Synopses & Reviews
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. Secrecy its possible convenience, its price, and even its civility hovers 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.
"A harrowing drama of family secrets and their deepening resonance throughout several involved lives....[A]n unusual style that blends Jamesian introspection and qualification with headlong drama and rapid nonstop sentences." Kirkus Reviews
"[A Heart So White]...has brought Marías the applause of many...and is considered his best work. It might well be: It is an anti-detective story about genealogy and sin." Nation
"Ably rendered in English by Margaret Jull Costa (a translator's translator, if there ever was one), A Heart So White is an entertaining and intelligent novel that illustrates one of the ways in which younger Spanish novelists have advanced beyond the drab, count-your-tapas realism of much contemporary Spanish fiction." Washington Post Book World
A breathtaking novel about family secrets, winner of the 1997 Dublin IMPAC Prize for the best novel published worldwide in English, and arguably Javier Marías's masterpiece.
About the Author
Javier Marías is an award-winning Spanish novelist. He is also a translator and columnist, as well as the current king of Redonda. He was born in Madrid in 1951 and published his first novel at the age of nineteen. He has held academic posts in Spain, the US (he was a visiting professor at Wellesley College) and Britain, as a lecturer in Spanish Literature at Oxford University. He has been translated into 34 languages, and more than six million copies of his books have been sold worldwide. In 1997 he won the Nelly Sachs Award; the Comunidad de Madrid award in 1998; in 2000 the Grinzane Cavour Award, the Alberto Moravia Prize, and the Dublin IMPAC Award. He also won the Spanish National Translation Award in 1979 for his translation of Tristram Shandy
in 1979. He was a professor at Oxford University and the Complutense of Madrid. He currently lives in Madrid.
Margaret Jull Costa won both the 2008 PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize and the 2008 Oxford Weidenfeld Translation Prize for Eca de Queiros's The Maias. She is also the translator of the work of Fernando Pessoa, José Saramago, António Lobo Antunes, and Javier Marías.