Dark Back of Time

Front Cover
New Directions Publishing, 2001 - Fiction - 336 pages
2 Reviews
Javier Marias' s singular new production Dark Back of Time begins with the tale of the odd effects of publishing All Souls, his 1989 Oxford novel. All Souls, narrated by a visiting Spanish lecturer, is a book he swears to be fiction, but which its "characters" -- the real-life dons and professors and bookshop owners who have "recognized" "themselves" -- fiercely maintain to be a roman a clef. They claim certain roles for their own, and for others: the narrator's invented mistress has been firmly identified as one of the professors' wives. Marias views with astonishment a world that seemed nearly asleep set into fretful motion by a world that never "existed". Yet this backwash of All Souls only begins an odyssey into the nature of identity ("We do not know anyone entirely, not even ourselves"), and of time ("which is not yet past nor lost and maybe isn't even time at all"). With the flair of Sterne, his "false" novel manipulates time, weaving in autobiography, a legendary kingdom, strange ghostly literary figures, halls of mirrors, a one-eyed WWI veteran, a curse in Havana and a bullet lost in Mexico. Dark Back of Time becomes a brilliant ironic puzzle about the powers of art and of memories, which become only more mysterious the more Marias remembers.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - MSarki - LibraryThing

Undoubtedly a five-star book but the fact that I only "really liked it" is due to all the historical references that bogged down for me, especially near the end. And that is no fault of the writer, it ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - stillatim - LibraryThing

Am I burning out on Marias? I hope not; 'The Infatuations' should be in my hands the day it comes out. But I found this much less gripping than his other works, for two connected reasons, that have a ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
7
Section 2
12
Section 3
23
Section 4
31
Section 5
47
Section 6
63
Section 7
76
Section 8
90
Section 14
179
Section 15
208
Section 16
227
Section 17
234
Section 18
240
Section 19
247
Section 20
266
Section 21
274

Section 9
118
Section 10
124
Section 11
142
Section 12
157
Section 13
171
Section 22
277
Section 23
286
Section 24
288
Section 25
322
Copyright

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About the author (2001)

Javier Marias is an award-winning Spanish novelist. He is also a translator and columnist, as well as the current king of Redonda. He was born in Madrid in 1951 and published his first novel at the age of nineteen. He has held academic posts in Spain, the US (he was a visiting professor at Wellesley College) and Britain, as a lecturer in Spanish Literature at Oxford University. He has been translated into 34 languages, and more than six million copies of his books have been sold worldwide. In 1997 he won the Nelly Sachs Award; the Comunidad de Madrid award in 1998; in 2000 the Grinzane Cavour Award, the Alberto Moravia Prize, and the Dublin IMPAC Award. He also won the Spanish National Translation Award in 1979 for his translation of Tristram Shandy in 1979. He was a professor at Oxford University and the Complutense of Madrid. He currently lives in Madrid.

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