for information about the author. His Goodreads site mentions Proust, William Faulkner, and the German writer Thomas Bernhard as influences, and it is not difficult to see these influences in the ebb and flow of internal dialogue that runs alongside the action in this novel. I listened to the audio of this title produced by Penguin Random House, translated by Margaret Jull Costa and read by Justine Eyre. The translation is extremely impressive for stream-of-consciousness writing and reading, perfectly understandable and involving. A capacious mind and a brilliant translator will keep one occupied for days.

  • Hakan T
    2018-10-07 14:42

    Çağdaş İspanyol yazar Javier Marias'tan okuduğum ilk kitap oldu bu roman. Derin, felsefi bir aşk ve cinayet romanı. Aslında bu tanım da kitabın tam hakkını vermiyor. Müthiş bir tempoda başlıyor, okuyanı içine çekiyor ve daha sonra farklı katmanlar içinde yaşamın ve ölümün anlamı, ölenin ardında kalanların yaşam tercihleri, duygusal ilişkilerdeki eşitsizlikler, işlenen suçların nasıl hasıraltı edilebildiği veya haklı gösterilebildiği gibi kavramlar üzerine düşündürüyor. Çarpıcı da bir finali var. Bazen gerçekleri fazla deşmemenin hayatı kolaylaştırabileceği, mutluluk getirebileceği gibi tartışmalı bir temayı okuyanların değerlendirmesine sunuyor. Ustaca işlenen olay örgüsü ve karakterleri (yan karakterlerden karanlık, kart ama sevimli zampara Ruiberriz de unutulacak gibi değil), zaman zaman bir felsefe eseri okuduğunuzu hissetiren yönleri - ki bu bakımdan özellikle anlatıcı Maria'nın bazı ifadeleri pedantik veya fazla iddialı olduğu gerekçesiyle eleştirilebilir de - ve güçlü üslubuyla önemli bir roman. Romanda epey tartışılan Balzac'ın novellası Albay Chabert'i de bir gün okumak lazım diyerek bitireyim.

  • Cem
    2018-10-18 10:35

    Eğer bir ölü (sevdiğimiz bir kişi) geri dönecek olursa tavrımız ne olur? Onsuz hayata belki de tekrar başlamışken, onsuzluğa alışmışken, onun ölümünden ötürü maddi durumumuz belki de hatırı sayılır derecede iyileşmişken, kendimize onsuz bir hayat kurmuşken... Sevinir miyiz, şaşırır mıyız, sevinçten havalara mı uçarız; yoksa tüm dengemiz bozulur mu? Tabii ki roman sadece bundan ibaret değil. Javier Marias gerçekten çok güçlü bir yazar." Ve dönecek bile olsa ölüler geri dönmekle iyi etmez"" Hakikat zaten asla düzenli bir şey değildir, karmaşadan ibarettir."" Cinayet mi, yoksa bir dosta daha az acı çekerek daha iyi bir ölüm sunmak mı? Bir merhamet eylemi mi? Merhametli bir öldürme eylemi mi?"

