This book provides the most comprehensive study to date of the full range of Marías' writing, including discussion and analysis of his literary and intellectual formation, his development as a novelist and short story writer, and his unique perspective offered in nearly twenty-five years of newspaper columns on topics ranging from religion to football. Above all, Marías is examined as a writer of fictions. As a translator of several canonical works from English to Spanish, Marías came to appreciate the preciseness of words as well as their ambiguity, their capacity to represent as well as their propensity to distort. The author examines Marías's constant awareness of how language can be used to construct stories as the foundation for engaging the world as well as for imagining it. The nature of Marías's storytelling, and the way in which he imagines, form the principal focus of this Companion.
David K Herzberger —
David K. Herzberger is Professor and Chair of the Department of Hispanic Studies at the University of California, Riverside.
Herzberger, David K. A companion to Javier Marías. Tamesis, 2011. 244p bibl index (Colección Támesis. Serie A: monografías, 297); ISBN 9781855662308. Reviewed in 2012mar CHOICE.
Born in 1951 in Madrid, Marías is among Spain's best-known writers. He is the son of the distinguished philosopher Julián Marías, who was imprisoned for a time under the Franco regime. An exceptionally prolific novelist and sociopolitical columnist, Javier Marías takes pride in wearing the two hats. His vigor as a polemicist shows through in both areas, for he is critical not only of society's flaws but also of what he sees as Spanish narrative's obsession with social realism. There is a type of paradox in Marías's trajectory: the blend of a very Spanish character, however problematic that may be to define, and a literary affinity that links him more conspicuously to writers in Great Britain and the US. Herzberger (Hispanic studies, Univ. of California, Riverside) guides the reader with considerable skill through Marías's novels. He marks transitions, subtle and not so subtle, in the narrative production. In one chapter, for example, he uses two novels from the early 1990s to show striking intertextual connections with Shakespeare. Herzberger concludes with a commentary on the nonfiction writings. This is a superb "companion" to Marías.
Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty. -- E. H. Friedman, Vanderbilt University