Kindle Edition Í Los enamoramientos MOBI Ò


Los enamoramientos From the award winning Spanish writer Javier Marías comes an extraordinary new book that has been a literary sensation around the world an immersive provocative novel propelled by a seemingly random murder that we come to understand—or do we—through one woman’s ever unfurling imagination and infatuations At the Madrid café where she stops for breakfast each day before work María Dolz finds herself drawn to a couple who is also there every morning Though she can hardly explain it observing what she imagines to be their “unblemished” life lifts her out of the doldrums of her own existence But what begins as mere observation turns into an increasingly complicated entanglement when the man is fatally stabbed in the street María approaches the widow to offer her condolences and at the couple’s home she meets—and falls in love with—another man who sheds disturbing new light on the crime As María recounts this story we are given a murder mystery brilliantly reimagined as metaphysical enuiry a novel that grapples with uestions of love and death guilt and obsession chance and coincidence how we are haunted by our losses and above all the slippery essence of the truth and how it is toldThis ebook edition includes a reading group guide  I had such high hopes for this The reviews have been glowing Everyone seemed to be talking about it And I've been trying to read translations At first the premise and subject matter seemed promising and the first few extended conversations were uite interestingBut then Blah blah blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah The talking and talking and talking and then thinking internal talking and talking and talking Please I'm drowning in the middle of sentences that are paragraphs long And paragraphs that seem to reach to infinity And then by the time something did actually happen I didn't care any About anyone or anything in the book I kept going feeling that I'd already invested too much time and brainpower to uit but it was a slog If I had to do it over I would have abandoned it at 100 pages Blah A young woman 30 ish works in a publishing house in Madrid She has coffee every morning and for several years overhears conversations of a couple with their two young children who freuent the same café They never interact but she thinks of them as “the perfect couple” She doesn’t know it yet but they notice her too and call her “the prudent young woman” One day she sees in the newspaper that the married man was murdered by a crazy knife wielding homeless man Sometime later she sees the widow by herself and goes up to her and offers condolences and eventually meets her at her home At the widow’s home she meets a friend of the family and gets romantically involved with him This is where the real story starts She learns that there’s a lot to the murder Her world is rocked and what she comes to know creates a number of moral dilemmas for her It’s a story of love death fate memory guilt obsession chance and coincidence It’s a study too of a woman going through the stages of griefMarias may be the best contemporary author from Spain I phrase it that way to distinguish between writers from Spain and Latin American Spanish authors I’ve read and reviewed two other works by Marias Written Lives and Dark Back of Time Some example of his writing and passages that I liked “Writers are for the most part strange individuals They get up in exactly the same state of mind as when they went to bed thinking about imaginary things which despite being purely imaginary take up most of their time” When one suffers a misfortune “the effects on the victim far outlast the patience of those prepared to listen and accompany her unconditional support never lasts very long once it has become tinged with monotony” “The only people who do not fail or let us down are those who are snatched from us the only ones we don’t drop are those who abruptly disappear and so have no time to cause us pain or disappointment” “there is nothing tempting than to surrender yourself to someone else even if only in your imagination and to make his problems your own and to submerge yourself in his existence which because it is not yours seems easier to bear” Despite the heavy theme Marias writes with humorOf a group of writers she takes to dinner on business “most of the guests looked strangely like flamenco artistes and my main fear was that they might whip out their guitars from some strange hiding place and start singing loudly between courses”His upper lip became caught on his gums and “he made some rather strange rodent like movements with his lips”“he was wearing an argyle sweater the kind of glasses a rapist or a maniac might wear”This is prescient written in 2011 long before any recent elections “the greatest imbecile and the greatest rogue may gain a landslide victory from a population mesmerized by baseness or perhaps driven by a suicidal desire to be deceived” Marias gives us some local color of Madrid and scatters references to works by Balzac and Dumas This is well written and very literary I’m giving it a 5 and adding it to my favorites Photo of cafe in Madrid from wheretravelercomPhoto of the author from newstatesmancom I was moving this week so I'm farther away from this than I wanted to be when I wrote this but I can assure you that the strongest of my impressions have lasted enough to give you the gist of why I was so disappointed in thisMy major issue is overall that this is the sort of book that gives literary fiction a bad name This