  • Nood-Lesse
    2018-09-25 10:22

    L’attesa nutre e potenzia il desiderioPer prima cosa un dubbio, è credibile l'io narrante? E' credibile come donna? Ero condizionato dal sapere che non lo fosse e che in realtà si trattasse di Javier Marìas?Non ho avuto modo di pensarci a lungo perchè sono stato sedotto. Mi sono trovato immerso nella narrazione, irretito come era avvenuto con “Domani nella battaglia pensa a me". Marìas è abile nel descrivere l'articolarsi dei pensieri, il flusso di coscienza, almeno quanto lo è Steinbeck nel descrivere la natura. Per farlo dilata la narrazione in un modo che in molti potrebbero ritenere fastidioso. Mi stupisce non essere uno di loro. In teoria Marìas apparterrebbe a quel nutrito gruppo di scrittori che chiamo “ruminanti” e dai quali mi tengo a debita distanza, in pratica invece la sua lettura mi appaga. Mi stupisce considerare proprio Marìas il miglior scrittore in vita che mi è capitato di leggere (almeno finora). Credo che sia dovuto alla logicità, alla cura e all'armonia.La domanda che ponevo all'inizio non era casuale. La mia impressione è che la distinzione fra i profili psicologici dei suoi personaggi sia labile. Sembrano atleti durante una staffetta, Il paradigma dello scrittore è il testimone che loro portano a turno correndo lungo le pagine del romanzo.Maria Golz osserva quotidianamente due coniugi che fanno colazione nello stesso suo bar. Le appaiono una coppia perfetta e rimane sgomenta quando apprende che il marito è stato ucciso. La vicenda prende vita da questo omicidio e volteggia su morte, verità, amore e...Quel termine che tutti quanti usano con disinvoltura ma che non dovrebbe essere tanto facile visto che non lo conoscono molte lingue, soltanto l’italiano oltre lo spagnolo, che io sappia, certo che io ne so poche… Forse il tedesco, la verità è che lo ignoro: l’innamoramentoMarìas fa ampio uso di citazioni. Ne “Gli Innamoramenti” ha voluto esagerare ed ha infilato direttamente due romanzi. Io che non avevo letto né Il colonnello Chabert, né I Tre Moschettieri, adesso dovrei recuperare i codici isbn e caricarli in libreria(*1). Le citazioni però sono opportune e puntuali come quelle di Shakespeare, disseminate un po' ovunque già nei suoi precedenti libri. Dal momento che sceglie una citazione, quella avrà un ruolo importante nel libro e verrà riproposta per intero più volteMa questo è un romanzo, come mi disse Javier quando gli domandai che cosa fosse successo a Chabert: “Quello che ne è stato è la cosa meno importante, e quello che accade nei romanzi è indifferente e si dimentica, una volta che siano terminati. Le cose interessanti sono le possibilità e le idee che ci inoculano e ci portano tramite i loro casi immaginari, rimangono in noi con maggiore nitidezza dei fatti reali e li teniamo in maggior considerazione”Questa è l'idea che lo spagnolo ha del romanzo e che già era stata espressa alla cerimonia per la consegna del Premio Rómulo Gallegoshttp://digilander.libero.it/nicolotti...Avrei omesso una parte del troncone noir, ma non posso dimenticare quanto mi sia piaciuto leggere tutto il resto, per me sono cinque stelle.(*1) Il livello di Spoiler è alto.

  • Lady-R
    2018-10-01 15:31

    ... o un 4,5.Es el primer libro de Javier Marías que leo, pero no será el último. Su forma de escribir, o más bien de reflexionar, me ha conquistado. Desde luego, es un libro denso, lento y profundo, para leer con tranquilidad. No es una novela de hechos (ni siquiera sé si es verdaderamente una novela) si no de pensamientos, de largas reflexiones. Su título induce a pensar que es un libro sobre el amor, y lo es, pero también lo es, incluso en mayor medida, sobre la muerte, la pérdida, el luto. La primera parte, centrada más en esto último, me ha cautivado. Puede que, al final, se acaben dando demasiadas vueltas a lo mismo y si le hubieran sobrado 50 páginas no pasaría nada, pero yo he disfrutado de cada frase, de cada vuelta a lo mismo, de cada insistencia... Me gustaría citar alguna de sus largas frases enrevesadas, pero no sería capaz de elegir una. Si eres de los que les gusta subrayar los libros, mejor que lo olvides o lo rayarás entero.Por cierto, que la portada sea una foto de un fotógrafo tan personal e irónico como Elliot Erwitt, me parece todo un acierto.

