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In the Night of Time Hardcover – December 3, 2013


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* It is 1936. War-weary Spanish architect Ignacio Abel travels—from Valencia to France to New York and then, finally, by train into the wooded Hudson Valley—to a lifesaver of an academic job at a small upstate university. And, he hopes, to a reunion with Judith Biely, the American woman with whom he had a passionate extramarital affair in Madrid a year earlier and for whom he has been searching, constantly, since she didn’t appear at their usual rendezvous spot in crumbling, war-frantic Madrid. He has escaped the war, it would appear, but he is alone, near broke, and haunted by memories and regrets. His tailored European suits are frayed and out of place. As in A Manuscript of Ashes (2008), Molina is interested in the legacy of violence and the messy interplay between the past and the present. Although more traditional in its form than some of his earlier works, this selection covers a lot of ground rather slowly (paying considerable attention to, for example, the bourgeois trappings of Ignacio and his conservative wife, Adela) and tends to circle back repeatedly to key events and images. Readers who persist will be rewarded with a large rough-cut gem of a story that lingers in one’s mind. Molina recently won the Jerusalem Prize and the Asturias Prize, and he appears to be finally getting the international attention he deserves. --Brendan Driscoll

Review

"Spellbinding…What distinguishes In the Night of Time—what makes it eye-openingly new—is its meticulous reconstruction of Spain in 1936, its attention to detail, its fusion of history and imagination, its tension between love’s surrender and war’s stiff resolve. Let me put it this way: Antonio Muñoz Molina’s novel is one of the most eloquent monuments to the Spanish Civil War ever to be raised in fiction." —Marie Arana, Washington Post

"Labyrinthine and spellbinding…one of the most eloquent monuments to the Spanish Civil War ever to be raised in fiction." --The Washington Post, Best Fiction Books of 2014
"A vast, architectural novel." —NPR.org

"Sweeping, magisterial...An astonishingly vivid narrative that unfolds with hypnotic intensity by means of the constant interweaving of time and memory...In the Night of Time is Tolstoyan in its scale, emotional intensity and intellectual honesty." —The Economist

"What is remarkable about the book, despite the emphasis on the private and the shadowy, is how much Muñoz Molina manages to say about the world itself and how hypnotic his narrative becomes as he slows down time...He can have his protagonist contemplate his own past in slow and searching tones; he can have him consider his lover's body with mesmeric grace; he can have him ponder his need to escape with urgency; he can have him consider architecture with originality...Muñoz Molina, in all his fiction, has a sense of the past as a living force, darting, shifting, haunting, impossible to pin down...In In the Night of Time he brings this perception further, allowing the most private inner moments to have greater importance than the war outside, and he approaches character with even greater tenderness, allowing for every type of weakness." —Colm Toibin, New York Review of Books

"An epic…Molina’s cogent examination of war on a scale both large and small reaffirms his place as a giant of Europe’s literary scene, well-worth being discovered by American readers." —The Daily Beast

"A story of love, violence, and politics…[In the Night of Time] echoes Molina’s earlier works, including the much-praised A Manuscript of Ashes." —The New Yorker

"Epic…In the Night of Time gives its subject the space it deserves and renders it vibrantly with intoxicating prose." —Entertainment Weekly

"A fascinating read." —Typographical Era

"A sweeping, mesmerizing tale that weaves seamlessly between Spain and America, present and past, personal and political." —Bustle.com

"Superb…A simple love story at one level, a broad portrait of a nation in flames at another, and a masterwork through and through." —Kirkus (starred review)

"A War and Peace for the Spanish Civil War, this classically sweeping novel from Molina (A Manuscript of Ashes) follows a large cast of characters, intermingling real and fictional figures, through times of both peaceful routine and grotesque violence." —Publishers Weekly

"A large rough-cut gem of a story that lingers in one’s mind. [Molina] appears to be finally getting the international attention he deserves." —Booklist (starred review)

“Antonio Munoz Molina's In The Night of Time is a sweeping love story enveloped by the horrors of the Spanish Civil War…In this monumental book, Molina has described with brutal honesty the atrocities committed on both sides of the war.” – Charleston Post and Courier

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 656 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (December 3, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547547846
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547547848
  • Product Dimensions: 2 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #437,283 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

