El domingo 1 de marzo, a las 15 horas (horario de Greenwich), en Radio 4, de la BBC, se emitirá la segunda parte de la lectura dramatizada de la novela de Javier Marías Mañana en la batalla piensa en mí, en traducción de Margaret Jull Costa.
El domingo 22 de febrero, a las 15 horas (horario de Greenwich), en Radio 4, de la BBC, tendrá lugar la emisión de la primera parte de la lectura dramatizada de la novela de Javier Marías Mañana en la batalla piensa en mí, en traducción de Margaret Jull Costa.
10 foreign books we should all read
ANN MORGAN/JONATHAN GIBBS
The Independent, February 9, 2015
PAOLO DI PAOLO
La Stampa, 25 gennaio 2015
AMANHÃ NA BATALHA PENSA EN MIM
Traducción: Maria do Carmo Abreu
Fecha de publicación: octubre de 2014
CZARNE PLECY CZASU
Traductor: Tomasz Pindel
Editorial: Sonia Draga
Fecha de publicación: diciembre de 2014
A Year in Reading
The Millions, December 18, 2014
THE MAN OF FEELING
Vintage, october 2014
Javier Marías: Spain’s Elegant Master Novelist
The New York Times, September 26, 2014
Premi: allo spagnolo Javier Marias il “Tomasi di Lampedusa”
“Un romanzo angosciante”. Così Gioacchino Lanza Tomasi, presidente della giuria della undicesima edizione del Premio letterario internazionale intitolato a “Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa”, commenta il romanzo Gli Innamoramenti (Einaudi), opera dello scrittore Javier Marías, vincitore di questa edizione.
La cerimonia di premiazione, condotta dalla giornalista Rai Rosanna Cancellieri, si svolgerà la sera di martedì 5 agosto in Piazza Matteotti a Santa Margherita di Belìce. Sul palco della città del “Gattopardo”, oltre a Javier Marías, anche la cantante Fiorella Mannoia che eseguirà alcuni fra i brani più noti del suo repertorio e l’attore Sebastiano Somma che leggerà alcuni frammenti tratti dall’opera di Tomasi di Lampedusa.
“Una delle idee per l’Expo 2015 – commenta l’assessore regionale al Turismo, Sport e Spettacolo Michela Stancheris – è quella di raccontare il territorio partendo dalle personalità che hanno narrato la Sicilia, come Tomasi di Lampedusa. Un intreccio tra storia e territorio, promuovendo la Sicilia culturale”. Si parte dunque da Santa Margherita di Belìce, luogo tristemente noto per il terremoto del 1968, simbolo della Sicilia del feudo del mondo tomasiano. “Il Premio è diventato patrimonio comune dell’intera cittadinanza – spiega Franco Valenti, sindaco di Santa Margherita di Belìce -. Ascoltare le parole di uno scrittore di fama internazionale è un segnale di crescita culturale”.
Quest’anno il Premio punta sui giovani con una sezione didattica intitolata “L’officina del Racconto” in cui sono stati coinvolti studenti attraverso un laboratorio di scrittura legato ai Ricordi d’Infanzia del Tomasi. “Siamo convinti – aggiunge il vice sindaco e direttore del premio Tanino Bonifacio – che questa idea possa rappresentare un ulteriore passo in avanti per avvicinare i ragazzi alla cultura letteraria”. Alla cerimonia di premiazione parteciperà anche la giuria del Tomasi di Lampedusa, presieduta da Gioacchino Lanza Tomasi, e composta da Salvatore Silvano Nigro, Giorgio Ficara e Mercedes Monmany.
ANSA, 8 Luglio 2014
Javier Marías vincitore della XI edizione del Premio Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
E’ Javier Marías, il vincitore della undicesima edizione del Premio letterario internazionale Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa. Lo scrittore spagnolo, che è anche traduttore, giornalista e saggista, si aggiudica il riconoscimento per il romanzo dal titolo Gli innamoramenti (Einaudi). La cerimonia di premiazione si svolgerà martedì 5 agosto (ore 20.45), in Piazza Matteotti a Santa Margherita di Belìce, la serata sarà condotta dalla giornalista Rai Rosanna Cancellieri. Sul palco della città del Gattopardo, oltre a Javier Marías, anche Fiorella Mannoia che eseguirà in acustico alcuni fra i brani più noti del suo repertorio musicale e Sebastiano Somma che leggerà frammenti tratti da Il Gattopardo. L’attore campano, noto al grande pubblico per le sue interpretazioni televisive, tornerà sempre sullo stesso palco anche l’indomani, e cioè mercoledì 6 agosto, alle 21,00 con un recital-spettacolo per immagini dedicato a Il Gattopardo per la regia di Gaetano Stella.
Il sindaco Franco Valenti: “Siamo molto orgogliosi di ospitare un grande scrittore come Javier Marías. Il Premio è diventato negli anni patrimonio comune dell’intera cittadinanza. Incontrare e ascoltare le parole di uno scrittore di fama internazionale è un segnale di crescita culturale soprattutto per le nuove generazioni”. E proprio sui giovani punta quest’anno il Premio con una sezione didattica intitolata “L’officina del Racconto”. “Abbiamo voluto coinvolgere gli studenti dell’Istituto Comprensivo Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa di Santa Margherita – spiega il vice sindaco e direttore del Premio Tanino Bonifacio – attraverso un laboratorio di scrittura ispirato ai ricordi di infanzia del Tomasi. Sono una quindicina i racconti che abbiamo sottoposto all’attenzione della giuria del Premio, ed alcuni sono veramente emozionanti, il miglior componimento sarà premiato con una targa. Siamo convinti – conclude Bonifacio – che questa idea possa rappresentare un ulteriore passo in avanti per avvicinare i ragazzi alla lettura, alla cultura letteraria”.
Matteo Raimondi, presidente dell’Istituzione Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, punta sul territorio: “Il Premio è diventato un appuntamento importante non solo per Santa Margherita di Belìce ma per tutto il territorio siciliano. E evidente a tutti come negli ultimi anni il Premio sia cresciuto in maniera esponenziale. Sono migliaia le persone che partecipano alla cerimonia di premiazione, tutto ciò comporta una crescita culturale ma anche uno sviluppo economico per l’intero territorio delle Terre Sicane”. Alla cerimonia di premiazione del 5 agosto parteciperà anche la giuria del Tomasi di Lampedusa, presieduta da Gioacchino Lanza Tomasi, insieme al musicologo Salvatore Silvano Nigro, Giorgio Ficara e Mercedes Monmany.
Nelle precedenti edizioni il riconoscimento è stato assegnato a: Abraham B. Yehoshua con il romanzo La Sposa liberata (Einaudi), Tahar Ben Jelloun con Amori stregati (Bompiani), Claudio Magris con Alla cieca (Garzanti), Anita Desai con Fuoco sulla montagna (Einaudi), Edoardo Sanguineti con Smorfie (Feltrinelli), Kazuo Ishiguro con Notturni. Cinque storie di musica e crepuscolo (Einaudi), alla memoria di Francesco Orlando con La doppia seduzione (Einaudi), Valeria Parrella con Ma quale amore (Rizzoli), Amos Oz con Il Monte del Cattivo Consiglio (Feltrinelli) e Mario Vargas Llosa con Il sogno del Celta (Einaudi).
GuidaSicilia, 9 Luglio 2014
Entrevista con Gioacchino Lanza Tomasi
Abc, 19 de mayo de 2014
MENTRE LE DONNE DORMONO
Traduzione di Valerio Nardoni
Einaudi, giugno 2014
La revista americana, dirigida por Wendy Lesser, The Threepenny Revivew, en el número 138, correspondiente al verano de 2014, publica el artículo de Javier Marías, “Siete razones para no escribir novelas y una sola para hacerlo”, traducido por Margaret Jull Costa.
