While the women are sleeping by Javier Marias

Source Library

Translator Margaret Jull Costa

Javier Marias is one of Spain’s top current writers his your face tomorrow trilogy is considered on fo the best spanish books published of recent year ,Javier ran away to paris at a young age ,translated English books into Spanish and taught Spanish literature at Oxford university.I did have your face tomorrow from library last year but was unable to reach it in time and read it so had to return it un read ,so saw this slim collection of short stories from the various points in his career   which is his most recent translation .

the stories all centre strange and unnatural ghost stories an homage to the English ghost stories in some ways ,the title story follow a large voyeuristic man  watching different women on the beach in their bikini’s   then his steady descent into darkness and shadowy world  ,in other tales a butler recounts an incident involving the lady of the house ,another tale is told by a dead man ,some one meeting the double in another .There are stories set around the world ,a lot involving english people Marias is well-known for his huge love of england .these range from the late sixties to mid nineties so show the breadth of Marias writing

It is quite possible that the main aim of ghosts ,if they do still exist ,is to thwart the desires of the mortal tenants ,appearing if their presences is unwelcome and hiding away if it is expected or demanded .

opening of one of the tales a kind of nostalgia perhaps

Now this book is only 128 pages long and contains ten tales ,what did I learn from it ? well Marias definitely likes england and the english there are enough characters thrown through these tales to mark him out as a Anglophile ,His pace is slow even in these shorts the pace is slow almost like watching Barcelona play gentle passing the ball or in this case slowly build the stories every time .One story has a made up bio of an English writer Lord Randall , which is a bit like Bolano another Spanish language writer and one of my favourite themes in writing ,made up writers bio just imaging the books that don’t really exist .    A great intro to a writer I want to get to know well in the future .the translation is by Margaret Jull Costa who has won awards with her other translations of his work

Have you read him ? if so what to try next ?

16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sakura
    Mar 25, 2011 @ 09:42:20

    I’ve seen this book in several bookshops and have been dying to try him. The cover is beautiful, isn’t it? I didn’t realise it’s a collection of short stories which makes it even more tempting. Glad you liked it Stu!


  2. Richard
    Mar 25, 2011 @ 13:01:52

    I want to read more of Marías’ novels before I take on his other works, Stu, but this review of yours helps maintain my enthusiasm for him, that’s for sure. Will be reading All Souls, set at Oxford, next month and Your Face Tomorrow over the summer. Hopefully I’ll have time to squeeze in A Heart So White before the end of the year, too. He can be quite addictive.


  3. Gavin
    Mar 25, 2011 @ 14:06:12

    I have been curious about Marias for a while now. This sounds like a great book to start with.


  4. Tom Cunliffe
    Mar 26, 2011 @ 07:57:47

    Well, that’s a new one to me Stu – I will have to investigage Sr Maras I think. Its always interesting to see how people from other nations see our literature – a homage to the English ghost story is certainly unusual


  5. Rise
    Mar 26, 2011 @ 12:12:31

    Marias is a favorite. I’ve read 7 books and will not stop there. Each one is beautiful but Written Lives is the cutest. It’s a collection of mini-biographies of good and “bad” writers.


  6. Willa
    Mar 26, 2011 @ 19:43:34

    As always a great review Stu! I am reading All Souls by Marias – bought it second hand and when I opened it, I found that it was a signed copy! So cool 🙂


  7. Kinna
    Mar 28, 2011 @ 01:14:51

    I gave up on Marias when I did not enjoy A Heart so White . But I’ve decided to give him another try. Perhaps with this book. Thanks for the review.


  8. Geosi
    Mar 28, 2011 @ 09:37:57

    I have not yet of Marias. Thanks for introducing her to me.


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March 2011


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