The Infatuations

Javier Marias, Author, Margaret Jull Costa, Translator
Javier Marías, trans. from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa. Knopf, $26.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-307-96072-6
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-241-14537-1
Open Ebook - 214 pages - 978-0-307-96073-3
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-76342-5
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-307-95073-4
Hardcover - 345 pages - 978-0-241-95849-0
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-241-95850-6
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Marías (While the Women Are Sleeping) shows that death is hardest on those left living. Each morning María Dolz has breakfast at a cafe watching perfect couple Miguel and Luisa. One morning Miguel is stabbed to death on his birthday by a knife-wielding panhandler, a seemingly random act of madness. This rupture in María’s idyllic voyeurism causes her to intersect her life with Luisa’s, enmeshing herself in the murder’s aftermath. Yet, as the story unfolds it becomes clear that nothing is certain but death. With philosophical rigor, Marías uses the page-turning twists of crime fiction to interrogate the weighty concepts of grief, culpability, and mortality. Indeed, scattered throughout are metafictional reflections on the limits and power of literature’s hypotheticals, while María’s job at a publishing company provides comic relief in its caricatures of the vanities of writers. The novel’s power lies in its melding of readable momentum and existential depth. Through Costa’s lucid translation, the prose exhibits Marías’s trademark clarity and digressive uncertainty; a novel that further secures Marías’s position as one of contemporary fiction’s most relevant voices. (Aug.)
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