Translated by Margaret Jull Costa
Vintage, April 22, 2014
“This is writing at its purest: elegant, stylish and subtle. The work of Javier Marías transcends such bromides as: “I couldn’t put it down!” It insists that you savor every word; that you stop and reflect on what you have just read; that you parse the sinuously snaking sentences for every nuance they reveal. It is a virtuosic performance that makes it obvious why such literary giants as Bolaño, Sebald, Coetze and Pamuk have lavishly sung his praises. You will understand why he is a shoe-in for the Nobel Prize. And, you will scratch your head in utter befuddlement at the lack of a wider audience for his work in America. Read it and be amazed.” —Conrad Silverberg
“Whatever else we may think is going on when we read, we are choosing to spend time in an author’s company. In Javier Marías’s case this is a good decision; his mind is insightful, witty, sometimes startling, sometimes hilarious, and always intelligent . . . The masterly Spanish novelist [has] a penetrating empathy.” —Edward St. Aubyn, on the cover of The New York Times Book Review
“The Infatuations is mysterious and seductive; it’s got deception, it’s got love affairs, it’s got murder—the book is the most sheerly addictive thing Marías has ever written . . . Marías is a star writer in Europe, where his best-sellers collect prizes the way Kardashians collect paparazzi. He’s been hailed in America, too, yet he’s never broken through like Haruki Murakami or Roberto Bolaño. This should change with his new novel, The Infatuations, which is the ideal introduction to his work.” —Fresh Air/NPR
“The work of a master in his prime, this is a murder story that becomes an enthralling vehicle for all the big questions about life, love, fate, and death.” —The Guardian
“Blindingly intelligent, engagingly accessible—it seems there’s nothing Marías can’t make fiction do . . . Marías’s rare gift is his ability to make intellectual jousting as suspenseful as the chase scenes in a commercial thriller.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A haunting masterpiece . . . The lasting challenge to literature is to achieve a satisfying marriage between high art and the low drives of a simple plot. The Infatuations is just such a novel . . . Just as Macbeth is a thriller that’s also a great tragedy, The Infatuations is a murder story that’s also a profound story of fatal obsession . . . Don Quixote was first published as long ago as 1620. I wouldn’t be surprised if The Infatuations soon acquired an equally devoted following.” —The Observer
“Extraordinary . . . Marías has defined the ethos of our time.” —Alberto Manguel, The Guardian
“Marías [is] a consummate stylist . . . Magic, stupendous.” —Booklist
“Absorbing and unnerving . . . A labyrinthine exploration, at once thrilling and melancholy, of the meanings of one man’s death—and a vivid testimony to the power of stories, for good or ill, to weave the world into our thoughts and our thoughts into the world.” —The Sunday Times (London)
“A novel that further secures Marías’s position as one of contemporary fiction’s most relevant voices.” —Publishers Weekly
“Hypnotic . . . The Infatuations plays off Marías’s enchantingly sinuous sentences. They suck you in and lull you along with their rhythm, which gives the unusual and palpable awareness of how masterfully Marías has made time itself his peculiar object of investigation . . . Powerful.” —Bookforum
“A masterpiece . . . Here, great literature once again shows its true face.” —ABC Cultural (Spain)
“Keeps us guessing until almost the last page. Yet what lingers in the reader’s mind is not the murder mystery, compelling though it is. Rather, it is the author’s examination of the ebb and flow of flawed relationships; the chances that bring us together and the fates (in this case, murderous intent) that pull us apart.” —Financial Times
“I ended up getting angry with myself for not having rationed the reading so it would last longer.” —El País
“Uniquely luminous . . . Like Beethoven, Marías is a brilliant escape artist . . . But Marías is original; he cannot help it.” —Times Literary Supplement (London)
“The Infatuations is a metaphysical exploration masquerading as a murder mystery . . . Quietly addictive.” —Spectator
“Smart, thoughtful, morally challenging, and consistently surprising in its tense twists.”—Scotland on Sunday
“Haunting. . . . Evokes verbal puzzle-makers like Borges, and Marías’s ingenious chessboard plots bring to mind the 20th century’s grand-master strategist, Vladimir Nabokov.”—Los Angeles Times
“An arresting story of love and crime.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“The unspoken romance at the heart of Marías’s work is the recuperation of old-fashioned adventure within perfectly serious, cerebral contemporary fiction.”—The Daily Beast
“Great art often emerges from breaking, or at least tweaking, rules. A work that transcends its conventions can produce special results. Here’s such a book . . . The Infatuations takes you where very few novels do.”—Paste magazine
“A masterly novel . . . The classical themes of love, death, and fate are explored with elegant intelligence by Marías in what is perhaps his best novel so far . . . Extraordinary . . . Marías has defined the ethos of our time.”—The Guardian (UK)
“Marías has created a splendid tour de force of narrative voice. . . . A luminous performance.”—Wichita Eagle
“Javier Marías is a master of first lines. He’s a master of other things as well . . . All Marías books feel like chapters in one much longer book. And it’s one you should start reading, if you haven’t already.”—Slate
“Beyond the interesting ideas his work draws on, Marías’s novels are simply a pleasure to read . . . The Infatuations, containing the qualities of Marías’s best work, is an important addition to his oeuvre.”—The Millions
“Marías’s novel operates on so many levels simultaneously, it becomes a piece of evidence itself, an artifact that proves its own argument.”—The Onion, A. V. Club
“Marías’s novel weaves an intricate web, but its triumph is in the power of its narrator. Marías has found the ideal voice—detached, inquisitive, and vigilant—for one of his finest novels.”—Los Angeles Review of Books
Everyone needs something to get through the day. For some, it’s faith. For others, drugs, shopping, sex, or love. Reserved, thirty-something María Dolz relies on a man and a woman she sees almost every morning in the café where she has breakfast. Still laughing and joking like the best of friends after years of domestic union, they are, she thinks, the Perfect Couple: a vision of marital bliss. “It was the sight of them together that calmed and contented me before my working day began,” María tells us. Without them, she felt depressed. Then one afternoon the husband is stabbed to death by a homeless man. A tragic accident? Or the perfect crime?
From this scenario and three books (Balzac’s Colonel Chabert, Dumas’s The Three Musketeers, and Shakespeare’s MacBeth), the acclaimed Spanish novelist Javier Marías spins an exquisite web of confessions, lies, and sticky half-truths. That’s only the beginning. For The Infatuations is not merely a tale of love gone wrong, it’s also an evocation of modern sexual manners, a meditation on the relationship between the living and the dead, and a dazzling portrait of the master criminal as a kind of gorgeous spider: careful, patient, venomous. Not since Tom Ripley have I met such a cunning, and envious, creature.
Marías himself likes to work in delicate circles. His sentences are long, conversational, circuitous, their tension constantly redirected by his characters’s shifting doubts, evasions, and desires. More than anything, his prose reflects the brooding tenor of María’s cautious, intelligent mind — a mind agitated by her contact with a widow’s desperate grief and a womanizer’s deft manipulations. For after the Perfect Husband dies, María Dolz falls in love with his best friend: a man she meets only in his apartment, only when he calls her. Thus does one infatuation pave the way for another.
Javier Marías’s has long been acclaimed as one of Spain’s most exceptional writers: an author who builds intoxicating cocktails of philosophy and noir. His masterful murder story culminates in an scene of unforgettable ethical ambiguity. The most sinister thread his novel, however, is the silken connection that Marías traces between crime and confusion. For when the killer is finally cornered, a smokescreen of doubt is enough to enable the unrepentant to escape:
“When you don’t know what to believe,” Marías writes, “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 you hands of the truth or of the whole tangled mess—which comes to the same thing.” 
In other words, hidden crimes go unpunished not because criminals can’t be caught, but because of our own unwillingness to undertake the burden of sifting truth from deception, crime from camouflage. Thus our apathy abets the spiders of this world.
Critical Mass, March 11, 2014
THE INFATUATIONS – WHY THIS BOOK SHOULD WIN
The Infatuations by Javier Marías rolled into its publication date with more baggage than the Coast Starlight, more anticipation than the Wells Fargo wagon in The Music Man.
Immediately, the griping and whining started. “It isn’t his best book.” “It isn’t as good as (fill in the blank with any of his previous books).” “I really loved the trilogy, but this…” “Knopf paid serious money for the book, did they know what they were getting?” I even heard someone suggest the book was slighted because of readership loyalty to New Directions, Marías’ previous publisher.
However, The New York Times, The Guardian, The Los Angeles Times, NPR, and Slate all made it through their reviews without an audible groan – and for good reason. This is a really good book.
Marías is writing in genre, and he appears to be having a hell of a good time doing it. It’s cerebral in ways similar to Frederick Knott’s Dial M for Murder. It’s less about the crime, less action, and more about the paths and perception – more philosophic than forensic.
I’ve read a boatload of mysteries, but I can’t remember one that does exactly what The Infatuations does. Not going to outline the plot, but the ending, no spoiler alert here, is dropped in your lap.
I love Marías. I don’t care if what he writes is High Fecking Art or not. And you shouldn’t either.
This book should win The Best Translated Book Award.
Three Percent, March 12, 2014
TERWIJL ZIJ SLAPEN
[Mientras ellas duermen]
Vertaling. Aline Glastra van Loon
Meulenhoff, Juli 2014
COMME LES AMOURS DE JAVIER MARÍAS: UNE DÉAMBULATION TROUBLANTE DANS LE JARDIN DU BIEN ET DU MAL ….
