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A Heart so White (Penguin Modern Classics) by [Marías, Javier]
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A Heart so White (Penguin Modern Classics) Kindle Edition

3.3 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Product Description

Review

The most subtle and gifted writer in contemporary Spanish literature (Boston Globe)

I was enthralled (Marina Warner, Guardian)

Marías' challenging and seductive technique reaches its pinnacle in A Heart So White (The New York Times)

The work of a supreme stylist ... It is brilliantly done (James Woodall, The Times)

As unique as it is brilliant... an entertaining and intelligent novel (Washington Post)

Book Description

'It has achieved the status of a manifesto: it is one of those unusual books breaks new ground' Le Monde (2002-10-18)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 770 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (2 Aug. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008BD6OZS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #45,201 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By FictionFan TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 4 May 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A few days after returning from her honeymoon, Teresa leaves the room in the middle of dinner, goes to the bathroom and shoots herself in the heart. Years later, in the present, as our narrator Juan is getting used to the changes brought about his own marriage, he becomes fascinated by the mystery of why Teresa killed herself. He has a personal connection – his father Ranz was married to Teresa at the time and later married her sister Juana, Juan's mother. So Teresa would have been Juan's aunt – though had she lived, of course she wouldn't have been...

There are several themes going on in the book – the uncertainty of memory, the inability to forget something once heard, the increasing unknowableness of truth when stories are relayed from person to person. Both Juan and his wife Luisa are interpreters and the sections where Juan talks about listening and conveying meaning are fascinating. The title is a reference to Macbeth, specifically to Lady Macbeth's reaction on being told of Duncan's murder, illustrating a major theme - the complicity forced upon someone to whom a tale is told. Marías is also playing with the idea that events that are major in the present fade into insignificance as time passes, so that eventually all will be the same whether an event happened or didn't. An interesting thought.

In fact, there are lots of interesting thoughts hidden in Marías' prose – well hidden. This is yet another in what seems to be becoming my accidental theme of the year – stream of consciousness novels or, as I prefer to call them, badly punctuated. I admit this one is nowhere near as bad as Absalom! Absalom!
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Format: Paperback
This book was one we chose for our book club. I got it from the library and wasn't sure if it was going to be an easy read or a tedious, boring drudge through some long, descriptive sentences. I read it in 6 days and couldn't put it down. There was stage at the early part of the bookwhen it did become a bit dull. Then the story picked up and the tale of how Juan met his wife really grabbed my attention. I laughed and really couldn't stop reading. There was an unexpected twist near the end. All together I thought this book was well written, had my attention and I actually cared about all of the characters.
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Format: Paperback
'A Heart So White' is an emotionally-layered and incredibly nuanced yarn that explores - evidently - the human heart, its immense power and the darkness that lies therein. Page by page - almost too methodically sometimes - the book questions what love is, the lies that sustain love, and the limits to which it can drive us. Starting with the protagonist, Juan, being mistaken for some one's lover, and then overhearing a lovers' spat while caring for his new wife, who is delirious with fever, the story slowly unfurls Juan's own history, paralleling the story of the bickering lovers with that of Juan's father with a truly surprising conclusion.

Javier Marias is the kind of writer that I don't imagine would be an easy read for the typical UK reader since, for the last fifteen years or so, the average book buyer picks up sensationalist or shallow entertaining books which are promoted to death, with, of course, the odd masterpiece - like Margaret Atwood's 'The Blind Assassin' thrown in. Indeed Javier Marias may have found it hard to find a publisher if he was English, so thank god for Spanish and thank god for translation!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an excellent novel but you have to work at it. I don't usually like my books so introspective, and Marias' style which involves repetition of words and phrases can strike a discordant note, but it is a gripping story.
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By John P. Jones III TOP 500 REVIEWER on 29 Jun. 2012
Format: Paperback
I remain enthralled with Javier Marias. This is the fourth book of his that I've read; the other three are: While the Women are Sleeping, Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me (Penguin Modern Classics), and Dark Back of Time (Vintage International). Each title is taken from a line in Shakespeare. In the case of this book, the line is uttered by Lady Macbeth, after the murder of Duncan. She says: "My hands are of your color, but I shame to wear a heart so white." And so what does that really mean? The beauty of Shakespeare, here as well as other places, is the possible ambiguities. Marias proposes that it might mean "nonchalance," but it could also mean "pale and fearful" or "cowardly." I could think of some others. It is an excellent title, given the subject matter of this book, some of which is the most essential to human existence: what do we really know about our parents, and hence how we got here; and what do we really know about the person who shares our bed every night? Marias continues to show the relevance of Shakespeare to our daily lives. He takes the "white heart" theme, and about nine others, develops them, and plays them back through the lives of his characters. Point and Counterpoint. And even a "riff" or two.Read more ›
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