Incredible In freakin credible This is one of those titles you want to recommend to everyone but you know damned well that it isn t oing to be everyone s cup of tea one of those novels that folds up on itself into something origami like a piece of paper manipulated into a work of art something like this even if your own look like this my paper birds have wings that flapWhy do you read Why do you read what you read When you pick up a novel for the first time do you think this looks Ratscalibur good and wonder how it will end or do you look over the book and consider how the story might be told how the author might attempt to engage you andor might the author have something to say beyond the story itself Are you a reader who wants and expects entertainment or are you a reader whose expectations demand engagement of a sort that you know doesn t appeal to all readers If you re one of the readers who expect than story than aripping page turner someone who wants to be spoken to and not just entertained you just might like Javier Mar as He s a demanding author his expectations of readers are The Million Dollar Goal (The Million Dollar Series, great His willingness to let a narrator s thoughts wander in seemingly aimless and endless directions and to subjects that may or may not seem to speak to the story itself will slam covers closed for many readers If you find Saramago or Bola o or Henry James or Melville too long too wordy too boring like this review Mar as might be an author best avoided one left to the die hards the critics the snobs and the award committees His paragraphs mighto on for pages while his sentences can feel almost as long He expects much of his readers but the payoff is worth the time and effortIn TITBTOM the narrator a perhaps unreliable narrator aren t almost all first person narrators unreliable recounts the night he spent with a married woman as they have dinner and anticipate making love once her small child finally falls asleep but her physical distress escalates or degenerates culminating in her death while her young son witnesses his partially dressed mother and the narrator in his parents bedroom and the narrator considers what might be happening in other parts of the city and world before returning the child to his bed removing all traces of his having been in the dead woman s apartment considering voices on the woman s answering machine attempting to provide for the child before abandoning the apartment and then later attempting to learn the fate of the child the identities of the callers and if his presence in the apartment has been detected a longwinded sentence not uncharacteristic of the text of the novel though much less compelling or artful Check out Chris much better review synopsis here TITBTOM is than a story of an untimely death than a story about how that death affects other characters it s as much about how what we don t know affects us as much as what we do know and how the dead live on the narrator considers the link between himself and the dead motherPerhaps the link was merely that a kind of enchantment or haunting which when you think about it is just another name for the curse of memory for the fact that events and people recur and reappear indefinitely and never entirely The Selected Poems go away they may never completely leave or abandon us and after a certain point they live in or inhabit our minds awake and asleep they lodge there for lack of anywhere comfortable struggling against their own dissolution and waiting to find embodiment in the one thing left or infinite resonance of what they once did or of one particular event infinite but increasingly weary and tenuous I had become that connecting thread The story is haunting It builds slowly making connections between characters and memories tightening a circle that reads like the d nouement of a mystery Readers too are haunted by the memories of the narrator so thoroughly are we privy to his every thought The narrator can be compassionate in protecting the secrets of living and the dead he can also be humorous I was drunk but that s no excuse you can be drunk in as many different ways as you can be sober TITBTOM isn t a long book but it s slowoing dense it s a novel that is exhaustive without being exhausting This is one for the few those willing to work for their reward I ve never been one for publisher loyalty but I m batting close to 1000 with NDP He must have thought his luck was in they arranged to meet around her place she had a two year old son who was hopefully now off in the land of dreams just the two of them alone in her