«Vous me croyiez mort, n’est-ce pas, comme je vous croyais morte? Notre position est vraiment étrange ; nous n’avons vécu jusqu’à présent l’un et l’autre que parce que nous nous croyions morts, et qu’un souvenir gêne moins qu’une créature, quoique ce soit chose dévorante parfois qu’un souvenir.» Alexandre Dumas, extrait Les trois mousquetaires.
Editrice madrilène à l’existence discrète, lasse des atermoiements des auteurs dont elle a la charge, María prend chaque matin à proximité de son lieu de travail un petit-déjeuner qu’elle accompagne d’une contemplation: celle d’un couple dont la perfection enchante ses journées et en rend tolérable l’ennui.
Un émerveillement de courte durée quand elle apprend l’assassinat sauvage de l’homme, Miguel Desvern, producteur de renom et époux de Luisa avec laquelle il composait cette partition de conte de fées. Privée de tout optimisme, la vie de María reprend un cours sans saveur et lorsqu’elle croise à nouveau la femme elle ose enfin décliner son identité et lui révéler la joie que lui procurait leur couple. Dévastée par l’absence de l’être aimé, Luisa évoque la ténacité du chagrin et c’est par la petite porte des confidences qu’elle autorise María à entrer dans son intimité, lui présentant quelques proches dont le très séduisant Javier Díaz-Varela, qui fut l’ami de son compagnon. Très vite, le hasard mettra Díaz-Varela sur le chemin de María. De cette rencontre imprévue naîtra une mélodie bien plus sombre, une variation empreinte de duplicité où s’invitera un tout autre deuil: celui de la perte des illusions…
Unaniment salué de par le monde littéraire, le savoir-faire de Javier Marías prend dans ce roman une dimension de conte philosophique à faire pâlir d’envie Monsieur Perrault en personne. S’aidant d’une langue altière et impeccable dont il demeure l’un des indiscutables garants, Javier Marías livre une réflexion exigeante sur les insuffisances de nos jeux de l’amour et du hasard et c’est avec une cruauté délectable qu’il nous invite à méditer sur les roueries et petits arrangements dont peuvent s’entourer les plus nobles sentiments. En choisissant de se glisser dans la psyché et les palpitations d’une narratrice, il témoigne de sa vaste connaissance de l’intériorité féminine et de de sa disposition séculaire à tomber en amour pour ce qui lui échappe, laissant ainsi à l’homme un autre emploi bien connu: celui du prédateur à l’effleurement sensuel animé par la convoitise.
En filigrane de cette incursion dans la fable, Javier Marías se réapproprie avec agilité une autre thématique: celle de la mort et plus largement celle de notre faculté d’oubli. Car une fois la perte du proche acceptée, souhaitons-nous vraiment la réapparition des défunts dans nos vies? Ne préférons-nous pas l’espace cotonneux du souvenir? Une savante digression qu’il met en abyme en nous offrant une relecture admirable de modernité du Colonel Chabert auquel Honoré de Balzac fit dire cette phrase tristement célèbre «J’ai été enterré sous des morts, mais maintenant je suis enterré sous des vivants, sous des actes, sous des faits, sous la société tout entière, qui veut me faire rentrer sous terre.»
Un très grand roman, une écriture délectable parce que rare. Saisissant et venimeux . Beau et imparfait «comme nos amours»…
Laisse parler les filles (Blog), 18 Janvier 2014
COMME LES AMOURS
Si Laura Kasischke joue avec le lecteur et l’inconscient, Javier Marías place la manipulation au cœur même de son sujet avec une brillante déambulation dans les méandres de la conscience. Une performance à déconseiller aux amateurs de péripéties musclées, mais qu’apprécieront les passionnés de grande littérature.
À force de prendre son petit déjeuner chaque matin dans la cafétéria à côté de son bureau, María Dolz remarque l’heureuse complicité qui anime un couple d’habitués. Petit à petit, leur présence agit comme un rituel réjouissant avant de commencer une ennuyeuse journée de travail. Elle ne s’inquiète guère de ne plus les voir à son retour de vacances jusqu’à ce qu’elle apprenne que l’homme, Miguel Deverne a été assassiné de seize coups de couteau par un sdf déséquilibré qui l’accusait de vouloir spolier ses deux filles de leur héritage.
Bouleversée, elle rend visite à Luisa, sa veuve qui la reconnaît, l’accueille et lui confie vivre un chagrin insurmontable. Lors de cette entrevue, elle fait la connaissance du meilleur ami de la victime, Javier Díaz-Varela, un séduisant parleur dont elle pressent qu’il est amoureux de Luisa et avec qui elle entame néanmoins une liaison. Involontairement, María va se retrouver au cœur d’une conspiration diabolique en relation avec la mort de Miguel qui l’obligera à sonder ses propres gouffres, tester son courage, sa loyauté ou sa lâcheté, sa capacité à se convaincre d’une version ou d’une autre, suivant qu’elle apaise ses états d’âme ou non.
Que savons-nous de ceux qui nous entourent? De leurs pensées intimes, de leurs réelles intentions ou de ce qu’ils ont fait par le passé? Quelle vérité nous parvient d’eux au bout du compte? Et quelles mains invisibles pétrissent parfois notre propre destin? D’introspection en fausses pistes, de correspondances littéraires en rebondissements, Javier Marías élabore une réflexion machiavélique sur l’amour, la mort, le deuil et le travail falsificateur du temps.
Par une multitude de circonvolutions, toujours pertinentes, qui passent par une relecture étonnante du Colonel Chabert, ainsi que des références à Shakespeare ou Dumas, il diffuse, à dose homéopathique, un suspense dont les digressions étudient la moindre palpitation du cheminement de María. Mensonges, trahisons, autosuggestion alimentent cette construction philosophique complexe, qui explore chaque recoin de nos douteux arrangements avec la vérité et la morale.
La Semaine, 3 Novembre 2013
Los premios de la Crítica de Nueva York distinguen a África
La escritora nigeriana Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie es la vencedora de los National Book Critics Circle Awards con su novela Americanah (que en marzo publica Random House), una historia sobre la raza y la identidad que ha sido elegida la mejor del año por esta asociación de críticos de Nueva York.
El escritor español Javier Marías estaba nominado por Los enamoramientos a este premio literario, uno de los de más repercusión en Estados Unidos, y era el único hombre aspirante en una categoría en la que también competían Alice McDermott, por Someone; Ruth Ozeki, por A Tale for the time being, y Donna Tartt por El jilguero (que en marzo publica Lumen).
Americanah, una historia de amor, feminismo y racismo situada en el país de Adichie, había sido elegida como una de las mejores novelas de 2013 por The New York Times. Los enamoramientos (Alfaguara) a su vez ha sido ensalzada en las críticas de algunos de los periódicos más importantes de Estados Unidos y llegó a ser portada del suplemento The New York Times Book Review.
En la categoría de no ficción, el libro ganador fue de la ganadora del Pulitzer Sheri Fink, por Five days at memorial: life and death in a storm-ravaged hospital.
Los premios del National Book Critics Circle fueron creados en 1974 y reconocen trabajos en las categorías de ficción, no ficción, biografía, autobiografía, poesía y crítica publicados en Estados Unidos. A lo largo de sus cuarenta años de historia ha destacado a otros autores de prosa en español, como el chileno Roberto Bolaño por su libro 2666, o a literatos de origen latino radicados en Estados Unidos como el dominicano Junot Díaz, por La maravillosa vida breve de Oscar Wao.
Solo una novela en español ha obtenido ese premio en sus 40 años: Roberto Bolaño por 2666. Entre los ganadores figuran escritores como Alice Munro, Philip Roth, Cormac McCarthy, Louise Erdrich, Ian McEwan y John Cheever.
El País, 14 de marzo de 2014
Chamamanda N Adichie se impone a Javier Marías en los premios de la Crítica de New York
La escritora nigeriana Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie se ha impuesto hoy a Javier Marías en los National Book Critics Circle Awards con su novela Americanah, elegida la mejor del año por esta asociación de críticos de Nueva York.
El escritor español estaba nominado por Los enamoramientos a este premio literario, uno de los de más repercusión en Estados Unidos, y era el único hombre nominado en una categoría en la que también competían Alice McDermott, por Someone; Ruth Ozeki, por A Tale for the Time Being, y Donna Tartt por The Goldfinch.
Americanah, una historia de amor, feminismo y racismo situada en el país de Adichie, había sido elegida como una de las mejores novelas de 2013 por el New York Times.
