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The Man of Feelingby Javier MarÃas
Synopses & Reviews
Glinting like a moonstone with layers of emotion, The Man of Feeling is a sleek and strange tale of cosmopolitan love. An affair between a married woman and a young man just becoming an opera star (curiously helped along by the husband's factotum) meets with adamant resistance from the implacable husband.
Narrated by the young opera singer, the novel opens as he recalls traveling on a train from Milan to Venice, silently absorbed for hours by the woman asleep opposite his seat. In the measured tones of memory, The Man of Feeling revolves on the poles of anticipation and recollection. The peculiar rarified life lived in the world's luxury hotels, a life of rehearsal and performance, the constant travel and ghost-like detachment of our protagonist adds a deeper tone to the novel's weave of desire and detachment, of consideration and reconsideration: its epigraph cites William Hazlitt: "I think myself into love,/And I dream myself out of it." As Marías remarks in a brief afterword, this is a love story "in which love is neither seen nor experienced, but announced and remembered." Can love be recalled truly when it no longer exists? That twist will continue to revolve in the reader's mind, conjuring up in its disembodied way Henry James' The Turn of the Screw. Beautifully translated into English for the first time by Margaret Jull Costa, this fascinating and eerie early novel by Javier Marías bears out his reputation for the "dazzling" (TLS) and "startling" (The New York Times).
Marías's riveting novel about an opera singer and an extramarital affair.
Javier Marias--who is famous in Spain and garlanded with prizes from the rest of Europe--remains almost unknown in America. What are we waiting for?
About the Author
Born in Madrid in 1951, Javier Marías published his first novel at the age of nineteen. In addition to his volume of short stories (the Spanish editions of which have sold about 300,000 copies), he is the author of several novels, all the more recent ones translated into many languages. Awards he has won as a fiction writer include the Ciudad de Barcelona prize, the Spanish Critics' Award, the Premio Internacional de Novela Romulo Gallegos, the Prix Femina Etranger, the Nelly Sachs Prize, and the Dublin International Impac Award. He is also a highly practised translator into Spanish of English authors, including Conrad, Stevenson, Hardy, Faulkner, Nabokov, and Laurence Sterne. He has held academic posts in Spain, the United States (where he was visiting professor at Wellesley College) and in Britain, as lecturer in Spanish Literature at Oxford University. Marías also holds the distinction of being King Xavier I of Redonda.
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