bedroom the muted TV is playing an old black and white the muted TV is playing an old black and white with subtitles after a few A Shark Never Sleeps: Wheeling and Dealing with the NFL's Most Ruthless Agent glasses of wine to soften the mood he is hopeful one thing will lead to anotherearing up for the moment passion takes hold he wants her The last thing he expected was for her to die suddenly at that very moment A second ago she was in the land of the living but now My Jihad: The True Story of An American Mujahid's Amazing Journey from Usama Bin Laden's Training Camps to Counterterrorism with the FBI and CIA gone departed in a flash what does he do it s not an everyday occurrence one would be caught in a strange situation like this He barely knows her she has a husband away in London in a panic does he call and what about the boy asleep in the next room could he simply just vanish into the dead of night without a trace leaving all the difficulties to the person who would discovery the body As far as her family is concerned she died alone But there are lose ends Decisions decisions decisionsNo one ever expects that they might someday find themselves with a dead woman in their armsCoetzee and Rushdie are fans so was the late WG Sebald and I myself think Mar as is one of the finest contemporary writers of his time and it comes as no surprise to me he kicks off this intriguing and deep psychodrama of sexuilt and family #ties with the preliminaries of sex something he seductively covers well in other #with the preliminaries of sex something he seductively covers well in other It is an intellectually stimulating affair set in Madrid with psychological insights into how death firmly rapples with the living Mar as has a habit of characterising long rambling sentences that sometimes drift and divert away from the main story woven together to form cascading pages long paragraphs that I could image driving certain readers nuts This was my forth Mar as and probably the one I say is least accessible to any newbies unless of course you don t mind being thrown into the deep end with his work For all it s frustrations it was just so darn tantalizing to read He thoroughly held my attention even in the places that to a degree pissed me offAfter the initial unexpected setback of witnessing death the narrator Victor a hostwriter obsessively tries to find out about his date Marta the deceased and her husband and family before slowly revealing to the woman s sister and father what happened that night But this is not a conventional story there are side plots on aspects of identity concerning Victor a meeting with the King of Spain a flashback to a sexual encounter he had with a prostitute the King of Spain a flashback to a sexual encounter he had with a prostitute his estranged wife than two years earlier this does though help to truly Nine Ghosts get inside Victor s shoes and what he is all about This is a novel for some where not a lot really happens and what does happens at alacial pace that may put off the casual reader That is because so many small actions and estures however brief long winded conversations and even internal thought processes are meticulously analyzed under the Microscope There are also some unlikable self centred characters within but hey isn t that the real world Marias does though achieve the sort of tension and suspense that could be classed as Hitchcockesue albeit on a deeper psychological level The tone of the book was the thing that surprised me the most It s not as dark as it sounds at times unsettling yes but on occasions an Almodovar style wry humour bubbles to the surface Many of the scenes are prolonged but you feel with a purpose eventually bringing clarity to his dreamlike puzzle as it draws. No one ever suspects begins Tomorrow in the Battle Think On Me that they might one day find themselves with a dead woman in their arms Marta has just met Victor when she invites him to dinner at her Madrid apartment while her husband is away on business When her two year old son finally falls asleep Marta an.
Javier Marías ´ 8 charactersK his head Then that would explain it I would like my money returned Can t do But I no longer have a book that I bought here Explain yourselfOK It begins with a dead woman in the narrator s arms He will remember her name but never see her face again I m hooked The three hundred and eleven pages solid in my hands It read fastBut you were disappointedNo you re not understanding He was a reat storyteller craftsman He planted images situations thoughts throughout tightening the narrative creating unuestioned believability There was a voice It was a voice of intense inner reflection but never interrupted the flow The suspense kept me reading through two nightsYou want your money back because you didn t sleep I have boring books for youNo The plot was intricate perfectly balanced pitched At times the voice even evolved into hard boiled crime noir in breaks from this fascinating inner life of self reflections I bought a suspense novel It was what I needed But set in this noir form was the highest philosophical thinking on the nature of reality on identityToo difficultNot at all He mixed speculation with dramatization of everyday life It isn t as though this crime story of everyday detail is شرح جامع مثنوى معنوى greatness likeVirgilorI sold it to you asreatnessNo yes you did You said it was what set him apart That within this non elevated non classical literature form he spoke both to modern times and the universal You said that it wasn t some masterful trick of craft And He folded his armsOK There was The New Song: For the Sunday School, Societies of Christian