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Your Face Tomorrow: Fever and Spear (Vol. 1) Hardcover – June 17, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
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Top Customer Reviews
Javier Marías is not an easy author to read, but one does become accustomed to his convoluted sentences and his narrative sprawl and digressions. Still, I don't believe a newcomer to Marías should make YOUR FACE TOMORROW his introduction to Marías's elaborate, almost baroque, style. Further, the plot is thin, tissue-paper thin, much less substantial than in his other novels that I have read. And while there are many wonderful passages of astute observations or profound meditations, there also are passages that I find pointless, seemingly nothing more than Marías showing off (although I recognize that they may take on significance in Volume II or III).
The narrator, ostensibly, is the same Spaniard who narrated "All Souls." There he had the false name "Emilio"; here he is Jaime Deza (or Jacobo or Jacques). He is separated from his wife Luisa and young son, and he is back in Great Britain, specifically Oxford and London. Most of the novel pertains to either of two situations: one, Deza's lengthy conversations with Sir Peter Wheeler, an elderly Oxford professor and ex-MI6 agent, or two, Deza's work "interpreting" people (i.e., assessing or evaluating them) for a group with nebulous connections to British intelligence services.Read more ›
This first part is a personal and a family history, and a history of the Spanish civil war, by a man endowed with a unique talent. He is able-on the basis of brief encounters (interviews, sometimes observations with only a few words exchanged)- to assess persons, know them better than they know themselves and put his findings on paper, in report form. It is a very rare gift and his talent is turned into employment by a shady agency in London, after his marriage in Madrid breaks up. The agency and the history of his sponsors suggest he is hired to play a role in support of post-Cold War intelligence work. After all, he lived in the UK before he married, lecturing in Oxford, building a network of friends. Interesting!
However, Jaime Marias(JM) is his own writer, full of ideas and ambitions beyond a simple spy novel. The way the novel is written has led one Amazon.uk reviewer to give up reading well before reaching the half-way point. Why? Most pages are solid blocks of text, indentations are few, white lines absent. Fortunately, the chapters are fairly short. Real dialogues are rare. Usually, one character answers a question and holds forth for pages on end. It is sometimes interrupted by page-long musings by the hero himself, and then the lecturing continues. Is it a book written for women rather than men?
But it is also on occasion a warm, passionate book because of the personal ingredients.Read more ›
Javier Marías takes us into a world of secret services, history, and literature. That involves the history of the Spanish civil war. Orwell more than Hemingway. His main protagonist and narrator is a translator and journalist, suitably called Jaime. For Jaime, this history is personal, it affected his father, who had been on the republican side and was betrayed to the victors by a friend. The story has autobiographical components.
This is volume one of a trilogy. The language (translated convincingly from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa) builds up some resistance, it is not easily accessible, but once an initial hurdle is conquered, it flows and delights, like in many James stories, where one needs to find the door first. Nothing seems to be lost in translation here. This is, after all, also the language of John le Carré.
The narrator has a valuable gift, which makes him an asset to his secretive employers. He is a kind of living polygraph. His high social/ emotional intelligence enables him to 'read' people and look through their hidden agendas. That is the meaning of the enigmatic title of the novel. What happened to his father could not have happened to Jaime. He would not have been clueless like his father. Presumably. The word `prescience' comes up.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fascinating. Digressions and recursive trains of thoughts and conversations are surprisingly engaging. How could I not consider going on to volume of the trilogy?Published 3 months ago by A. D. Thomas
Great read-The authors superb understanding of human nature is evident throughout. This is a book that should be read more than twice.
This more than craftmanship. Read more
This complex part of a larger novel (Volume 1 of 3) explores questions of trust, knowledge, identity, love, and betrayal. Not much happens. Read morePublished on March 10, 2014 by Tony Covatta
Very rare to come across such insightful ideas linked together by an actual cause and effect plot. Deaz touches on a number of experiences that affect all of us, ranging from... Read morePublished on December 30, 2012 by trevornewland
I know this review is a little long, but although I did not thoroughly enjoy this work, it provoked a great deal of thinking that I think may be interesting and helpful. Read morePublished on November 14, 2011 by David Bowen
Prepare yourself for the annoying need to read and then reread and reread again, many sections of this astonishing novel. Read morePublished on September 11, 2011 by Owen Brown
Pay attention to what the reveiwers say and read between the lines to figure out who is writing the review. Are they like you? Read morePublished on June 18, 2011 by lapidaryblue
This review is from: Your Face Tomorrow: Fever and Spear (Vol. 1) (New Directions Books) (Paperback). Read morePublished on February 26, 2011 by mcfin din
First off, let's get something out of the way: Those readers - many and sundry - who call this novel, or first book of a trilogy, "Proustian" clearly need to go back and to reread... Read morePublished on May 16, 2010 by Daniel Myers