4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
"The Prudent Young Woman.",
This review is from: The Infatuations (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. Perhaps I'm looking for something that isn't there but such is the deeply exploratory nature of the writing that Javier Marías makes the reader think. And think again.
An extraordinary book - and the front cover photography on the hard-back edition catches the essence of infatuation brilliantly.