  • Laura لاورا
    2018-10-17 07:41

    Niente è come appareÈ stata una lettura faticosa per me, tanto che, almeno in un primo momento, pensavo di attribuire a questo libro soltanto tre stelle: lento, in più punti noioso, tremendamente e forse, in vari capitoli, inutilmente prolisso.Poi, all’improvviso, più o meno a metà, la narrazione si è ripresa - anche abbastanza bene, devo riconoscere - e le pagine hanno iniziato a scivolare una dopo l’altra, incalzate dalla mia curiosa ingordigia di leggere come sarebbe andata a finire la vicenda che coinvolge María, Javier, Luisa e, per quanto irrimediabilmente defunto già dopo i primissimi capitoli, pure Miguel. Comunque, quattro stelle non raggiunte pienamente per via della prolissità che qui non abbandona mai la scrittura di Javier Marías, dialoghi che si perdono e trasmutano in monologhi spesso pieni di idee, congetture, elucubrazioni, periodi lunghissimi e tante pagine fitte fitte che agli occhi del lettore non concedono neppure la sosta (e la consolazione!) di qualche capoverso qua e là: tutti elementi che mi scoraggiano dal prendere in mano, almeno a breve termine, altri libri dello stesso autore.Tuttavia, nel complesso, il romanzo mi è piaciuto, ricco com’è, pur nella sua prolissità, di intime e sottili riflessioni sulla vita e la morte, sull’amore e l’innamoramento. Tra i vari, ho sottolineato i seguenti passi:“L’innamoramento è insignificante, la sua attesa invece è sostanziale.”“La correzione dei sentimenti è lenta, esasperantemente graduale. Ci si installa dentro di essi e diventa molto difficile uscirne, si acquisisce l’abitudine di pensare a qualcuno con un pensiero determinato e fisso - si acquisisce anche quello di desiderarlo - e non si sa rinunciare a questo dalla sera alla mattina, o per mesi e anni, tanto lungo può essere l’attaccamento. E se quello che c’è è delusione, allora la si combatte al principio contro ogni verosimiglianza, la si sfuma, la si nega, si tenta di cacciarla lontano.”“Ci attirano molto alcune persone, ci divertono, c’incantano, ci ispirano affetto e addirittura ci inteneriscono, o ci piacciono, ci trascinano, riescono anche a renderci pazzi momentaneamente, godiamo del loro corpo o della loro compagnia o di entrambe le cose, […] Persino, alcune, ci diventano imprescindibili, la forza delle abitudini è immensa e finisce per supplire a quasi tutto, e al limite per sostituirlo. Può sostituire l’amore, ad esempio; ma non l’innamoramento, conviene fare distinzione tra i due, anche se si confondono non sono la stessa cosa… Quel che è molto raro è provare una debolezza, una vera debolezza per qualcuno, o che costui la produca in noi, che ci renda deboli. Questa è la cosa determinante, che ci impedisca di essere oggettivi e ci disarmi in eterno e ci faccia arrendere in tutte le contese, […] In generale la gente non prova questo con un adulto, né in realtà lo cerca. Non aspetta, è impaziente, è prosaica, forse neppure lo vuole perché nemmeno lo concepisce, cosicché si unisce o si sposa con il primo che gli si avvicina, non è così strano, è stata la norma per tutta la vita, vi sono quelli che pensano che l’innamoramento sia un’invenzione moderna venuta fuori dai romanzi.” “[…] i resti del mio [di María] innamoramento; questi non finiscono mai di colpo, né diventano istantaneamente odio, disprezzo, vergogna o puro stupore, vi è una lunga traversia fino ad arrivare a quei possibili sentimenti sostitutivi, vi è un accidentato periodo di intrusioni e mescolanze, di ibridazione e contaminazione, e l’innamoramento non finisce mai del tutto fino a che non si passi attraverso l’indifferenza o piuttosto attraverso la noia, fino a che uno non pensi: «Che cosa superflua ritornare al passato”.Infine, rimane un dubbio molto pesante da archiviare, in María come in chi ha letto la storia, perché niente è come appare, verità e menzogna si confondono e la verità stessa rischia di essere “sempre un imbroglio”… Anche gli innamoramenti?