is exactly the sort of thing that is the basis for pretension puncturing parodies with melodramatic lighting and unnecessarily florid language that people point to when you ask them why they don't want to read This is that book where people sit around in half lit rooms and have silent weirdly distant sex in between pontificating to each other unbearably about philosophy Moreover it is the sort of dated philosophy where women still have lives that artfully revolve around men and men have the sort of Freudian idea driven obsessions that were fashionable to write about in the middle of the last century The sort surrounded by cigarettes and brandy and intense gazes and five o'clock shadows You know what I meanYou know that's it That's what bothers me This book seems like such a pose Sure there are a few things in here that rang true I've had some thoughts in here almost verbatim that he writes down But they are so banal it's like going to a fortune teller and being totally amazed when she tells you that she can feel that you had trouble in your adolescence or made some bad choices with alcohol in college So I don't know how much credit you can give it for that It all felt like such a sham like a set that Marias threw down that he felt was appropriate for some things he thought he wanted to sayI mean the thoughts he expressed went from banal to disturbing eventually but that was okay because there was no suspense involved The narrator guessed everything involved with the turn to the disturbing long before it came true and seriously everything she guessed about a situation she knew nothing about involving people she knew nothing about was correct And if she didn't guess it don't worry it was condescendingly described to her in detail later In case you needed help still no worries again if the author thought the point was particularly important or just had a nice ring to it you can be sure that it will be repeated both verbatim and paraphrased just so we Get It As for the characters I didn't care for anyone involved except for the monumentally screwed over Luisa who doesn't get enough screen time for me to form the connection I wanted with her The others are unremarkable monsters or overdone archetypes The narrator was especially tiresome So many of the emotional edges are blunted by the subdued manner of expression taken on here The whole story is made into an almost theoretical discussion like it is a parlor game that is happening to somebody else I use almost advisedly because of course it is not and that is supposed to be part of the disturbing thing about it But it wasn't Marias was so much interested in writing pages of rambling discourse about his ideas about the way the people experience grief loss and obsession that he made his characters mouthpieces rather than people If you stepped back and away from the substance of their discourse the defining characteristic of the narrator is passive aggression and timidity The defining characteristic of the villain is sadly misguided self delusion The major secondary character is simply a self aggrandizing fool of a stereotype They are mere chess pieces placed at a certain vantage point and then given the thoughts that are most appropriate for them divided up among them And many of those thoughts do not sound natural to the characters if they were actual people Luckily they are not They are statues experiencing a Major Life Moment that Marias has Thoughts on who speak for him in an omniscient narrator voice that sounds the same no matter who is speakingHe might just as well have written a short essay On Grief and Obsession and been done with it The plot was close enough to a ripped from the headlines sort of thing that he could have done this as an examination of the motives of a real person Did he need the cover of fiction so that the thoughts couldn't be mistaken for his own? Even though obviously if they have occurred to him they are? That's a weird sort of thought policing Maybe it's a sin of the genre boxing thing we do with authors if you're famous as a novelist then you should only write novels that is the only structure through which you can express your thoughts and have people be interested in buying them So you bend and twist the thing you really want to do into the novel form however ill it fits Maybe that's what was going on here I wonder if some of the pseudo intellectual banal thoughts would have seem fresh if they were examined in a True Crime sort of spirit There were certainly some unsympathetic but I would imagine fairly common thoughts about what happens to the memory of people after they die as well as the thought process of people who want something so badly they are willing to justify it however they can It's interesting that in order to express them he put them in the mouth of a sociopathic monster and a person out of her mind with grief so she can't be held responsible for what she's saying again it feels like he was disclaiming responsibility for unattractive thoughts I don't think you can really argue that he was doing careful character building not with what he spent the majority of his page allocation on So that must be it? What other excuse is there for a character focused novel with a mission statement at the top of it basically declaring that it is a character study to be so poor at building characters?I am trying to be generous here in my thoughts about his motives or what went wrong Too many people have told me too many excellent things about him for him to really write like this all the time I have already been told