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The Infatuations Hardcover – Deckle Edge, August 13, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf (August 13, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307960722
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307960726
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #372,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Marías has earned major literary prizes in his native Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Chile, and Ireland. A novelist’s novelist, a consummate stylist, his works have been translated into 42 languages. The plot of The Infatuations has elements of a thriller. The narrator, María Dolz, eavesdrops on a conversation that undoes all she thinks she knows about Javier, her lover, and his dear friend, the victim of an apparently brutal and senseless murder. What she believed was a tragedy may be the result of a conspiracy. When Javier speaks of Balzac, María thinks of her father’s favorite, Dumas père, and quotes from Macbeth appear; yet these postmodern tropes are never more alive than in Marías’ respectful hands. The cadences of his exquisite sentences are preserved in translator Costa’s English, the clauses balanced like a loaded scale; detail accumulates yet also erodes and turns elusive. The more precise the descriptions of passion and reflection, the more fleeting these states appear: the object of our attention and its dark shadow vie for supremacy. It is magical, stupendous, and not done for effect. Marías dramatizes the fluidity of attention as María persuades herself, and us, of the truth and of its opposite. --Michael Autrey

From Bookforum

The Infatuations plays off Marias's enchantingly sinuous sentences. They suck you in and lull you along with their rhythm, which gives the unusual and palpable awareness of how masterfully Marias has made time itself--the gramatical tense of language, the imaginary time in the novel, the real time in our own lives--his peculiar object of investigation. The prose of The Infatuations is as casual as spoken language yet paradoxically feels honed to within an inch of its life.--Eric Banks

More 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.

Customer Reviews

Too little plot to keep me interested.
Elisa
The author's style of writing was very unusual and was part of the charm of this interesting and surprising story.
Elayne Gordon
Almost done and can't wait to be done with it- wouldn't have lasted 50 pages if not for the book club.
Robin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Alan A. Elsner VINE VOICE on June 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This novel, erroneously marketed as a thriller, is in fact a highly literary meditation on the way the living move beyond the death of a loved one. It is written in a very distinctive voice with great swooping sentences full of adjectives, huge sprawling paragraphs full of thoughts, allusions, quotations and speculations, sometimes contradictory, always qualifying each other. It takes some getting used to but eventually becomes quite mesmerizing. The author at one point describes his method as "making digressions of his digressions." He takes a long time to get to the point -- and when he gets there you're not always sure what it is.

Maria is a thirty-something single woman working in Madrid for a publishing house. She likes to breakfast in a particular cafe where she observes a loving couple every day but never speaks to them. She just draws comfort from their easy intimacy. One day, they stop coming and Maria learns that the husband was brutally murdered, stabbed to death by a mentally-unstable homeless guy.

Later, she approaches the widow to express her sympathies and is introduced to the couple's best friend, with whom she begins an affair. She falls in love with this Javier but realizes he is in love with the widow and is waiting for her to recover sufficiently from her grief so that he can take the place of her husband. And then Maria finds out something else that puts her knowledge of all that has happened in a radically different light.

This novel is full of literary allusions to Macbeth, to the Three Musketeers and especially to a novellla by Balzac called
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42 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Thomas F. Dillingham VINE VOICE on June 29, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Fairly early in this substantial novel, the central character/narrator comments "it's very risky imagining yourself into someone else's mind, it's sometimes hard to leave, I suppose that's why so few people do it and why almost everyone avoids it," and only a few pages later, the woman the narrator is talking with comments "the reason why it happened is utterly incomprehensible and exists only inside that sick, crazed mind into which I prefer not to venture." The "it" that happened was the murder of the woman's husband by a mentally deranged man who attacked the husband with a knife, stabbing him sixteen times, when he stepped out of his car. At this point in the narrative, the narrator is having a sympathetic visit with the wife, whom she hardly knew before this visit, and is trying to manage her own feelings about the murderous event, and the visit is interrupted by a ringing doorbell.

Much later in the novel, the same narrator is in conversation with the man who interrupted that conversation, with whom the narrator has had a subsequent love affair. The narrator, as is always the case, is carefully observing his reactions to herself while constructing in her own mind her "understanding" of what he is doing as he talks with her: "regardless of what I knew or didn't know, I was entirely dependent on him now, as one always is on the person doing the telling, for he is the one who decides where to begin and where to end, what to reveal and suggest and keep silent about, when to tell the truth and when to lie or whether to combine the two so that neither is recognizable, or whether to deceive with the truth, as I had initially suspected he was trying to do with me.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Myers VINE VOICE on July 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The reviews here thus far are, as I suspected, and as is to be expected from Vine reviewers, penned by those unfamiliar with Javier Marías and his corpus of work. Briefly, to right this wrong, his great works are meditations upon what - as purely faute de mieux - I should term the interstices of our consciousness, what is lost, what can never quite be understood, which turns out to be most things in our swift transit on this planet, as seen through the eyes of great literature, almost always Shakespeare, and others. The works which I consider Marías's greatest achievements: Tomorrow in the Battle Think on Me (Vintage International), A Heart So White and, now, this work as well are all, save this one, titled with a Shakespearean quote; There is a death or a murder at the beginning, followed by a lengthy, serpentine meditation expressed in Marías's sumptuous, seductive prose style on the death and how it came about but which, almost from the off, turns into a sweeping lucubration on death in general, love, and the kaleidoscopic prism through which, well, the two main characters view it, the great love: literature. Need I say this style isn't for everyone? But for those of us who are totally immersed in the reality and consequences of the notion that, as Proust has it, "the only life in consequence which can be said to be really lived - is literature," is through the likes of Shakespeare, Dumas, Balzac (all mentioned repeatedly herein), Marías's works are wonders to behold. But such a love and life has its dangers.Read more ›
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