  • Grazia
    2018-10-15 08:31

    Snervata. Non so se si può dire in italiano, ma è lo stato d'animo che provo alla conclusione della lettura di questo romanzo.Mi vien da dire, un'icona del pensiero "pipponico".Allora non che non gli riconosca un indubbio pregio, ma dipende poi molto dal temperamento di chi legge. Non ci puoi mettere cinquanta pagine per passare, in un dialogo tra due persone, da una battuta alla battuta successiva, riempiendo lo spazio di riflessioni e congetture, e sì va beh, a volte anche di pensieri profondi.Che valutazione dare a questo romanzo? Mah, direi che starò nella media del voto, anche se in realtà sono dubbiosa.Alcuni passaggi/pensieri sono veramente molto belli...Ma son trecento pagine e sembra di averne letto almeno il doppio!E poi, quella povera Luisa fiduciosa e ignara? Mi fa star male questa cosa qui!Inoltre titolo e copertina sono completamente fuorvianti rispetto i contenuti del romanzo che è una lunga e profonda riflessione prevalentemente sulla morte... e strigi stringi mi sembra che il succo sia un pensiero alquanto prosaico "chi muore giace e chi vive si da pace"!"Questo è l'errore [...] un errore da bambini [...]. L'errore di credere che il presente sia per sempre, che quel che c'è in ogni istante sia definitivo, quando tutti dovremmo sapere che niente lo è, fino a che ci resta un po' di tempo. Ci trasciniamo dietro abbastanza capovolgimenti e giri, non soltanto della sorte ma del nostro animo. Impariamo a poco a poco che quanto ci era parso gravissimo un bel giorno ci sembrerà neutro[...]. Che la persona senza la quale non riuscivamo a stare e a causa della quale non riuscivamo a dormire[...] verrà un momento in cui non ci occuperà un solo pensiero"

