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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All 's Fair in Love and War
An alternative title for a review of this phenomenal final part of the trilogy could be, "One should never tell Anything to Anyone", a dictum of Sir Peter Wheeler(SPW), retired Oxford don, spy during WW II and the Spanish civil war. He was close to members of an ultra-secret group charged with "black propaganda" that created chaos in Germany during WW II. He gives this...
Published on 2 Feb. 2010 by Alfred J. Kwak

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3.0 out of 5 stars Marias's folly
This is Javier Marias's maddest book. A weird mishmash of various violent genres, with absolutely no discernible point. It seems to have been written in a kind of delirium. Of course there are some memorable scenes, and his wonderful style, and his comedy, and you can slice any of his books anywhere and appreciate his distinctive voice. Don't bother with this. Read A...
Published 4 months ago by terence dooley


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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All 's Fair in Love and War, 2 Feb. 2010
An alternative title for a review of this phenomenal final part of the trilogy could be, "One should never tell Anything to Anyone", a dictum of Sir Peter Wheeler(SPW), retired Oxford don, spy during WW II and the Spanish civil war. He was close to members of an ultra-secret group charged with "black propaganda" that created chaos in Germany during WW II. He gives this advice to the trilogy's hero Jaime (etc.)Deza, who works for a 21st-century version of this ex-WW II agency, which has co-opted its staff of no more than seven on SPWs say so, regardless of nationality, no oath required. Privatisation of intelligence gathering is only one of many themes in this trilogy. Blackmail is just one of many tools in the trade's business.
Words can kill. This volume provides plenty of evidence: slips of the tongue, false accusations, a bright idea to discredit an SS-officer, and the horrible consequences, wished for or not. The trilogy's key message is that to win a war requires total determination, anything and everything is allowed, despite there always being innocent victims. In smaller campaigns like scaring away a competitor for the love of the mother of one's children, the application of fear and violence also requires absolute determination. Who in this murky line of business is determined enough and can also cope with the collatoral damage? And if not applied properly, what will survivors do? Deza is put to the test in this final volume...
This third volume and the entire trilogy strive to be a very deep piece of work. It turns out to be more(auto-)biographical than expected when I began Part One: JM wrote two books on his life as a lecturer in Oxford prior to the trilogy starring SPW, who turns out to be a real person after all.
The principal moral of the trilogy is that Western society can no longer cope with and suffer through another very big conflict, as the British did during and after WW II. I will reread Marias' trilogy next year, hoping to understand perhaps 70% of its content. Ultimately, this trilogy is about the Western world today, having become soft, silly, totally ignorant of its roots and fundamental ideas and values, which were fought for, again and again, in history. I understand JM's message, but do not agree with his worldview.
No one is safe as viewed from JM's perspective. Least of all Deza, who at the end of the tale, will have to remain on guard, sleep with one eye open.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, 28 Dec. 2012
By 
RachelWalker "RachelW" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Your Face Tomorrow 3: Poison, Shadow and Farewell (Paperback)
This is the kind of book that defies review, really. But most of those by Marias I have read are similar in that respect. This trilogy is a digressive, major, deceptively controlled masterpiece. The fact of its masterpiece-ness doesn't become apparent until this third volume however this brings the whole thing together perfectly: the previous two books describe ever wider circles around this, afraid to truly get to the centre, but this one brings all the threads together and goes for the jugular. The book is the greatest metaphysical thriller I have ever come across: an occasionally violent tract that puts seemingly everything to the test, interrogates every motive that crosses its path, talks its way around every subject and idea to give what great fiction does: a sense of the tremendous significance of, well, nearly everything.

I cannot praise this trilogy highly enough. It took me a while to read both the first two books, but this one I galloped through in days. A wonderful, dark, dangerous book. Marias, with Coetzee, is my bet for greatest novelist alive.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary achievement, 10 July 2013
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This review is from: Your Face Tomorrow 3: Poison, Shadow and Farewell (Paperback)
I've just finished the trilogy, having first got hooked on Marias' long, reflective sentences in A Heart so White. The pivotal actions are told with fascinating psychological precision, so much so that the drama can be held in suspension so we can see how Jaime/Jacobo is affected by it as it unfolds. But that's not the half of it - the nameless group he belongs to on the edge of MI6, interwoven with the stories of the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath, make this a compelling historical novel and, ultimately, a rigorously ethical investigation of how war and peacetime violence alike transform and sometimes poison their participants, even those who are just part of the propaganda effort. Lots of other themes and conflicts to be thought about further - but for now, I wanted to share the impact this has had on me before I go away and see what others have said - not to mention the rest of his writing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Godfather comparison is spot on., 26 May 2013
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Graham Morris (Cornwall, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Your Face Tomorrow 3: Poison, Shadow and Farewell (Paperback)
At one point in this book the author refers to the Godfather film series as an excellent trilogy where each film was even better than the one that preceded it. This is absolutely true of this novel. This is the longest of the three books - and is even more intriguing, gripping and challenging than the first two. It is disturbing in parts, and leaves the reader thinking deeply, not only about the story and the characters, but about the capabilities within us all for violence, for guilt, for indecision. The best novel by far I have read for decades - if it doesn't sound too pretentious, this writer really does nail the 'human condition' and the way we move through the world.
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4.0 out of 5 stars If you like the X-Factor, then this probably isn't for you., 5 Jan. 2015
I have finished reading this book after seven months of owning it. I won't deny I found it a challenge, nor that a large share of the historical references were entirely meaningless too me. It's one of those books that I wanted to read to for my brain, and one of those I'm glad to have read. It will mean I'm going to have to become more discerning over what I read in future. It's also aroused for the first time in my life, an interest in that period of history of the world wars.

If you like the X-Factor, then this book probably isn't for you. That is my expectation at least.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The dance comes to an elegant conclusion, 10 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Your Face Tomorrow 3: Poison, Shadow and Farewell (Paperback)
Once again the style of 'Your Face Tomorrow' is intriguing and satisfying; the plot is at times exciting - there are parallels with the famously tense scene in the Godfather when Michael goes to the toilet to collect the hidden handgun with which he will shoot the two men who have met with him, because they killed his father. The story, such as it is, is a curious mix of James Bond, a Kafkaesque existential mystery and an early 20C English comedy by Waugh or Wodehouse. But the narrative voice is elegant, sinuously addictive and beautifully modulated.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Marias's folly, 27 Oct. 2014
By 
terence dooley (camelford, cornwall United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This is Javier Marias's maddest book. A weird mishmash of various violent genres, with absolutely no discernible point. It seems to have been written in a kind of delirium. Of course there are some memorable scenes, and his wonderful style, and his comedy, and you can slice any of his books anywhere and appreciate his distinctive voice. Don't bother with this. Read A Heart So White, or his new one when it's translated -Thus Bad Begins - but definitely not the trilogy or The Infatuatiobns.
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Your Face Tomorrow 3: Poison, Shadow and Farewell
Your Face Tomorrow 3: Poison, Shadow and Farewell by Javier Marias (Paperback - 5 Aug. 2010)
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