From Publishers Weekly
Spanish novelist Marias (All Souls), winner of the Barcelona Prize, weaves an ironic tale of love and betrayal in which the sins of a father come back to visit his son. Narrator Juan's twice-widowed, secretive father, Ranz, is a mystery to his 34-year-old son. Before marrying Juan's mother, Ranz had wed her sister, who later killed herself. While Juan is afraid to ask his father about the incident, his own young bride, Luisa, draws the old man out, and the complicated truth slowly emerges. On his Havana honeymoon with Luisa and on his travels as a translator, Juan sees, overhears and stumbles upon scenes that increasingly remind him of what he is slowly learning about his father's world: an unmarried woman extorts money from her married lover in Havana; a lady in New York looks for bed partners in the personal ads. "There are no secrets between people who share a bed," muses Juan. "The bed is like a confessional." It's an observation that Marias takes seriously. Indeed, the tone and structure of the novel can be summed up in one word: foreplay. His characters tease each other-as the author teases the reader-with nibbles of information, half-divulged stories that are meant to arouse a reader's curiosity the way an interrupted caress can awaken a lover's desire. Does this erotics of knowledge work? Much of the book is wordy as Juan turns introspective, but Marias renders these examinations with grace and intelligence, leavening his meditative indulgences with acutely observed psychological detail.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Marías...remains almost unknown in America. What are we waiting for? -- Wendy Lesser, The New York Times Book Review
The most subtle and gifted writer in contemporary Spanish literature. -- Boston Globe
The work of a supreme stylist.... It is brilliantly done. -- James Woodall, The Times [London]