Synopses & Reviews
A Heart So White is a breathtaking novel about family secrets, winner of the 1997 Dublin IMPAC Prize for the best novel published worldwide in English, and arguably Javier Marias's masterpiece. Javier Marias's A Heart So White chronicles with unnerving insistence the relentless power of the past. Juan knows little of the interior life of his father Ranz; but when Juan marries, he begins to consider the past anew, and begins to ponder what he doesn't really want to know. Secrecyits possible convenience, its price, and even its civilityhovers throughout the novel. A Heart So White becomes a sort of anti-detective story of human nature. Intrigue; 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 and on to the costs of ambivalence. (My hands are of your colour; but I shame/To wear a heart so whiteShakespeare's Macbeth,)
Juan knows little about his widowed father Ranz, a man with a troubled past. The unspoken dialogue between father and son, however, becomes a spelling-out of the horrifying truth once Juan has been married for a year to Luisa and she turns discreet confessor to the burdened old man.
Juan knows little about his widowed father Ranz, a man with a troubled past. He does know, however, that before marrying Juan's mother, Ranz was married to her elder sister, who had committed suicide. The unspoken dialogue between father and son soon becomes a spelling out of the horrifying truth once Juan marries Luisa, who turns discreet confessor to the burdened old man. What gradually emerges into the cold light of day is a repetition of scenes already witnessed by Juan in the course of his travels: a married man blackmailed by his mistress in a Havana hotel, a woman in New York pursuing a sequence of shabby lovers through the lonely-hearts columns. Produced with remarkable skill and delicacy, this is a startling picture of two generations, two marriages, and the secret commerce between spouses that rests on the gossamer-thin threads of an unspoken accord.
About the Author
Javier Marías is the author of several award-winning novels, including All Souls, Dark Back of Time, and Tomorrow in the Battle Think On Me.