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3.4 out of 5 stars
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3.4 out of 5 stars
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on 19 January 2016
I hated this book. It reads as a slow-burn revenge novella but gathers little sympathy for its protagonist who whines from start to finish. I got through it by curiosity to see whether the author could wring some cathartis from his monotonous tale. He doesn't.
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on 6 November 2013
The book is as it says infatuations page after page of descriptive drivel repeating itself chapter on chapter the first two chapters on a waitress looking at a husband and wife customers and why she thought they were special TWO CHAPTERS!!
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on 15 August 2014
Javier Marías is a profoundly unique writer. Despite this he is frequently and deliberately derivative. His literature is a synthesis of Literature as a whole. The Infatuations is a remarkable novel because of the ambiguities it exposes and the understanding it demands from the reader. Reviewers who dismiss the 'unlikeable' characters dismiss the eternal January that is human nature. Two faces, two million motives. Well worth reading and smouldering over, cocktail in hand.
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on 7 December 2013
This is a slow and marvellous piece of writing. it was very therapeutic to read it. Favourite passages were descriptions of the couple at the beginning, the bereavement itself, how the children feel about their mother and vice versa and the narrrator's feelings about her love for her lover. Real and intimate.
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on 9 September 2014
An intelectual and well written book. VERY long sentences and not sure about some words used for translation. I didnt really get into the book till 3/4 of the way through but well worth the read. Not a light holiday book read.
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on 15 September 2014
When I started this book I found that I kept having to reread what I’d just read. I then noticed that a sentence went on for sixteen lines. Then soon after one sentence went on for two and a half pages!!! And that style continued throughout the book and made it impossible to keep track of what was written. This made it very difficult to know whether I was reading an actual conversation, or Maria’s thoughts about a conversation she has had, or her thoughts about a conversation she might have, or her thoughts about what someone else might have done, or her thoughts about what others might be thinking, or her thoughts about Balzac or Shakepeare etc. etc. If the previous sentence was in the book it would have meandered on for ages, contained about 22 commas and 5 semi-colons and by the time you got to the end of it you’d have forgotten what it was trying to say.

I was really looking forward to reading this book as it sounded intriguing, but the style made it unreadable.
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on 14 April 2013
I bought this in advance of Javiar Marias' talk at the Oxford Literary Festival and was horrified for the woman beside me to elbow me whilst ruining the ending. But as luck would have it, she was a big fat liar and hadn't read it at all as evidenced by the narrative twist. Javiar Marias is literary fiction at its best. Unfortunately there are instances of long meandering sentences where the character must think for 10 pages before doing a single action. But this is fine too. I'd read other books by him and was especially impressed with this tale because it takes you in directions you can't imagine even though all of the characters have postulated at length on possible outcomes and causal factors. Great. Really great.
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on 27 October 2013
I downloaded this book off the back of the guardians summer reading list recommendation. What a mistake! I normally love this kind of story in terms of the theme but this took me so long to get in to and even once I finally did it was not enjoyable. The book was focused too much on the musings "I imagine they would think this" "I think they would act like this" rather than letting us know exactly how the other characters were feeling/acting. The sentences too long and the whole thing just quite uninteresting.
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on 4 April 2013
I must have missed something - or it was lost in translation but I did not enjoy this book at all and had to resort to speed reading most of it. I found the endless philisophical wanderings frustrating and boring, the characters lacking credibility and the story far fetched in the extreme.
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on 25 January 2015
The mix of ratings for this glorious novel are extraordinary. In my personal view, Marias is the best writer by far in Europe today, But...... no question that he's not for everyone. His earlier novels such as 'A heart so white' and 'All Souls' are more approachable. The Infatuations, a discourse on themes common to all of humanity.......love, loss, loneliness, bereavement, the finality of death, grief, and revenge are woven into an apparently initial simple romantic story about a street murder involving a man in the wrong place at the wrong time, a man in a marriage initially perceived to be supremely happy and content but to which there are twists and turns as the book proceeds. Marias's style involves a lot of pondering, lengthy sentences and a lot of repetition which those who enjoy his work will say is absolutely valid whilst those with short attention spans will call 'going on a bit'. At the risk of sounding condescending, it may be that as with the very greatest of wines, this book should not be read until those who explore it have themselves experienced life and some of those themes mentioned above which are Marias's target. 'The Infatuations' is certainly Marias's Chateau Petrus, Rothschild or Vega Sicilia. Even if you dont read it immediately, buy it for later.
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