Javier Marías no acudió a la ceremonia y Los enamoramientos ha sido ensalzada en Estados Unidos en las críticas de algunos de los periódicos más importantes del país y llegó a ser portada del suplemento The New York Times Book Review.
En la categoría de no ficción, el libro ganador fue de la ganadora del Pulitzer Sheri Fink, por Five Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital.
Los premios del National Book Critics Circle fueron creados en 1974 y reconocen trabajos en las categorías de ficción, no ficción, biografía, autobiografía, poesía y crítica publicados en Estados Unidos.
A lo largo de sus cuarenta años de historia ha destacado a otros autores de prosa en español, como el chileno Roberto Bolaño por su libro 2666, o a literatos de origen latino radicados en EE.UU. como el dominicano Junot Díaz, por The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
Otros premiados han sido Philip Roth, Alice Munro, Louise Erdrich, Ian McEwan y Cormac McCarthy.
Efe, 14 de marzo de 2014
Karl Ove Knausgaard, Javier Marías, Andreï Makine longlisted for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize
Karl Ove Knausgaard, the author about whom Zadie Smith wrote, “I need the next volume like crack”, is on the longlist for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2014 for A Man in Love, the second volume of his blockbuster My Struggle. This is his second time on the longlist, and he goes head to head with contemporary greats such as Spanish writer Javier Marías, frequently tipped for the Nobel Prize, for his crime novel, The Infatuations, and Prix Goncourt winner Andreï Makine, author of Brief Lives that Live Forever.
This year’s 15-strong longlist was chosen by a panel of five judges from a record number of entries and languages – 126 titles from 30 source languages.
Boyd Tonkin, senior writer and columnist at The Independent and one of this year’s judges commented: “Every year this unique prize delivers to our doorsteps an outstandingly rich harvest of the world’s finest fiction. This year, a record number of submissions has resulted in a longlist as diverse and powerful as any in its history. From Iceland to China, Israel to Iraq, Spain to Japan, the contenders – served by a selection of the most gifted translators at work today – represent a huge variety of nations and cultures, all bound together in the border-free republic of talent and imagination.”
The list features a number of pairs: two female Japanese writers; two German writers, both tackling the shadow of East Germany; and two Iraqi authors, Hassan Blasim and Sinan Antoon, offering very different pictures of post-Saddam Iraq. There’s also an Icelandic duo: Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir and Jón Kalman Stefánsson, an astonishing achievement for a nation of 320,000 people.
Four newcomers are translated into English for the first time: Andrej Longo whose short story collection Ten uncovers the darker side of southern Italy, and Man Asian prize shortlistee Hiromi Kawakami for her unconventional romance, Strange Weather in Tokyo. English-language readers can also discover Hubert Mingarelli for the first time (A Meal In Winter) and Birgit Vanderbeke, whose debut novel The Mussel Feast was first published in 1990 and is viewed a modern German classic.
Readers of Sayed Kashua, a Palestinian Israeli writing in Hebrew, whose title Exposure is on the longlist, might be intrigued to know that he is also the author of Israel’s best-known sitcom, Arab Labour.
The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize celebrates the work of authors and translators equally. Translator Anthea Bell, who won in 2002 for her translation of Austerlitz by W G Sebald, is longlisted for her translation of Julia Franck’s Back To Back. Franck herself made the shortlist in 2010. Margaret Jull Costa, Javier Marías’ translator, has also been shortlisted before. Sometimes, of course, authors translate their own work, and in 2008 Paul Verhaeghen won with his self-translated Omega Minor: this year, Sinan Antoon, who was shortlisted for the International Prize of Arabic Fiction 2013, (the “Arabic Booker”) has translated his own work into English. Ma Jian’s work is translated by his wife, Flora Drew, representing an unusually special bond between author and translator – this is the second time they appear on the shortlist.
This year’s books tackle some challenging themes including war, corruption and totalitarian regimes. Some of the writers have faced oppression in their own lives: Ma Jian’s work has been banned in his own country and he also cannot now return; Andreï Makine, a Siberian Afghan War veteran fled to France from Soviet Russia; while for years anyone who wished to read Hassan Blasim in Arabic could only do so online. Their lives and work are a stark reminder of the power of fiction, still seen by many of the world’s governments as dangerously subversive.
Penguin Random House is the publisher most represented on the list with seven books, with four from Harvill Secker, two from Chatto & Windus and one from Hamish Hamilton. Five independent publishers have made the list including Comma Press, MacLehose Press, Portobello Books, Pushkin Press and Peirene Press. The final publisher securing a place is Yale University Press.
British writer, broadcaster and former stand-up comedian Natalie Haynes, one of the judges, said: “This is a very strong list, reflecting both the enormous diversity of nationalities, themes and subjects which we received. It shows that there has never been more of an appetite for translated fiction in the UK, and from every corner of every populated continent. It ranges from the intellectual to the emotional via the political, and no-one could come away from reading these books without having a greater understanding of a complex world. In the face of so much bland globalisation, it’s both a relief and a delight to see world fiction remains as quirky and individual as ever.”
The £10,000 Independent Foreign Fiction Prize is awarded annually to the best work of contemporary fiction in translation. The 2014 Prize celebrates an exceptional work of fiction by a living author which has been translated into English from any other language and published in the United Kingdom in 2013. Uniquely, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize acknowledges both the writer and the translator equally – each receives £5,000 – recognising the importance of the translator in their ability to bridge the gap between languages and cultures. The Prize is funded by Arts Council England, supported by The Independent and Champagne Taittinger, and managed by Booktrust.
Previous winners of the Prize include Milan Kundera in 1991 for Immortality translated by Peter Kussi; WG Sebald and translator, Anthea Bell, in 2002 for Austerlitz; and Per Petterson and translator, Anne Born, in 2006 for Out Stealing Horses. The 2013 winner was The Detour by Gerbrand Bakker translated from the Dutch by David Colmer (Harvill Secker).
The shortlist will be announced on April 8th and the winning author and translator will be announced and awarded their £10,000 prize at a ceremony in central London at the Royal Institute of British Architects on May 22nd.
A Man in Love by Karl Ove Knausgaard and translated from the Norwegian by Don Bartlett (Harvill Secker)
A Meal in Winter by Hubert Mingarelli and translated from the French by Sam Taylor (Portobello Books)
Back to Back by Julia Franck and translated from the German by Anthea Bell (Harvill Secker)
Brief Loves that Live Forever by Andreï Makine and translated from the French by Geoffrey Strachan (MacLehose Press)
Butterflies in November by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir and translated from the Icelandic by Brian FitzGibbon (Pushkin Press)
The Corpse Washer by Sinan Antoon and translated from the Arabic by the author (Yale University Press)
The Dark Road by Ma Jian and translated from the Chinese by Flora Drew (Chatto & Windus)
Exposure by Sayed Kashua and translated from the Hebrew by Mitch Ginsberg (Chatto & Windus)
The Infatuations by Javier Marías and translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa (Hamish Hamilton)
The Iraqi Christ by Hassan Blasim and translated from the Arabic by Jonathan Wright (Comma Press)
The Mussel Feast by Birgit Vanderbeke and translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch (Peirene Press)
Revenge by Yoko Ogawa and translated from the Japanese by Stephen Snyder (Harvill Secker)
The Sorrow of Angels by Jón Kalman Stefánsson and translated from the Icelandic by Philip Roughton (MacLehose Press)
Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami and translated from the Japanese by Allison Markin Powell (Portobello Books)
Ten by Andrej Longo and translated from the Italian by Howard Curtis (Harvill Secker)
The Irish Times, March 7, 2014
Judge Shaun Whiteside on The Infatuations:
‘A woman is enthralled by a couple she sees in the street every day, and invents a life for them. When the man is murdered, she is drawn into their world and forced to re-examine everything she thinks she knew. A richly allusive murder mystery about love, death and literature.’
Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2014: Our long-list reveals a fictional eco-system of staggering diversity
In a week when the Norsemen stormed the British Museum, how fitting – if purely coincidental – that two books long-listed for this year’s Independent Foreign Fiction Prize should hail from the most authentically Viking land of all.
Between them, the novels by Icelanders Audur Ava Ólafsdóttir and Jón Kalman Stefánsson – one a quirkily comic road-movie of a tale, the other a snow-blasted highland odyssey – show that fine fiction can adopt a dizzying array of shapes even in a country of just 320,000 people.
This year, the judges for the £10,000 award – divided equally between author and translator, and supported once more by Arts Council England, Booktrust and Champagne Taittinger – had a higher-than-ever mountain to climb: 126 books, a record entry, translated from 30 different languages. Joining me on the ascent are author, broadcaster and Independent columnist Natalie Haynes, ‘Best of Young British’ novelist Nadifa Mohamed, award-winning translator Shaun Whiteside, and artist, writer and academic Alev Adil.
