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Bad Nature, or With Elvis in Mexico (New Directions Pearls) Paperback – February 24, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Sexy, contemplative, elusive, and addictive.” (San Francisco Bay Guardian)

About the Author

Javier Marías 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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Product Details

  • Series: New Directions Pearls (Book 1165)
  • Paperback: 100 pages
  • Publisher: New Directions (February 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811218589
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811218580
  • Product Dimensions: 4.6 x 0.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,213,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Peterson TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
BAD NATURE ("Mala Indole" in Spanish) dates back to 1996 - after "Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me" but before "Dark Back of Time" in Marías's ouevre. It first appeared in English translation in "Granta" in 1999. It has now been issued by New Directions in paperback form as one of a new series, called "Pearls", of brief works of literature. BAD NATURE comes in at 57 pages - more a long story than a novella.

BAD NATURE does not attempt to plumb the mysteries of life. It is on an entirely different plane than "Tomorrow" or "Dark Back of Time". It is sheer entertainment, although highly literate entertainment. In it, the narrator tells of his ten days as part of the Elvis Presley entourage in Mexico for the filming of "Fun in Acapulco", which culminated in a verbal showdown between Elvis and some "mafiosos lavados" in a backstreet cantina in Mexico City, for which the narrator had to serve as the unfortunate translator.

Many of the hallmarks of Marías's writing are present: lengthy, cascading sentences; quirky digressions; improbable scenes and confrontations; and wry humor. Elvis is presented as an affable, accommodating guy, who later allowed himself "to appear on stage tricked out like a circus side show, wearing suits bedecked with copious sequins and fringes, bell bottoms slit up the side, belts as wide as a novice whore's, high-heeled goblin boots, and a short cape - a cape - that made him look more like Super Rat than whatever he was probably trying for, Superman, I would imagine."

This is not essential, even for those who are fans of Javier Marías. But it is enjoyable. If one were familiar with "Fun in Acapulco", it probably would be even more enjoyable. But no one -- not even Javier Marías, or Ursula Andress - could induce me to watch "Fun in Acapulco".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Linda Linguvic HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on March 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This very short novella was the choice of the international reading group at my local bookstore. It is a mere 57 pages long and is a very fast read. Written in the first person, it is a fictional description of an incident that occurred while Elvis was filming "Fun in Acapulco" in Mexico in 1996. Told from the point of view of a young Spanish man who was hired to teach Elvis a Spanish accent, it is comedic in nature and it certainly made me smile. I liked the fast pace and I liked the characters but it was basically a short story and even though it was an enjoyable read, I hold back on giving it a high recommendation as it certainly is not for everyone.
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Bad Nature, or With Elvis in Mexico (New Directions Pearls)
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