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Your Face Tomorrow 1: Fever and Spear: Fever and Spear v. 1 (Your Face Tomorrow Trilogy) Paperback – 6 Jul 2006

3.0 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (6 July 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099461994
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099461999
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 432,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


"You are dazzled by the author's intelligence and understanding of human nature" (Scotsman)

"Your Face Tomorrow is already being compared with Proust and rightly so. It is a novel of extraordinary subtlety and pathos. The next thing Marias deserves is the Nobel Prize." (Observer)

"Marias is one of the best minds in fiction today.His is an experimental kind of writing, a thinking on the page, unlike anything else now.In Your Face Tomorrow, it produces another work of urgent originality" (Independent)

"He has as gift for the wickedly comic set piece...He seems incapable of writing a thoughtless or throwaway sentence.We need more novelists like Marias" (Independent on Sunday)


An intriguing and audacious experiment. I look foward to the next volume

" (Sunday Times)

Book Description

The first major new novel from Marias since A Heart So White, winner of the IMPAC prize and a bestseller in Spain. Set in England, the book has all the suspense of the best spy novels, which it parodies so brilliantly

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Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is the first part of a trilogy which has just been completed. I came across the author because of a truly wonderful story about his fear of flying in the summer 2009 issue of Granta. More recently, The Economist highly recommended the (third volume of the) trilogy, acknowledging that readers have to cope with several problems.
This first part is a personal and a family history, and a history of the Spanish civil war, by a man endowed with a unique talent. He is able -on the basis of brief encounters (interviews, sometimes observations with only a few words exchanged) -to assess persons, know them better than they know themselves and put his findings on paper, in report form. It is a very rare gift and his talent is turned into employment by a shady agency in London, after his marriage in Madrid breaks up. The agency and the history of his sponsors suggest he is hired to play a role in support of post-Cold War intelligence work. After all, he lived in the UK before he married, lecturing in Oxford, building a network of friends. Interesting!
However, Javier Marias (JM)is his own writer, full of ideas and ambitions beyond a simple spy novel. The way the novel is written has led one reviewer to give up reading well before reaching the half-way point. Why? Most pages are solid blocks of text, indentations are few, white lines absent. Fortunately, the chapters are fairly short. Real dialogues are rare. Usually, one character answers a question and holds forth for pages on end. Such essay-type statements are frequently interrupted by page-long musings by the hero himself, and then the lecturing continues. Is it a book written for women rather than men?
But it is also on occasion a warm, passionate book because of the personal ingredients.
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Format: Paperback
This book appears to be of the "love it or hate it" variety judging from the other reviews. Personally I loved it, and very soon became utterly addicted. I was originally drawn to the series because of the basic premise (and the intriguing title,) and I would probably have settled for a thriller/spy novel along those lines but this is so much more. I found the elliptical style endlessly engaging and the discussions concerning life and relationships, history and observation, thoroughly rewarding. With this in mind, the book could have easily become a sterile intellectual study by someone with their eye on a literary prize but what did surprise me was how very moving it was at times. Marias has an honest and insightful grasp of the often painful nature of life and relationships, and I feel that many readers might identify with some of the 'baggage' of the protagonist. I've just ordered part two and am recommending this to any of my acquaintances who will listen.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thought for the first 20 or so pages that I might not complete this book. The sentences are very complex, and it takes some getting used to. When I appreciated that it is a novel to be enjoyed more slowly, not a simple page-turning time killer, then I started to enjoy it. Before I was halfway through I was completely gripped, and the episode when the narrator spends most of a night researching in a library is an thrilling as any other novel I've read. It is a truly magnificent book. It has stayed with me long after I've finished it. I am holding back the pleasure of starting the second volume, which I am really looking forward to, while I fully absorb everything from the first.
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Format: Paperback
I first heard about the second book in this three part series through a friend whose opinion I trusted. I thought that I should start with the first in the series, Your Face Tomorrow series, Fear and Spear.

It's centred around Jacques Deza, an ex-teacher, broadcaster, and academic who is on the run from a failed marriage and family in Madrid. Jacques is talent spotted by a retired Oxford Don for his unusual talent, for he has the ability to see certain traits in people. From their appearance, mannerisms, from their subtle actions he can see people and understand them; understand them better than they can understand themselves. He is introduced to the mysterious Tupra who puts him to work in interpreting certain individuals - spies, revolutionaries, bad debtors - and in finding out what they will become in the future.

There's no denying it's a useful tool, for what is the novelist doing but interpreting the actions of others? Analysing their feelings and emotions: trying to get to their very core. And this book is well written, translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa.

After reading my lukewarm praise the attentive reader is undoubtedly waiting for some sort of qualifier, a but or however. And it's difficult to know where to start because from a very promising opening, full of insight and wit and intrigue, I began to feel the book fall apart in my hands. What started off as sharp observation and shrewd interpretation slowly descended into a tone of over intellectualisation and didacticism. In one particular extract Deza is reading of the Spanish civil war after a dinner party in the Don's house. On a trip to an upstairs library he stumbles across a bloodstain.
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