that he has at least two books that are better than this Can anyone back that up for me? It would be a shame if this was really the best he had to offer Does he write like this all the time? Please say no A murderer nothing Truth is not always an easy thing to come by Any event that occurs reaches our ears and eyes from a vast assortment of new media eyewitnesses and other second hand accounts each with their own uniue perspectives and agendas that all encode the same message into infinitely variable packages of information We all become amateur detectives sifting through the various accounts to decipher what we choose to believe and thus creating our own uniue perspectives of an event that we will inevitably pass along through our interactions and conversations with others Javier Marías’ 2013 novel Los Enamoramientos—re dressed as The Infatuations to best accommodate the English language—is an incredible exploration of the detective work we all must undergo when attempting to deduct any semblance of truth about even the most seemingly common of tragedies that cross our paths What is truly astounding is Marías' ability to create a novel with the exciting two faced dealings and baffling plot twists typically found in fast action blood soaked thrillers out of a collaboration of scenes mainly comprised of late night dialogues over a glass of wine in a uiet living room Through a re examination of Marías' standard themes of mortality and language The Infatuations explores with prodigious depth the effects of death on the surrounding survivors lives as well as the labyrinthine complexities of trying to understand material reality through the fallible and distorted words of othersIrreversible unpredictable death casts its grim shadow across every page of the novel Maria the young female narrator working for a modern publishing house learns that the husband of a loving and attractive couple whom she has studied and admired from afar for years during her daily breakfast at a Madrid café has been brutally stabbed to death by a homeless man in a vacant street beneath the indifferent night sky The reader follows Maria as the lives of the friends and family to the deceased Miguel enfolding around her while she plunges inwards towards the murder each bestowing upon her their uniue attitudes regarding death Through the widow we see experience the loneliness and the shock of having an essential extension of their livelihoods stricken from existence while through Javier—the deceased’s closest friend—we are treated to a seemingly calloused yet realistic perspective that those left alive must soldier forth and not bemoan past sorrows that inevitably shape us into the person we are at present We mourn our father for example but we are left with a legacy his house his money and his worldly goods which we would have to give back to him were he to return which would put us in a very awkward position and cause us great distress We might mourn a wife or a husband but sometimes we discover although this may take a while that we live happily and comfortably without them or if we are not too advanced in years that we can begin anew with the whole of humanity at our disposal as it was when we were young; the possibility of choosing without making the old mistakes; the relief of not having to put up with certain annoying habits because there is always something that annoys us about the person who is always there at our side or in front or behind or ahead because marriage surrounds and encircles We mourn a great writer or a great artist when he or she dies but there is a certain joy to be had from knowing that the world has become a little vulgar and a little poorer and that our own vulgarity and poverty will thus be better hidden or disguised; that he or she is no longer there to underline our own relative mediocrity; that talent in general has taken another step towards disappearing from the face of the earth or slipping further back into the past from which it should never emerge where it should remain imprisoned so as not to affront us except perhaps retrospectively which is less wounding and bearable I am speaking of the majority of course not everyone While we mourn the lives that have been snuffed out Javier posits that we must look to the future the future left to those still retaining a pulse and make the best of what we have Our lives are a culmination of each event we experience and our lives are fragile and ephemeral we should not waste the opportunities we have before the great mystery of death closes it’s inevitable curtains on our story This viewpoint is initially jarring however as light is shed on the motives and character of Javier we see that the opinions one holds reflect those that are in the best interest of the beholder—we rationalize our reality to accommodate our actions What is aesthetically pleasing of this European edition of the novel is the thick black pages that precede and follow the novel as well as the black hardback which seem to reflect Javier’s presumed belief of death as being a void like eternity mirroring the time we spend before birth The novel itself then becomes the interactions of life between the bookends of eternityWhile we miss and long for those gone before us the return of a person thought deceased may not be the happy reunion we all would fantasize it to be Through a dissection of Balzac’s Le Colonel Chabert Javier expounds the disastrous implications of such a from the grave return to Maria The worst thing that can happen to anyone worse than death itself and the worst thing