Endeavor, and Other Religious Exercises (Classic Reprint) greatness The story evolved from its complex characters heartless surprisingly caring at times fascinating But he showed how our identities are cobbled together by distorting and selecting memories delusions If we canet others to mirror back this image of us we then can see ourselves how we need to see ourselves We select those who will provide this favor but they too are cobbled together and wanting to create themselves as a certain presentation According to him this is true of all the broadcasted world What we see on the news read in the papers is prepared rehearsed then proffered in distillations according to same favored planHe rose then sat down again I said thisI read it In the bookEverything is storiesHe shows that the teller of the story has the power and will tell it any way they want Then it will be the listener s to hold and make their own to tell to themselves and others The same story can never be told the same twice not even by the same person Our consciousness will be filled by the stories we tell ourselves and those told us by othersSo in the end it wasn t suspenseful enough and you want your money back Like the last Riding Hard guy It s notoing to happenI haven t eaten for for three daysI have no food here Didn t you see the signI can t eat I haven t finished reading the book yet I m just coming to the endI sure hope soNo I mean the end of the book I have to find out what happensSo why didn t you bring the damn book and finish reading itBecauseBecause the book I held in my hands was a storya story being tolda story cobbled together out of the consciousness of someone cobbled together Sorry Mr Marias It was a Arabian Challenge great story about the immutability of truth about writing and reading about life as if we lived on a forgotten planet and knowing this all history is our attempts to adapt and survive Everything Even this conversation After leaving me heart pounded and sweat ridden the book dispersed into nothing Can t you see I am holding nothing At least I think it is me holding it I looked up He wasone It is unbearable that people we know should suddenly be relegated to the past Death is inevitable From the very first page of Javier Mar as flawlessly executed novel Tomorrow In the Battle Think On Me death becomes a constant companion to the reader always Tomorrow in the battle think on me And fall thy edgeless sword Despair and die William Shakespeare Richard IIIThe main character becomes an involuntary witness of death in the very unusual circumstances And the image of death starts haunting him Death and fear And the fear of deathAnd at the cemetery in the epitaph on a tombstone he meets the impersonation of death None that speak of
Me Know Me Andknow me and they do speak they slander me those who know me keep silent and in their silence do not defend me thus all speak ill of me until they meet me but when they meet me they find rest and they bring me salvation for I never rest One dies and one carries mysteries of one s life away forever But the secrets that surrounded one s life still remain And others might try to find them One can endeavour to choose one s destiny but one can t choose one s doom And the vicissitudes of life and death are all around running across the road and keeping as far from the kerb as possible seeking shelter under eaves and in shop doorways and in the entrance to the metro as had their forebears wearing hats and longer skirts when they ran to find shelter from the bombing during the long siege clutching their hats and with skirts flying according to photos and documentaries I ve seen about the Civil War some of those who ran to avoid being killed are still alive whilst others born later are deadThe living inter the dead and mourn their death but life in the world of the living continues despite anything Everything is travelling towards its own dissolution and is lost and few things leave any trace especially if they are never repeated if they happen only once and never recur the same happens with those things that install This novel blew me away and I m still working to fit my pieces together I ot lost into Mar as winding train of thoughts and I m still trying to find my #Way Back To Reality What #back to reality What it that I liked so much about this novel Well everything the plot the subtle humor the flow of words the ideas the profound pondering I found and lost myself at the same time and I really can t explain this if you haven t done it yet you should read the novel and see for yourselfMar as talks about death about memory about uilt about the power of names He also talks about the life of a story prone to be transformed with every additional mouth that will pass it on The plot of Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me is merely an