Our long-list of 15 reveals a fictional eco-system of staggering diversity. Three accomplished sets of linked short stories make the cut, by Hassan Blasim (Iraq), Andrej Longo (Italy) and Yoko Ogawa (Italy). Hunting for a thinking person’s murder mystery? Try Javier Marias (Spain). The latest instalment of a volcanic semi-autobiography? Go to Karl Ove Knausgaard (Norway).
A Dickensian blockbuster that follows one fugitive family? Ma Jian (China). A thriller about imposture and paranoia rooted in the unease of minority culture? Sayed Kashua (Israel). From Germany, Birgit Vanderbeke and Julia Franck explore the burden of history; from Japan, Hiromi Kawakami crafts an eerie inter-generational romance; from Iraq, Sinan Antoon looks into the abyss left by tyranny and invasion. French writers Hubert Mingarelli and Andrei Makine find new ways – oblique, lyrical, humane – to address the Nazi and Soviet past.
I warmly recommend each of our chosen books, both for their own singular virtues and the skill and flair of their translators. Odin knows how we will rise to the next peak: the shortlist of six, due to be announced at the London Book Fair on 8 April.
The Independent, March 7, 2014
Uses of Uncertainty
No novel, reflects María Dolz, the narrator of Javier Marías’s The Infatuations, “would ever give houseroom to the infinite number of chances and coincidences that can occur in a single lifetime … It’s quite shameful the way reality imposes no limits on itself.” The world, Marías’s latest novel reminds us, continually exceeds our attempts to account for it through narrative. And whether we find this fact disheartening or encouraging, The Infatuations exemplifies an attitude with which to face it, which is a healthy distrust of the plausible story. Marías gives us, if not houseroom for infinite coincidences, a brilliant meditation on the uncertainty that such distrust entails. His protagonists, faced with situations of life-or-death severity, make of their skepticism a resource: they become essayists in the manner of Montaigne.
The Infatuations is about the aftermath of a senseless and violent murder and the resulting loss of ordinary certainties in life. Dolz opens the novel with news of the death of Miguel Desvern or Deverne (she alternates uncertainly between the names), a man whom she barely knew but who had formed part of her daily routine. She only finds out his name from the newspaper report of his death. Each morning before work, she had seen him and his wife at breakfast at a café, very much in love. The “sight of them together … calmed and contented me before my working day began,” Dolz explains, “as if they provided me with a vision of an orderly, or if you prefer, harmonious world.” Deverne’s apparently unmotivated murder by a homeless man puts an end to a world about which Dolz knew very little but whose abrupt curtailment she experiences as a kind of paradise lost.
With the murder and the rupture of this happy pair Dolz loses a feature of her own life that was reassuring both in the apparent certainty of its recurrence and its lack of demand on her to know anything specific about it. Comfort in modern life, The Infatuations suggests, relies on such thoughtless certainties, on what precisely we don’t need to know about people in order for them to behave in predictable ways (the great sociologist Georg Simmel called this “confidence under complex conditions”). When such certainties are lost, we are apt to become questioners, philosophers—even murder investigators. For Dolz this transformation comes unwillingly: “I lack the detective instinct, it’s just not me.” Her aloofness attracts others and she briefly becomes the confidante of Deverne’s widow, Luisa Alday, and, less briefly, the lover of the dead man’s best friend, Javier Díaz-Varela. Deverne’s murder turns out to be more complicated than first thought, and much of the novel consists of extended dialogues between Dolz and Díaz-Varela on the motivations behind and consequences of this death, and on the relationship between life and fiction (it’s no coincidence that the characters’ first names, compounded, nearly produce the name of their author). The dialogues report on speculation and sometimes are speculation: Dolz, for example, often imagines Díaz-Varela’s thought processes and composes accounts of his former encounters, including those he had with his murdered friend. The layers of prose, each rich and gripping in its own right, are skillfully framed.
There’s a moment in these dialogues when Dolz recounts the nostalgia of Díaz-Varela for the lost decency of hired assassins. Between hit men now, he laments,
There’s no sense of camaraderie, no sense of belonging: if one of them gets caught, tough, let him sort himself out, it was his fault for getting nabbed. He’s expendable, and the organizations accept no responsibility, they’ve taken the necessary measures so that they don’t get tarnished or tainted … And so those who are arrested respond in kind. Nowadays, all anyone cares about is saving his own skin or getting his sentence reduced.
Though it comes in a serious context (an attempt to account for an unaccountable murder), it’s a wry plaint. And not only because the subject matter of organized murder undermines the clichés at hand for lamenting social decay—the disintegration of corporate bonds, the triumph of selfish individualism—but also because it neatly conveys a preoccupation of the novel. To say that hit men aren’t what they used to be is to suggest that the world may be a fallen one—but then it always was. We are never, in fact, falling from former certainties, even when we think we are, because things have never been certain.
And so The Infatuations, whatever else it is, is a novel about the uses to be made of uncertainty. Provoked by the uncertainty surrounding Deverne’s death, Dolz becomes neither a nihilist nor a dogmatist, but adopts the style of an essayist, a speculator on the human condition. It’s a style that avoids certainties and recognizes that life is more complex than any plot. “The truth is never clear,” Dolz comments, “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.” Statements like these are not usually found in murder mysteries: The Infatuations aims to broaden our palates by weaning us from a diet that caters to our craving for certainty.
In place of certainty, we are offered the resources of fiction. The novel suggests that fictions “have the ability to show us what we don’t know and what doesn’t happen,” and this what is like other people’s lives, which we also don’t know, and which don’t happen to us. We can only know other people’s lives in the way we know fictions, and this raises the stakes of fiction. What happens in a fiction matters less, insists Díaz-Varela, than “the possibilities and ideas that the novel’s imaginary plot communicates to us and infuses us with.”
The novel’s many literary allusions reinforce its preoccupation with the relationship between fiction and life. For instance, Dolz disagrees with Díaz-Varela’s use of the “possibilities and ideas … communicate[d]” by a Balzac novella, Le Colonel Chabert. Díaz-Varela had quoted a catalog of crimes that a character in the novel, the lawyer Derville, offers as evidence of human depravity. In particular, Derville claims he had “seen women administer lethal drops [gouttes] to a legitimate child born of the marriage bed in order to bring about its death and thus benefit a love-child.” But María objects to Díaz-Varela’s translation of the word “gouttes,” and thus to his use of the story. For her, “‘tastes’ (or perhaps ‘inclinations’)” should be substituted for “drops.” She speculates about what to make of this substitution:
The meaning still wasn’t very clear even in that interpretation, nor was it easy to imagine what exactly Derville meant. To give or instil in a child tastes or inclinations that would bring about his death? Drink or opium or gambling or a tendency to criminal behaviour perhaps? A taste for luxury that he would be unable to give up and that would lead him to commit crimes in order to satisfy that taste? A morbid lust that would expose him to diseases or propel him into rape? A character so weak and fearful that the slightest setback would drive him to suicide? It was obscure and almost enigmatic.
This version, Dolz reflects, might point to an even more perverse and sustained crime than outright murder: more horrifying because more plausible, and because a mother might easily claim she never intended to commit it. A well-meaning mother could raise a monster out of good intentions and excessive compliance.
This quibble about a single word hints at The Infatuations’ picture of human relations, at “the possibilities and ideas” that this novel “communicates to us.” Instead of the direct, intended actions of one person upon another, Marías offers something more “obscure and almost enigmatic.” People indirectly bring others to ruin all the time; equally indirectly, they enliven and restore them. But how are we to tell when and how this happens? And yet it is a difference that makes all the difference. The Infatuations is such a brilliantly disturbing novel because it raises doubts about whether any narrative can explain anything fully enough; and it implicitly enjoins on us closer attention to the high stakes of our everyday uncertainties.
Public Books, February 1, 2014
It is the habit of María Dolz, a prudent young woman who works in a nearby publishing house, to have breakfast every morning before work at a certain café in Madrid. There, she regularly and contentedly observes Miguel and Luisa Desverne, a husband and wife who she comes to think of as the Perfect Couple. Sometime later, she is shocked to learn that the husband has been brutally stabbed on the street near his home.
“’What happened is the least of it.’”