one can make others dois to return from the place from which no one returns to come back to life at the wrong time when you are no longer expected when it is too late and inappropriate when the living have assumed you are over and done with and have continued or taken up their lives again leaving no room for you at all Our deaths become just another event and life is made for moving on Maria also offers her own dissertation into the return of one thought dead reciting passages form The Three Musketeers when Athos’ fleur de lys adorned wife returns seemingly from the grave in which he thought he had put her as a sinful murderous villain aligned with the enemy We all play our part in the human comedy but sometimes when our role has been written out of the lives of others it is best to remain in the wings and not to reemerge for our return brining with it a heavy weight of former selves no longer has a place in their lives now altered and reshaped by the hands of time What is important to note is that these are truths held by the characters and for reasons held hidden in their hearts but offer glimpses into their true motivations Maria knows her affair with Javier has an expiration date and that his real aim is with Luisa the widow for why else would he preach the importance of putting the dead behind us? I would never know than what he told me and so I would never know anything for sure Language is central to any work of Marías and the plot is a convenient vessel in which he can explore the intricacies of words Jorge Luis Borges once said that ‘language is an artificial system which has nothing to do with reality’ ¹ Borges often examined the dualities of existence the universe of physical material and action and the universe of words the latter being the method in which we attempts to convey the former However language can only probe essence of physical reality can only build a model or imperfect mirror of it and can never accurately reconstruct reality aside from giving a cathartic experience With The Infatuations Marías explores such imperfections and their effect on our attempts to reach any sort of truth When someone speaks they encode their message their beliefs and intentions into words which are they decoded by the receiver Each party exists in their own realm of perspectives built from preconceived opinions agendas and experiences that must inevitably interact with their packaging and unpacking of any message refurbishing it to our particular and often subconscious needs Each message we receive shapes our opinions from framing a new idea in our mid reinforcing a previous belief to offering contradictory or supplemental information that will alter our previous opinions Marías delivers his novel in a method that takes the reader on a turbulent ride of altering opinions all filtered through the mind of the narrator Long ‘what if’ scenarios play out in her mind lengthy and engrossing enough for the reader to lower their guard and allow the information to shape their opinions and the opinions formed then meet with actual interactions of the character The preconceived notions constructed towards characters like Javier latch on to anything congruous and gives the reader a sense that they understand his motives and intentions However once new information accrues we must reassess what we know or think we know as the truth wiggles and suirms just beyond our outstretched fingertips Everything becomes a story and ends up drifting about in the same sphere and then it’s hard to differentiate between what really happened and what is pure invention Everything becomes a narrative and sounds fictitious even if it’s true As soon as we attempt to place material reality into words we create a story a uniue perspective on an event tainted by our words and opinions Even recounting mundane events forms a narrative of events that give a spin on reality Truth is an unobtainable purity like an asymptote it is something that we can reach for but never truly touch; the closest we can come to it through all our reshaping of opinions with each new version we encounter is simply our own perspective of truth which due to language can never fully be the ideal 'truth' of events Maria and the reader must uestion any new information that is told to them or heard in fragments through a closed bedroom door What becomes particularly perplexing is realizing that everything the reader receives only occurs through the mind of Maria and the reader must then not only run through the possible motives of those speaking to Maria but also assess the motives and perspectives of Maria herselfEl enamoramiento the state of falling or being in love or perhaps infatuation I’m referring to the noun the concept it’s very rare to have a weakness a genuine weakness for someone and for that someone to provoke in us that feeling of weakness That’s the determining factor they break down our objectivity and disarm us in perpetuity so that we can in over every dispute Who can be sure that any character is acting rationally speaking truthfully assessing any situation accurately when their eyes are clouded by infatuation? While a murder and the mystery of why it occurred is central to the plot the answers are superfluous; it is the examination of the attempt towards the answers the probing of truth that Marías parades in elouent speech and ponderous musings for the reader to satisfy themselves upon It is the deduction of each jigsaw piece the faith in our ability to read others the emotion of the chase and the game that shines in incredible glory from