excuse for the writer to travel down the meditative path to reach depthsfor the writer to travel down the meditative path to reach depths thought that left me wondering and made me feel exalted So many truths that I haven t thought of before so many approaches that now seem obvious He made me look at my possessions and ask myself do these objects hold any interest to other people or is it just me who justifies their existence and utility And do I really need all these things around meThere s death in this novel unexpected and ludicrous as in dying in your socks or at the barber s still wearing a voluminous smock or in a whorehouse or at the dentist s or dying in the middle of shaving with one cheek still covered in foam half shaven for all eternity unless someone notices and finishes the job off out of aesthetic pity Through Mar as it suddenly becomes easier Marvellous Loved the serpentine sentences with their astonishing thought within thought near metaphysical poetic lilt preference for the cosy comma over the sloppy semicolon their use of not oft seen things like reported speech and thought within parentheses or another character s dialogue repeated phrases dark back of time about six times and callback to earlier passages and uotations to elevate the plot matter to something loftier than the obvious Mike is right Mar as aside from being Spain s premier James Belushi impersonator is an origamist But where is that elusive fifth star ye cry Despite my love for these sentences not every one was lusciously lickingly lovely plenty felt like stylistic run ons not unlike Hubert Selby deploying his punctuationless style merely as a formality in later books like The Willow Tree and left this asthmatic reade. And the unknowing Victor plunges into dark waters And Javier Marías Europe's master of secrets of what lies reveal and truth may conceal is on sure Der Verlorene Koffer: A Graded Reader for Beginning Students ground in this profound uirky and marvelous novel Brilliantly imagined and hugely intricate as La Vanguardia noted it is a novel one reads with enormous pleasu. To a close where Marias shows the dead struggling against their own dissolution and seeking embodiment in the one thing that remains to them if they are to preserve their validity and maintain contact the repetition or infinite reverberation of what they once did or what happened one day Never straightforward but always dazzling with a compelling intelligence this is a novel where the human condition and sexual temptation is masterfully studied unveiling complexities in his characters that is one of hisreat strengths as a writer Here he excels Anyone looking for a lazy read or simple plot forget it this reuires patience and concentration that if read properly pays off big time I just love his style bravo Javier He won t please everybody but then who does I don t propose to talk about the details of the plot of Javier Marias thought provoking piece of writing but instead I will simply describe my experience of reading this Richard the III style monologue because that is what this book is a long speech by the narrator Victor in a calm unvarying tone a speech that states uite clearly that he is aware that his story is sometimes bizarre and frightening and that we may find it unbelievable in fact he says I am the person doing the telling and people can either choose to listen to me or not so he is not setting himself up as someone reliable irreproachable uite the contrary in fact and I was freuently repulsed by Victor s actions but nevertheless little by little I began to warm to Victor I began to trust him in spite of the ever mounting catalogue of odd behaviours including his daydreams of strangling women with his long strong fingers his obsession with the links that exist between men who have slept with the same women and his propensity for spying on women in the street and yes this miracle of trust that I experienced is entirely due to Victor s superb ability to manipulate words to seduce the reader with his intriguing reflections on memory and death and so I scarcely blinked as he whom they should have despised ILLERAMMA Kathalu gradually insinuated himself softly and silently into the very heart of the family of the woman who died in his presence in the early pages Victor the victorThere is just one little plot niggle I can t resist mentioning would anyone leave a message on the answering machine of hisher lover knowing that the lover s partner might also access it In this story not one but three lovers make this mistake The Strange Workings of TimeThe act of telling a story takes up time it prolongs time and in doing so prolongs lifeIt preserves memories while we are alive but it can also preserve them beyond our death Paradoxically story telling might even help us to accept death As Marias protagonist Victor says I can tell the story and I can therefore explain the transition from life to death which is a way of both prolonging that life and accepting that deathExpecting to ReignVictor s story starts with an unconsummated infidelity and the unexplained but natural death of his new paramour MartaMarias and Victoret the death out of the way in the very first sentence No one ever expects that they might some day find themselves with a dead woman in their arms a woman whose face they will never see again but whose name they will rememberA life has to be extinguished so that the story may commence