Book - A Heart So White

Javiar Marias, Javier Marias, Margaret Jull Costa (Translator) - 1997
Panther Press (TN)
ISBN: 1860463398
A Heart So White
£2.30 + p&p.

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A Heart So White

Family secrets are the prime elements of A Heart So White, perhaps the greatest novel by "the most talented Spanish author alive" (Il Messagero). Born in 1951 in Madrid, Javier Marias has published twenty books and is a literary phenomenon worldwide. Translated into twenty-eight languages, his books have sold more than three and a half million copies--an amazing quantity for so literary a writer. He has collected a dazzling array of awards, including for A Heart So White the Dublin IMPAC Prize for the best novel published worldwide in English in 1996. A Heart So White, probably Javier Maras's best-known novel, chronicles with unnerving insistence family secrets -- and the relentless power of the past. Juan knows little of the interior life of his father Ranz; each has always seemed comfortable with their friendly but distant orbit. Only when Juan marries (and his new wife begins to find much to talk about with Ranz) does his son consider the past anew, and yet he doesn't really want to know. Secrecy, its possible convenience and even civility, hovers throughout the novel -- it is a sort of anti-detective story of human nature. The sins of the father; the fraudulent and the genuine; marriage and strange repetitions of violence: Marias elegantly sends shafts of inquisitory light into shadows. At the center of A Heart So White are the costs of ambivalence. ("My hands are of your colour; but I shame/To wear a heart so white" -- Shakespeare's Macbeth.)