I read many of the praises for the book and really wanted to read it.
Lynn Ellingwood
There was a richness to the prose but it was squandered on too many slow and circular passages that seemed to say little and move the story forward even less.
J. Hamby
I received this book three weeks ago and have tried to read it three times since then.
Patricia H. Parker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Comment Man on February 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover
In the Night of Time is a brilliant novel firmly in the modern school. Molina has a gift "for imagining what other people are living or have lived through." (That is a line from the novel lifted from the character Van Doren which I take as Molina's assessment of his own ability.) He uses a extremely sophisticated narrative scheme, which follows the thoughts the main character, the architect Ignacio Abel as he rides a passenger railroad from New York City to a college in the woods. The narrative unfolds through a series of Abel's memories. However, in the almost dream like structure of the narrative, Molina shifts the narrative focus from Abel to other characters such as his wife Adela, his lover Judith Biely, his son, his father-in-law, etc.; these technically difficult point-of-view narrative shifts have the great advantage of creating exceptionally convincing psychological character studies.

The book works at one level as a reverse Portrait of a Lady, with the focus on the European lover, in this case a Spaniard, rather than the young American woman. Molina indicates he is aware of this homage by his somewhat ironic references to Henry James and Isabel Archer. At another, it is a panoramic recreation of Spain on the cusp of revolution, with people from different segments of society--the traditional Catholic, the bourgeois, the proletariat and the artistic--imaginatively and sympathetically recreated. In a sense, the character Ignacio Abel represents a modern Spain almost stillborn in the wake of Franco's revolt.

Molina has asked several interesting and crucial questions. He has imaginatively recreated what it meant to live in Spain before the Civil War and what it meant to live through the terror that gripped Madrid after Franco's Army began advancing through southern Spain.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kate on March 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
The very structure of each sentence, the cadence and meter pull you into the world inhabited by characters, a world spinning off its axis toward the horror of war and self annihilation. The narrator is in such control of the rhythm of futility that the reader must surrender to the journey...This tale of love and attrition wedged in the dissolution of the Spainish Republic.
The true nature of ideologs is unmasked, in a way that histories fail, as they are written from a point of view that sees one side as 'the other'.
The consuming nature of passion, the lies that are told to oneself or others is unmasked, past, present and hope for future are chiseled deep within this tale of passivity and the incomprehensible and blind commitment of those who are carried to their extinction by the slogans of propaganda, and yearnings for utopia.
This is moving beyond words.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Blue in Washington TOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a novel with epic ambition and real challenges for the reader. Mostly set in the mid-1930s, it's the story of a Spanish architect whose one true passion in life is his work--until a young American woman visiting Madrid pushes him into a total about face.

The novel is told in densely written vignettes that jump back and forth through periods of the man's life, so attention must be paid to keep up with the thrust of the plot. The hefty and often rich substance of the story (largely narrative) is what makes it worth plowing through the 600-plus pages of the book, which are heavily populated with un-indented paragraphs that frequently caused my mind to wander. That challenge notwithstanding, "In the Night of Time" very effectively and convincingly evokes the political chaos of 1930s Spain, the fraying of Spanish society, and the crumbling of the protagonist's well-ordered architect's life and his subsequent reaction to a middle-aged obsession.

Not an easy book to read, but worth the effort for this reader.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Wilhelmina Zeitgeist VINE VOICE on November 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"In the Night of Time" by Antonio Muñoz Molina and translated by Edith Grossman is, at its essence, a beautifully written story. But, it is such a chore to read. I have never seen such long paragraphs. They go on for pages at times. It reminded me of the lengthy emails I get or long, long posts I see in forums that have no separated paragraphs; just a big block of words.

I would have enjoyed the book more if it weren't so visually overwhelming and tedious to read. After a while I started trying to imagine where I would end on paragraph and start another. It was exhausting. And long. If the story itself hadn't captured my interest I'm not sure I would have finished it.

Good story but a laborious read.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Hamby on August 12, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Unfortunately no matter how I tried, I just didn't find this a compelling read. Often setting it aside and having to go back and struggle through what I had already read to make sense of what I then tried to continue to read.

There was a richness to the prose but it was squandered on too many slow and circular passages that seemed to say little and move the story forward even less. Too many times I felt that the heavy handed attempts to hammer home how sad everything was just weighed the plot down more than it should have. Tragedy works best when there is a greater effort to provide the contrast of what is lost or never achieved when tragedy overcomes triumph. It did not help that the main character seems completely blase at his initial actions and then spends hundreds of pages seeming to wonder if he should perhaps do a little emotional navel gazing. Without ever fully committing to it in my opinion.
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