Man Ray Natasha 1930Committed to MemoryProust and Joyce have likewise been concerned with the nature of memory and its ability to preserve both time and place in minute detailHowever so than them I feel Marias is also interested in what happens to the memories of someone after they dieJust as Marta dies in Victor s arms he wants to find out what really happened that night and whyHe tries to keep her memory alive by investigating her deathSo he starts to tell a story a metaphysical detective story He wants to flesh out his few memories of Marta detail by detail clue by clue and we watch him fascinated as he pieces it all togetherTowards Our Own DissolutionMarias offers us a mental snapshot of Marta at the point of deathWe hear her plead Don t leave meHold me hold me please hold me as she lies foetus like half naked and vulnerable on the bed Then she exclaims Oh God the child thinking of someone else her two year old son at the #very endSoon Victor discovers that Marta s husband is on his trail and the progress of the #endSoon Victor discovers that Marta s husband is on his trail and the progress of the concerns how their two stories come together in a slow build denouementThe novel flows towards this end in the same almost stream of consciousness manner that the narrative of Virginia Woolf s Mrs Dalloway moves inexorably to its conclusionAs time American Literature Student Text goes by we move unwittingly closer to some sort of understanding some knowledge completion closure just as in life we move towards our own death In Marias words We slowly travel towards our own dissolution our own end the end of our memories and storiesHow Little Trace RemainsTime itself has no interest in memories Memories are passengers a burden to it They re not the mainame Life is a seuence of actions and thoughts Once each of them happens or occurs they are in time s eyes spent one How little trace remains of anythingJust as we have to make an effort to keep love alive we have to make an effort to keep memories aliveThe Passage of TimeTime just wants to move forward openly in the light its own source of light sometimes visible sometimes invisibleWhat has
occurred in the past is of no conseuence to time its oal is the future which it etsin the past is of no conseuence to time its oal is the future which it E.E. Cummings: The Art of His Poetry gets via the presentTime has neither aoal nor a purpose nor even a direction other than the movement forward ahead which is really no than a measure of the elapse of time the passage of timeSo perhaps time is nothing really Time is nothing in reality It has no value it is worthless All time is uselessDarkness and LightMarias suggests that there are two sides to time The light and the darkThe light is time itself The darkness the reverse side of time the absence of light is what we humans bring to it what we make of it the shadows that are created as time shines on and around usIt takes us to impose utility on time to make it useful and one of the ways we do so is memoryMemories are Made of ThisMemory is a conscious act We memorise things in order to preserve them I will try to remember on the reverse side of time along which you are already travellingLiterature is a record of other people s memories both fictitious and realWe read so that we can experience and preserve these memories perhaps so that we can enjoy them vicariously so that we can experiment and explore and learn without scope for personal error or embarrassmentLikewise a photo captures a person s soul at a particular time which soon recedes into the past but the photo remainsWhat we remember what we memorise is the things we think and do And what we think and do revolves around our desiresMan Ray Femme Endormie or Sleeping Woman 1932 Seeking and WantingMarias explores how we seek and want in our lives We pursue pleasure We eschew pain We chase others and occasionally catch them We present ourselves as the answer to their desires Tell me what would be best for youIt s implicit in this command or plea or reuest that we might be able to provide what is best for the otherPerhaps we do so in order to experience a moment or of unreality of fantasy of enchantmentWe put enormous energy into our desires our seeking and our wanting
They exhaust us they haunt us they make us weary We spend our lives oscillating betweenexhaust us they haunt us they make us weary We spend our lives oscillating between and desireA Ridiculous DisasterFreuently we become the victim of our own desires and perhaps the desires of othersMarias doesn t This book no longer existsI told this to the owner of the bookstore it was of course empty You are the second person to complain The first was much younger than you More my age You have not read the book I asked as he sat at the edge of a table mostly emptied He shoo. D Victor retreat to the bedroom Undressing she suddenly feels ill; and in his arms inexplicably she diesWhat should Victor do Remove the compromising tape from the phone machine Leave food for the child for breakfast These are just his first steps but he soon takes matters further; unable to bear the shadows.