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The Infatuations Hardcover – 7 Mar 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Hamish Hamilton (7 Mar. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0241145368
  • ISBN-13: 978-0241145364
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3.2 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 251,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

Mesmerising . . . At this very fine and disturbing novel's core is a compelling meditation on love in all its ramifications (Herald)

The real pleasure is in the strange things his narrators do to the business of narration. Marías has discovered a unique form (Adam Thirlwell TLS)

Plotted with tremendous skill and elegance, this cerebral tale is entirely absorbing (Daily Mail)

The classical themes of love, death and fate are explored with elegant intelligence by Marías in what is perhaps his best novel so far' (Alberto Manguel Guardian)

Marías at his most haunting (Financial Times)

No one else, anywhere, is writing quite like this (Tim Martin Daily Telegraph)

Absorbing and unnerving . . . powered by the pressure of good old-fashioned suspense (Sunday Times)

A murder mystery that's also a brilliant meditation on life, love and death (Robert McCrum Observer) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Javier Marías was born in Madrid in 1951. He has published thirteen novels, two collections of short stories and several volumes of essays. His work has been translated into forty-two languages and won a dazzling array of international literary awards, including the prestigious Dublin IMPAC award for A Heart So White. He is also a highly practised translator into Spanish of English authors, including Joseph Conrad, Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Thomas Browne and Laurence Sterne. He has held academic posts in Spain, the United States and in Britain, as Lecturer in Spanish Literature at Oxford University.

Margaret Jull Costa has been a literary translator for over twenty-five years and has translated many novels and short stories by Portuguese, Spanish and Latin American writers, including Javier Marías, Fernando Pessoa, José Saramago, Bernardo Atxaga and Ramón del Valle-Inclán. She has won various prizes for her work, including, in 2008, the PEN Book-of-the-Month Translation Award and the Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize for her version of Eça de Queiroz's masterpiece The Maias, and, most recently, the 2011 Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize for The Elephant's Journey by José Saramago.


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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER on 6 Mar. 2013
Format: Hardcover
New novels by J.M.Coetzee and Javier Marias in a single month? It must be the best March in history for the readers of the world.

The Infatuations is a novel about grief, love, death. It's more focussed, more concentrated, than much of Marias's work I've read up to now - this is both good and bad. The novel has drive and direct force and I finished it in a couple of sittings. However I did on occasion find myself wishing that he'd let himself with his digressions a bit more! There a few bits and pieces that I do think a little more could have been done with, such as the initial conceit of one character observing two others in a cafe every single morning. But there we are. Yes it could have been 500 pages and I would have liked it. As it is it's 350 and I like it. No, not like it: love it. Of course!

I adore Marias's style. It is made for my heart, my mind. Its rhythms coil themselves into my brain perfectly. His writing is hypnotic, languorous, philosophical, striking. He builds up themes and colours with repetitions, digressions, asides, tangents. He's a writer who manages to create both vague impressions and also to convey very specific ideas at the same time, in a completely unique way.

As far as I'm concerned, he's a genius. Anything he writes is worth reading, and this as much as anything. It's a fascinating book, superbly written. To be honest it's an ideal Marias introduction - it diverges, wanders, a little less than some of his other books, the themes are more focused, there are fewer events. It has volumes to say about love, trust, death, dying, returning. I don't see myself reading a better book this year.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Susie B TOP 100 REVIEWER on 4 Mar. 2013
Format: Hardcover
Javier Maria's latest novel 'The Infatuations' is narrated by Maria Dolz, a woman in her late thirties, who works for a Madrid publisher and who takes her breakfast every morning in the same cafe. At this rather ordinary cafe, Maria observes an unusually handsome married couple as they breakfast together before going their separate ways. Maria can see the man and woman are very close by the way they look at each other and how they seem to take pleasure in one another's company, and Maria enjoys watching them and imagining their lives. One day, the couple are not there, and Maria is surprised to discover that she feels strangely deprived of their company, even though they have never really spoken to her. It is only later, when Maria is made aware of the brutal and fatal stabbing of the man, that she discovers who the couple are.

Some time later, when Maria sees the woman at the cafe again, she decides to offer her condolences and is surprised when the woman, Luisa, invites her to call at her home that evening. At Luisa's home, where Luisa talks to Maria about the intense grief and bewilderment caused by her husband's death, Maria meets Javier Diaz-Varela, whom she describes to the reader as handsome and virile, with delicate features, almond-shaped eyes and lips that make her want to kiss them. After this meeting at Luisa's home, Maria finds herself becoming increasingly involved in the lives of Luisa and Javier and, as she spends more time in Javier's company and becomes closer to him, she discovers things which make her look at the seemingly random and apparently motiveless death of Luisa's husband in a different light.

This is not the average type of murder mystery novel, just as Javier Marias is not the average kind of writer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By sally tarbox TOP 500 REVIEWER on 5 Oct. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Maria, a publisher's assistant, sees 'the perfect couple' every day as she breakfasts at a restaurant, and forms an unspoken bond with them. Although the whole novel revolves around this couple, we actually hardly meet them, for the husband is murdered - a senseless stabbing. Maria pays a visit to his distraught widow, where she encounters Javier Diaz-Varela, friend of the deceased...
This is much more than a murder story; in lengthy conversations (but which I found pretty readable), the protagonists mull over such matters as obsessive love, death (would it really be a good thing if we could bring back the deceased, once their loved ones have moved on with their lives?) and crime. The sort of book you finish and straightaway think 'I could do with reading that a second time.' Emphatically not dull - up to the last chapter you're wondering what's going to happen.
Marias certainly is a great writer.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Sue Kichenside TOP 500 REVIEWER on 16 April 2013
Format: Hardcover
Shameful to say, this is my first Javier Marías book and I have come away from it - just this moment - slightly shell-shocked by the power it had to move me.

The story is told by María Dolz who becomes entranced with a happy, loving couple who breakfast at the same café as her every morning; without their knowing it, they enable her to start her working day on a note of optimism. Then, one day, they aren't there and María is left feeling bereft. From a newspaper, María learns that the husband, Miguel, has met a brutal death. Later, she sees his widow in the café and approaches her to offer condolences thus setting off a chain of events in which María, the Prudent Young Woman - as the couple had termed her, becomes pivotal.

Javier Marías has constructed a deeply thought-provoking novel around the subjects of love, loss and the nature of time. "We cannot know what time will do to us with its fine, indistinguishable layers upon layers, we cannot know what it might make of us...its treacherous minutes and its sly seconds, until a strange, unthinkable day arrives, when nothing is as it always was..."

An existential novel such as The Infatuations leads the reader to peer into its hidden depths. It is interesting to note that the author's name for the narrator is María and his name for the dead man's best friend with whom she falls in love is Javier. Then there are the different spellings of Miguel's surname - Desvern or Deverne - which are explained at the outset and yet the names continue to alternate throughout the book. Whether these things are significant or not though, I'm not clever enough to discern.
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