  • Harry
    2018-09-26 07:45

    In the year 1955, the year that I was born, another man died. The dead man was named José Ortega y Gasset. For those who knew him, Gasset was a writer of essays, a man of fashion often sporting a cigarette holder in his left hand. To ward of the Iberian sun he was often seen wearing a white straw hat sitting a touch high on his close cropped hair, as if the hat had been bought one size too small. His was the smile of a man who had seen too much; glittering eyes that had observed his country oscillate between monarchy, republicanism and dictatorship. His was the face of a man with ideas. José Ortega y Gasset at the time of his death had become known as a lecturer, professor and a prominent Spanish liberal philosopher: a proponent of the idea of Perspectivism and Existentialism.Gasset was to become very influential in forming the opinions, studies, and career of another man, a student, named Julián Marías. Spain had moved from Republicanism to civil war and onto Dictatorship under the rule of Generale Franco. The Spanish civil years were turbulent times. Many books have been written about it. And it is true that Marias was often associated with the Generation of'36 movement, the name given to a group of Spanish artists writers, poets and playwrights who were working about the time of the Spanish Civil War - the Generation of'36 movement was basically a literary movement that experienced harsh criticism and persecution arising from the rubble and smoke resulting from social instability and political chaos: these were the ingredients that fed the '36 movement and gave legitimacy to their existential philosophy. During this time, Julián wrote his dissertation on philosophy at which point his teachers handed over the document to the authorities and Marias was promptly thrown in jail by Franco. As a side note, my sister and Marias share that experience...though at the time some decades later, she was an anarchist. She too was surrounded by intellectuals, poets, and architects who formed communes within the streets of Madrid decrying Franco's regime but as is typical of anarchist, without really offering an alternative system. Nevertheless, after a brief stay in hotel Franco, Julián Marias continued his studies and became a philosopher in the footsteps of his teacher (Gasett). During this time he was to write his History of Philosophy, (1941) a treatise that is now widely accepted as perhaps the greatest work written in Spanish on the subject.Julián Marías had a son. Born as Javier Marías in 1951, Javier is known as a Spanish novelist, translator, and columnist. That son is the author of this book.Javier MaríasSo, why the back story, you might ask? The Infatuations is after all a murder mystery. To answer this I have to take a small personal fork in the road, back to my time in Madrid, to my three month stay within the Anarchist commune where my sister lived. Relatively ignorant of European politics (I was living in America at the time) I stayed mostly silent during this visit and listened to political conversations that to this day has proven itself as the fountainhead of my own interest in politics. I was both shocked and enthralled by all of it: drugs, petty thefts, shoplifting, undercover computer operations, and trips to the country side where we took over abandoned villages for the weekend to build fires, eat wonderful meals; where we played music, made love and above all engaged in deep intellectual conversations that would last all night beneath the stars (perhaps only to be outdone by the intellectuals in Catalonia). And what I took away from it is this: when reading a Spanish author with such a philosophical pedigree it is best to know what you're getting into.And so we have our back story for this novel. Now what?Well, to a certain extent it is up to you, the reader, to decide through which prism you will read this novel. You will have to ask yourself some hard questions about the author and where his thoughts originate: did two generations of philosophers guide Javier's hand across his keyboard as he wrote this odd mystery novel? Or, did Javier's running away from Madrid to Paris indicate a refusal to absorb the thoughts of his elders? Your answer can lead to either the utmost in reader satisfaction, or to the supreme annoyance of finishing such a pretentious book you're pretty damned sure you don't want to read at all (let alone finish). In my best estimation you will have your answer as you approach 20% of the novel's contents (if not sooner). You should probably know a bit about Perspectivism and Existentialism (for without this knowledge that lends to your enjoyment of this book, you will undoubtedly become part of the latter group that throws the book in a rubbish bin). A small warning: this book is highly subjective. It is filled with pages that are Joycian in nature, run-on sentences that span pages without a paragraph in sight. In spite of the murder at the core of the novel, and diametrically opposed to the core element associated with the murder mystery genre, plot has been thrown out the door. On average, a single plot element appears at the beginning of each chapter at which point we delve into the mind of the unreliable narrator: Maria and we stay there throughout much of the novel: and I might add, in typical Perspectivism fashion. In fact, the entire plot of the novel can be summed up in a single paragraph.Javier is well aware of what he is doing and is not afraid to comment on it, or make some jabs aimed at himself. As Maria, the narrator ruminates about a conversation she is having with a murderer- subject being a Balzac novel - we have the following:"It's a novel, and once you've finished a novel, what happened in it is of little importance and soon forgotten." Perhaps he thought the same applied to real events, to events in our own lives. That's probably true for the person experiencing them, but not for other peop[le. Everything becomes a story and ends up drifting about in the same sphere, and then it's hard to differentiate between what really happened and what is pure invention. Everything becomes a narrative and sounds fictitious even if it's true.Did I mention Existentialism as being prominent? Or, how about Javier making fun of his own distinctive lack of plot?Everything that happens to us or that precedes us could be summed up in a couple of lines in a story.Well, you get the picture. Now why am I rating this with a reluctant 3 stars (2.5 is more accurate)? That is my province. I think a novel fails when it's style prevents readability (I have the same problem with Joyce) and it is a personal preference. I think that a novel that primarily consists of the thoughts of a narrator - and here I mean EVERY thought she has on any subject, plot element, or whatever...than you start getting the feeling of pretentiousness. I am well aware of the appeal this book might have to intellectuals who might enjoy seeing various philosophic ideas manifested in a novel...but, in my opinion, that is an art in itself, and prone to failure, as is the case with this novel.

  • Lucrezia
    2018-09-25 15:15

    Questo è il periodo dei libri a fagiolo quelli che fanno tanto male ma anche tanto bene. Ennesimo caso.Perché Marìas può fare tanto male ma anche tanto bene.Provatelo anche voi...E siate ancora più consapevoli della potenza degli innamoramenti...

  • Cris
    2018-10-12 13:20

    Os Enamoramentos foram o "meu primeiro" Javier Marías. E não podia ter começado melhor pois o sentimento que me arrancou a sua leitura foi o de um enamoramento sem reservas!O que me fascinou desde logo, foi o facto de o autor dar mostras de conhecer tão bem os meandros da alma feminina com esta potente narradora, a Maria Dolz, a minha favorita!E também me convenceram as referências excelentes à literatura francesa do Séc. XIX, com Dumas e Balzac, que revisitei com agrado.Venham mais livros deste autor!