each page of the novel The reader is constantly met with discussions of perspectives and different ‘versions’ of truth from varying translations and editions of Don uixote contradictory eyewitness testimonies of Miguel’s murder to interesting artistic interpretations of Adam And EveAs in each Marías novel the narrator and those around them are compelled to spill their stories; there is an utter compulsion to speak and let their version of the truth be heard In Marías ‘ phenomenal novel Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me he highlights this desire to step out of the shadows and share what lurks within the dark recesses of the mind and heart They have merely been overcome or motivated by weariness and a desire to be whole by their inability to continue lying or keeping silent to go on remembering what they experienced and did as well as what they imagined to go on remembering their transformed or invented lives as well as those they actually lived to forget what really happened and to replace it with a fiction These truths or half truths are itching to come to life and once they are spoken they become the property of all those who have heard them free to be reshaped by perspectives and passed along through endless permutations of fact and fiction As Maria recounts her journey inward she tells of characters as they attempt to distance themselves from the murder However can putting versions of the truth between oneself and an event truly remove them from the violence? Does distancing oneself through chance remove responsibility? What is especially interesting to examine is that each opinion expressed is a reflection of the Teller Maria a character of Javier Marias often paints in broad strokes while describing the motives and inner workings of women This is initially troublesome especially as women are depicted as subservient beings that pine after men and hang on their every action giving the book a bit of a sexist taste However when remembering that these opinions belong to those of Maria a character that just so happens to be rather submissive and infatuated as best serves the nature of the novel it becomes understandable that she would assume that her feelings and actions are a generic representation of other women As expressed in Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me ‘ our idea of justice changes according to our needs and we always think that what we need is euivalent to what is just’ ² Maria’s opinions on women serve to support her own needs justifying her actions by believing that it is just the way people actWhile the journey is a bit rocky and certain aspects seem distasteful or cumbersome when they first occur this is a novel that rewards the patient as everything is eventually weaved together to form an impressively poignant final amalgamation of the individual parts Marías once again proves himself a master of language with fantastic flowing discussions of death and carefully crafted sentences that ensure their linguistic subtleties will survive the repacking of translation There are a few comical moments discussing authors and a few vitriolic stabs at pretentious contemporary writing trends that bring Marías’ own job as a translator at a publishing house to mind and wonder where his inspirations came from there are a few jabs seemingly directed at himself as well that are sure to bring a smile Despite having a slow burning story packed with philosophical reflections this novel is full of incredible twists and turns that will keep the reader feverishly flipping the pages This is a fantastic novel but is best suited to those who are already familiar with Javier Marías45‘ There’s nothing like sharing round the guilt if you want to emerge from a murky situation smelling of roses’¹ A translation of this clip The following discussion on Borges in this review relies heavily on ideas expressed in stories such as Tlön Ubar Orbis Tertius ² As well as re examining several themes from TitBToM fans of the author will be glad to see the return of Ruibérriz de Torres also spotlighted in Bad Nature or With Elvis in Mexico Marias seemingly makes Madrid his own Yoknapatawpha through his reoccurring characters and themes that bring the streets and underworld of his fictional Madrid to life and allow the reader repeat visitsI highly recommend reading Mike's who first introduced me to this wonderful author as well as Garima's fantastic reviews It was a pleasure reading and discussing this book together

  • Kindle Edition
  • 353 pages
  • Los enamoramientos
  • Javier Marías
  • English
  • 26 September 2014

About the Author: Javier Marías

Julián Marías who was briefly imprisoned and then banned from teaching for opposing Franco Parts of his childhood were spent in the United States where his father taught at various institutions including Yale University and Wellesley College His mother died when Javier was 26 years old He was educated at the Colegio Estudio in MadridMarías began writing in earnest at an early age The Life and Death of Marcelino Iturriaga one of the short stories in While the Women are Sleeping 2010 was written when he was just 14 He wrote his first novel Los dominios del lobo The Dominions of the Wolf at age 17 after running away to Paris Marías operates a small publishing house under the name of Reino de Redonda He also writes a weekly column in El País An English version of his column La Zona Fantasma is published in the monthly magazine The BelieverIn 1997 Marías won the Nelly Sachs Prize


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *