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Categorization is odious. There is tremendous overlap among genres. These pigeonholes are offered only as a convenience.

Javier Marias (1951 - )

added by dbw001


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dbw001 September 7th, 2006 11:26 AM PST

This book was recommended by Candida Mannozi, the owner of Candida's World of Books on 14th St NW in Washington, DC.

I had never heard of Marias, a Spanish author, but decided to give it a try after Candida described it as a cross between Proust and a spy novel.

My attention span has thus far prevented me from reading more than the first volume of "A la recherche du temps perdu", but I love Alan Furst and le Carre, so I thought the spy part might help keep me engaged.

Written in true Proustian stream-of-consciousness style, this novel could be exceedingly tedious if not for Marias's superb writing. He has a rare combination of wit, humor, insightfulness, surprises, and pacing that makes the book strangely absorbing.

The narrator is a Spanish ex-pat who has spent time lecturing at Oxford and now works for BBC. His wife back in Spain has kicked him out. He is approached elliptically and recruited (or at least he thinks he was recruited) by someone from the British intelligence services. Enough said to start you off...


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