While coming to grips with the sudden death of someone she barely knows, María meets Desverne’s wife and Javier, his best friend. As she becomes entangled with Javier, she gradually discovers that the murder was not random. In this contemplative and literary novel by award-winning Spanish author Marías what happens is of far less importance than how possibilities and events are interpreted by the main characters. More a philosophical essay than a psychological thriller and more emotionally reflective than suspenseful, this is the story of a murder that is, at the same time, just a murder and much more.
Portland Book Review, February 3, 2014
Thanks toThe School of Writing at The New School, as well as the tireless efforts of their students and faculty, we are able to provide interviews with each of the NBCC Awards Finalists for the publishing year 2013 in our 30 Books 2013 series.
Gabriel Don, on behalf of the School of Writing at The New School and the NBCC, interviewed Javier Marías, via email, about his book The Infatuations, translated by Margaret Jull Costa (Knopf), which is among the final five selections, in the category of Fiction, for the 2013 NBCC awards.
GD: The first sentence of the novel The Infatuations raises so many questions and pulls the reader immediately into the story seeking answers. How does one decide where to begin when writing fiction?
JM: When I start writing a novel, I never know much about the plot, and certainly not the ending. I simply have an idea, or an image, or a sentence that has been lurking for a while. So I suppose my first sentences have to be interesting and appealing enough to lead me down the path they reveal. I very much decide things on the spot, I improvise a lot. But, once I make a decision, I almost never go back on it. I stick to what I said on page 10, even if on page 200 I discover that it would have been easier to say something different on page 10. I realize this is absurd—and perhaps suicidal—but I apply to my novels the same principle of knowledge that rules life: at 40 you may wish you had made a different decision when you were 20, but you can’t go back. Well, in my novels it is the same. The funny thing is that many critics have pointed out that, often, on my very first page, there is a sort of “summary” of the whole novel. But, as I have said many times before, I don’t have a map when I write, just a compass. So I know I am heading “north,” as it were, but not the way I will get there.
GD: I very much enjoyed the long sentences throughout. They seemed to meander like a river, frequently extended by commas, like Proust, often arriving at unexpected places which is rare in contemporary fiction—post Gordon Lish and Raymond Chandler—which I feel favours short sentences with most of the information contained in the top half. What authors—contemporary or historical—do you admire and have influenced the way you structure sentences?
JM: Though I am a great admirer of Dashiell Hammett, for instance, I think that the widespread tendency to use short sentences in fiction is rather impoverishing and boring. To convey a complex or nuanced idea it is often necessary to use long sentences. This means—to a certain extent—that complex and nuanced ideas have been almost banished from literary fiction. However, I try to make my sentences as clear and understandable as possible. Even with the meandering you mention, my prose runs swiftly, at least in my mind and my own reading. Whenever I have read from my books in front of audiences, the pace is fast. I look not only to Proust, but also to Henry James, Faulkner, Sir Thomas Browne, Sterne and Conrad (I have translated work by the latter four, only poetry by Faulkner, though) as models for how to deal with complex ideas and how to do so “musically.” The rhythm of the prose is very important to me, and one of the reasons to use commas, which sometimes allow you to skip “sinces,” “therefores” and “howevers” that may feel like hindrances. Faulkner was once asked why his sentences were so long, and he replied, more or less: “Because I never know if I shall be alive to write the next one.” Thank you so much for liking mine, that is very kind of you.
GD: I was asked to write a wedding poem for the ceremony in India I just attended and I quoted a romantic section of The Infatuations:
“The nicest thing about them was seeing how much they enjoyed each others’ company…for there are people who can make us laugh even when they don’t intend to, largely because their very presence please us, and so it’s easy enough to set us off, simply seeing them, and being in their company and hearing them is all it takes, even if they they are not saying anything extraordinary or even deliberately spouting nonsense which we nonetheless find funny.”
The intriguing thing to me was how by admiring the beauty of this couple, the audience is made an accomplice with Maria as she stalks and finds solace in their relationship. Do you think by placing the narrative in the first person, a reader has already to some degree taken sides?
JM: Well, I have been writing my novels in the first person since 1986, with The Man of Feeling, so I have grown perhaps too accustomed to it. It has both advantages and disadvantages. Among the former, in principle everything is more “believable,” as fragmentary as our own knowledge of reality and of other people’s lives; and yes, it somehow encourages the reader to “take sides,” even if a first-person narrator is not always reliable or trustworthy, just as we are not in real life. Among the latter, you are forced to justify all your knowledge of things; unfortunately, you can’t just enter Madame Bovary’s bedroom, or mind, and say what is going on there, something a narrator in the third person is allowed to do. Throughout my literary career I have strived to find ways of entering characters’ bedrooms or minds without actually doing so.
GD: In contrast to the long sentences, the chapters in The Infatuations are brief, averaging 3-5 pages. Is this for pacing purposes? As an aspiring novelist, who has only written short stories thus far, I find figuring out when to end a chapter very complicated, and committing to and continuing on with chapters to shape a novel as a whole a conundrum. What advice do you have?
JM: Yes, it is for pacing purposes. In other novels my chapters are longer, sometimes very long. On this occasion I realized conventional chapter breaks would serve a purpose. You can start a new chapter without starting a new scene or interrupting a conversation between two characters. I notice that readers are more urgently compelled to go on reading after a chapter break. And, as I said, that break may only be formal, a convention. It is not that you “delude” the reader, but rather invite him or her to pause, and he or she will usually accept the invitation. We authors must be very grateful to readers who comply with us.
GD: Do you feel that something is lost, or possibly gained, in translation? Are their some things (words, meaning, concepts) you think cannot be transferred from Spanish to English?
JM: When I used to teach Theory of Translation (in Madrid, also at Oxford University and at Wellesley College), the very first day I said two contradictory things: 1) Translation is impossible. 2) Everything can be translated. And gave examples that supported both assertions. I believe both are true. For instance, in Spanish we have so many different diminutives that it’s a challenge not only to “properly” translate them, but even just to explain them. In Spanish, a “tonto” (a fool, a silly person) is not quite the same thing as a “tontuelo,” “tontín,” “tontito,” “tontazo,” “tontorrón,” “tontaina,” or “tontaco.” Similarly, English has “to look,” “to watch,” “to glare,” “to gaze,” “to stare,” “to peer,” “to peep.” Spanish doesn’t, so we must usually add an adverb. But I do think there are always ways of “compensating,” as it were, for what you might miss in one line of the text, perhaps in the next line. Certainly, if a translator is poor, then a lot is lost. And if he or she is excellent, then something may be gained. And, of course, once you know a second or third language, then you miss, in your own, certain words or expressions that are available in other languages. For a writer it is a challenge, sometimes, to try to “incorporate” into your own language what it lacks.
Critical Mass, February 21, 2014
MENTRE LE DONNE DORMONO
Traduzione di Valerio Nardoni
Figure evanescenti, ambigue – fantasmi, spie, guardie del corpo, sosia, criminali – infestano i racconti di Javier Marías, ognuno con il suo segreto, ognuno con la sua ossessione o maledizione (ammesso che, nella vita come nel suo proseguimento spettrale, sia possibile distinguere le due categorie). Ma alla fine il posto da cui tutti loro rifiutano di andare via, impossibili da cancellare, è la nostra memoria di lettori.
Un fantasma degli anni Trenta piú spaventato dei malcapitati a cui compare, un capitano dell’esercito di Napoleone durante la campagna di Russia, il protagonista de L’uomo sentimentale ritratto quando era ancora bambino, un maggiordomo bloccato in un ascensore, un caso di «doppio» a Barcellona che porterà alla rovina, un caso di «doppio» in Inghilterra che porterà all’orrore, un «ciccione schifoso» in adorante contemplazione di una donna dalla bellezza tanto ideale da apparire irreale… Sono solo alcuni dei personaggi di questi racconti scritti nell’arco di trent’anni che testimoniano un percorso narrativo in costante ascesa: superbo tessitore di romanzi, anche monumentali, Javier Marías dimostra di saper raggiungere, nello spazio di poche pagine, un grado di tensione e profondità degno dei grandi maestri della forma breve, senza rinunciare alla scrittura sensuale e meditativa che ne ha fatto uno degli scrittori contemporanei piú amati nel mondo.
Non è scontato che un grande romanziere sia anche un grande autore di racconti. Nel caso di Javier Marías, però, la grandezza sembra avere a che fare solo col fatto stesso di scrivere: vale per i romanzi di sempre, vale per i saggi, vale anche per i racconti. Einaudi ha appena pubblicato la prima raccolta dello scrittore spagnolo, uscita in patria nel 1990. Si intitola Mentre le donne dormono (traduzione di Valerio Nardoni), e contiene dodici storie poco meno che perfette.
L’indagine introspettiva e psicologica è ciò che caratterizza maggiormente la narrativa di Marías, e quasi per paradosso pare che accadano più cose in questi pochi racconti che nei suoi formidabili romanzi. La cosa più impressionante, ad ogni modo, è la sua abilità nel maneggiare diversi registri, diversi ritmi e diverse profondità. Sarebbe difficile appaiare per stile e spessore due dei racconti di Mentre le donne dormono, ma allo stesso tempo esiste come uno spirito sotterraneo che fa di questi frammenti un corpo unico in grado di muoversi e comunicare da solo.
L’ossessione per la morte e per le infinite possibilità del caso, proprie del grosso dell’opera di Marías, emerge limpidamente in quest’antologia che dopotutto, cronologicamente, anticipa la maggior parte dei suoi lavori migliori. La morte, il tempo, i fantasmi, l’antitesi quasi ontologica tra Madrid e Barcellona, il tema del doppio e la forza e la fragilità delle donne: tutto, in una maniera o nell’altra, sarebbe tornato più avanti.
Molto semplicemente, leggere Marías è un piacere enorme. In questi racconti gioca coi paradossi del vivere e del morire, con le paranoie degli uomini, e naturalmente con la letteratura. Ogni volta adopera tratti diversi, come un pittore che si volesse cimentare con tutta la sua scorta di pennelli e colori per illustrare una processione di vicende fatte di rompicapi e inganni. E omaggia, in via diretta (il vorticoso e benetiano Le dimissioni di Santiesteban dedicate a Juan Benet) o indiretta (lo spettro di Zapata di Saranno nostalgie, che chiude la rassegna, potrebbe essere uscito da una storia di Gabo Márquez), e lascia sempre qualcosa in sospeso, come i grandi illusionisti sanno fare.
Mentre le donne dormono è Marías che era già Marías prima che diventasse Marías, ma questo in fondo è solo motivo di curiosità. Il valore di questi racconti appartiene appieno a essi stessi, per ciò che dicono e per come lo dicono. Un recupero doveroso, a un quarto di secolo di distanza, e di cui essere ben felici.
Europa, 6 Febbraio 2014
Quando le donne dormono
Javier Marias e’ uno degli scrittori contemporanei più’ amati e apprezzati dal pubblico, le sue opere sono tradotte in tutto il mondo, vincitore di prestigiosi premi letterari come il Romulo Gallegos e il Prix Femina Etranger con “Domani nella battaglia pensa a me” e nel 2011 l’italiano Premio Nonino. In questi giorni in libreria con l’editore di riferimento, ma nella collana di tascabili L’arcipelago Einaudi, la raccolta di racconti “Mentre le donne dormono” con traduzione di Valerio Nardoni, uscito in patria nel 1990 con titolo originale “Mientras ellas duermen”.
Dodici piccoli capolavori letterari che hanno il potere, allora di anticipare, oggi di confermare, le grandi doti letterarie di questo straordinario personaggio della cultura, autore di romanzi, saggi e traduttore di classici. Marías da voce a tutti i temi a lui più cari e che ben si adattano alla pur breve dimensione del racconto: l’ossessione per la morte, il caso, i fantasmi, il tragico, l’ironia, il doppio, senza comunque venir meno a una profonda indagine psicologica e introspettiva dei personaggi. Quel suo stile inconfondibile nel lasciare sempre un finale sospeso, un gioco da abile illusionista che spiazza. Omaggi, per Juan Benet ne “Le dimissioni di Santiesteban” son quelle che ogni notte affigge un fantasma in un istituto di Madrid, un enigma che nessuno è riuscito a risolvere ma che alla fine al contrario si duplicherà. “Portento, maledizione” un racconto che ha la forza di un romanzo, diviso in capitoli , dove la natura psicologica di un rapporto prevale su tutto il resto. In “Gualta” un caso di doppio, due biografie a confronto, due città a confronto Madrid e Barcellona, e tante ipotesi nel finale.
E ancora in “Mentre le donne dormono” il racconto contemporaneo di un uomo di mezza età ossessionato da una donna che ha conosciuto bambina che filma in continuazione per conservarne l’ultima immagine. Infine in “Saranno nostalgie” l’apparizione del fantasma di Emiliano Zapata con i vestiti trivellati dai colpi, durante le letture ad alta voce in casa di una vecchia signora di Veracruz, e ancora dopo la sua morte tornerà ogni mercoledì, ” forse da Chinameca, assassinato, triste e sfinito”. Sono solo alcuni di questi preziosi assaggi di una scrittura già matura e che si appresta a conquistare il favore dei lettori. Colmando un vuoto, oggi a un quarto di secolo, nel terreno accidentato del genere “racconto”.
Stamp Toscana, 8 Febbraio 2014
Translated by Margaret Jull Costa
Penguin, February 27, 2014
Las ediciones inglesa y americana de la novela de Javier Marías, Los enamoramientos, finalista del prestigioso National Book Critics Circle Awards, se publicarán en formato de bolsillo los próximos 27 de febrero y 22 de abril respectivamente.
NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE ANNOUNCES ITS FINALISTS FOR PUBLISHING YEAR 2013
The National Book Critics Circle today announced its 30 finalists in six categories -autobiography, biography, criticism, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry- for the best books of 2013. The winners of an additional three prizes were announced as well. The National Book Critics Circle Awards, founded in 1974 at the Algonquin Hotel and considered among the most prestigious in American letters, are the sole prizes bestowed by a jury of working critics and book-review editors. The awards will be presented on March 13 at the New School, in a ceremony that is free and open to the public.
NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE FINALISTS, PUBLISHING YEAR 2013:
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah (Knopf)
Alice McDermott, Someone (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Javier Marías, The Infatuations, translated by Margaret Jull Costa (Knopf)
Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being (Viking)
Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch (Little, Brown)
ABOUT THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE
The National Book Critics Circle was founded in 1974 at New York’s legendary Algonquin Hotel by a group of the most influential critics of the day, and awarded its first set of honors the following year. Comprising nearly 600 working critics and book-review editors throughout the country, the NBCC annually bestows its awards in six categories, honoring the best books published in the past year in the United States. It is considered one of the most prestigious awards in the publishing industry. The finalists for the NBCC awards are nominated, evaluated, and selected by the 24-member board of directors, which consists of critics and editors from some of the country’s leading print and online publications, as well as critics whose works appear in these publications.
New York, January 13, 2014
In an effort to get to know our Oxford University Press staff better, we’re featuring interviewing our staff in different offices.
What are you reading right now?
Javier Marías’ new novel The Infatuations. It’s a haunting, beautiful murder mystery. I’ve already gifted several copies. Bedside, I’m enjoying evenings with one of Oxford University Press (OUP)’s own — The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean. It’s an adventure story at heart.
Open the book you’re currently reading and turn to page 75. Tell us the title of the book, and the third sentence on that page.
The Infatuations: “All those speaking objects have been left dumb and meaningless, as if a blanket had been thrown over them to silence and soothe them, making them think that night has come, or as if they, too, regretted the loss of their owner and had withdrawn instantaneously, strangely aware that they had become redundant, futile, and were thinking: “What will we do here now?”
Oxford University Press’s Blog, January 11, 2014
2013 a breakout year for unknown writers such as Drndic, Ledgard
Unlike 2012, 2013 was low on releases from heavyweight authors, but this was no bad thing, as it meant there were more surprises for the reader from breakthrough or unknown writers.
Trieste by Daša Drndic was an outstanding debut novel with Sebaldian undertones about the Nazi occupation of northern Italy. Drndic blended fact and fiction and incorporated photos, maps and lists of Jewish deportees to produce a harrowing, affecting and gripping reading experience. Submergence by J M Ledgard flitted between a kidnapped spy in Somalia and a scientist exploring the depths of the ocean; a third strand covered their romance in a snowbound French hotel; powerful prose with lyrical flurries and characters that mattered kept me entranced. Two established writers continued to work wonders: John le Carré’s A Delicate Truth and Javier Marías’s The Infatuations proved that certain old masters are still rich with ideas and the talent to express them.
The National (Abu Dhabi), December 25, 2013
La lista norteamericana por excelencia es la de la revista de libros del The New York Times. O, mejor dicho, listas –así, en plural– porque publica varias. La más influyente es “Los 10 mejores libros de 2013” –cinco títulos de narrativa y cinco de ensayo– en la que destacan tres novelas muy mencionadas en otras clasificaciones de medios estadounidenses y británicos; son, seguramente, los tres libros del año en inglés.
La otra gran lista del periódico neoyorquino es la de “Los 100 libros notables de 2013”, en la que destacan dos títulos traducidos del español: Los enamoramientos, de Javier Marías, y El ruido de las cosas al caer, del colombiano Juan Gabriel Vásquez, ambos editados por Alfaguara. No es un logro menor si tenemos en cuenta que el mercado norteamericano es casi impermeable a las traducciones, que apenas suponen un 3% del total.
JOSÉ LUIS IBÁÑEZ RIDAO
Zoom News, 2 de enero de 2014
Este año, The New York Times confió la selección de cien libros notables del 2013 (50 de ficción y 50 de ensayo) a los editores del Sunday Book Review. Tan solo dos autores, que representan las dos orillas del castellano fueron incluidos en la selección. El español Javier Marías, con Los enamoramientos (The Infatuations. Knopf) y el colombiano Juan Gabriel Vásquez, con El ruido de las cosas al caer (The sound of things falling. Riverhead), Premio Alfaguara 2011.
El País, Blog Papeles perdidos, 1 de enero de 2014
By Javier Marias
Sometimes the mystery is not what leads up to a murder, but what happens after. Javier Marías’s existential thriller about a crazed attack and the shockwaves it sends through the lives of fatally intertwined Madrid citizens couples the grace and patience of Henry James with the delicious tension of a Hitchcock film.
Barnes and Noble Review, December 18, 2013
Globe Books: What we learned from what we read in 2013
My reading life in 2013 continued with more novels that seemed to unravel in my hands. The master of this technique is the Spanish novelist Javier Marías. His backlist will reward new readers, so be prepared to lose a month or two. This immersion is particularly interesting with Marìas, whose novels and short stories interlock and reference one another. The characters reappear, and his chosen style, a swirling and smothering and loquacious stream (thanks to superb translations by Margaret Jull Costa) allows for epic digressions. Make a TV show from, for instance, Marías’s trilogy, Your Face Tomorrow, and it might feature a man sitting and smoking remembering another moment he was sitting and reading, remembering another moment he was sat speaking to a mysterious man, remembering another moment: the time he discovered a single drop of blood on a staircase, and then somewhere within these trapdoors of remembrance, Marías finds a way to weave in a profound examination of Franco’s Spain. Maybe Jon Hamm could pull off such a scene.
To read Marías is to surrender expectations: his latest, The Infatuations, is a murder mystery, but the author is too concerned with what might have happened, or what could have happened, too concerned with love, sex, infatuation, to rush into the machinations of a whodunit. His trilogy – I can’t offer anything better than this description – has been called a Le Carré novel as written by Proust. “I had opened myself up too much to evocations,” his narrator confesses halfway through book two, “although without ever becoming bored…” It’s true. For some reason it’s never boring. I will, Marías seems to be saying, give you a long sentence, a multi-clause monster, so that you can disprove everything they say is happening to attention spans these days and enjoy one of the less-discussed formal pleasures of sticking with a sentence and following its contours right to the last stop, right to the end. They unspool and unspool.
The Globe and Mail (Canadá), December 27, 2013
In Javier Marías’s mesmerising The Infatuations (Hamish Hamilton), the narrator María’s compulsive daily observation of a model couple in a Madrid cafe morphs from romance to murder mystery and on into metaphysics. The magic of Marías’s writing derives from the fluidly shifting conjectures, qualifications and modifications of his prose, unravelling individual perception into nuanced medications on love, time and death. The result is a magisterial evocation of emotional flux and preoccupation with the ordering containment of art. In a 2013 Guardian interview Marías stated that the novelist’s function was “a way of imparting, recognition of things that you didn’t know you knew”. There is a quality of fantastic normality in his novels as he dredges up the familiar from bizarre, claustrophobic, almost gothic events and obsessions.
The Infatuations by Javier Marías (Hamish Hamilton) is a completely new take on murder. Marías’s insight into the human condition is acute. In language that is intelligent and a joy to read, this novel is about the coalescence of reality and fantasy, obsession, and the lengths people will go to in the state of el enamoramiento: the madness of being in love. The plot is elicited in glimpses, gradually enabling the reader to disentangle truth from lies. I wish I hadn’t read it, then I would still have the pleasure of unknowingness one has when reading it for the first time.
The Guardian, December 28, 2013
Beaucoup de fins lecteurs pensent -à juste titre- que Javier Marías serait un excellent candidat pour le prix Nobel de littérature. Une opinion que confirme Comme les amours, roman qui, dans tous les pays où il a été traduit, a remporté un vif succès critique, et qui paraît aujourd’hui en France.
Si vous n’avez aucun goût pour l’analyse psychique, si les recoins ombreux de l’âme humaine ont peu d’attrait pour vous, vous passerez votre chemin. Mais si ce n’est pas le cas et si vous n’avez jamais ouvert le moindre ouvrage de Javier Marías -l’auteur d‘Un coeur si blanc et de Demain dans la bataille pense à moi (Rivages, 1997 et 1998)-, il serait dommage de rater cette occasion. Une grandiose porte d’entrée dans l’univers subtil, intelligent et raffiné d’un envoûteur hors pair, né à Madrid en 1951, et devenu sans conteste l’un des meilleurs stylistes espagnols.
Au premier abord, rien de spectaculaire. Une simple histoire d’amour accrochée à un fait divers. Une vaste étude sur des thèmes classiques: raison et sentiments, trahison et loyauté, destinée et libre arbitre… Dès les premières pages, la narratrice observe un couple. Dans la vie professionnelle, María Dolz est éditrice. Elle a pour habitude de prendre chaque matin son petit déjeuner dans un café proche de son bureau et d’y fixer son attention sur ce couple inconnu. Miguel Desvern et Luisa Alday sont mari et femme. Un couple régulier, mais qui “rit, parle, plaisante et se stimule” d’une manière qui semble ne laisser aucune place à l’usure des jours.
Est-ce cela qui fascine tant María? Cette habileté qu’ont certains à s’amuser de la vie et à préserver dans leur regard cette lueur confiante et rieuse qu’elle décèle chez Miguel et Luisa? Un jour pourtant, le couple ne vient pas et l’éditrice apprend par la presse que Miguel a été assassiné par un fou au sortir de sa voiture. Même si elle ne lui a jamais parlé, María décide de se rapprocher de Luisa, la veuve inconsolable. Dans son entourage, elle fait bientôt la connaissance de Javier Díaz-Varela, que Luisa lui présente comme “le meilleur ami de Miguel”. Mais tout cela serait trop simple. Lorsque María et Javier deviennent amants, María comprend que les liens qui unissent Luisa à l’ex-meilleur ami de son défunt mari ne sont pas, loin de là, sans ambiguïté. Et tout cela jette soudain un éclairage fondamentalement différent sur le couple et son passé.
L’épaisseur de l’ombre
Que Varela soit un menteur et même peut-être un assassin, le lecteur s’en doute assez vite. Mais qu’importe. Ce qui compte chez Javier Marías, ce n’est jamais l’histoire à la lettre – même si celle-ci est ici si prenante qu’on ne peut s’empêcher de tourner les pages. Non, c’est plutôt les mille possibilités de récits qui sont en germe. Latents. Comme des ramifications silencieuses de l’histoire principale. C’est le cheminement infiniment complexe et troublant de la pensée. Le silence. Les mensonges. Toute cette machinerie lourde que l’on voit se mettre en branle dans les cerveaux des personnages afin que chacun puisse arriver à se mentir à lui-même en toute bonne foi. Que sommes-nous capables de faire et de justifier par amour? De quoi parvenons-nous à nous convaincre? Sur quelles trahisons et quelles impostures sommes-nous prêts à fermer les yeux?
Fermer les yeux. La littérature est là au contraire pour les déssiller. “Elle nous aide à penser ce que l’on n’ose pas penser en temps normal”, dit Marías, de passage à Paris. Après réflexion, il ajoute: “Faulkner s’interrogeait sur le pouvoir de la littérature. Et il disait à peu près ceci: “Ecrire, c’est comme craquer une allumette au milieu de la nuit, en plein milieu d’un bois.” Ce que vous comprenez alors, c’est combien il y a d’obscurité partout. La littérature ne sert pas à mieux voir. Elle sert seulement à mieux mesurer l’épaisseur de l’ombre.”
Javier Marías a refusé le Premio nacional de narrativa (“Prix national du roman”, doté de 20.000 euros) attribué à Comme les amours. “L’Etat venait de suspendre ses aides aux bibliothèques, je trouvais cela déplacé”, dit-il. Espérons, si on le lui proposait un jour, qu’il ne dirait pas non aux jurés de l’Académie Nobel.
Le Monde des Livres, 18 décembre 2013
Le Monde (édition papier), 4 octobre 2013